Obama: ‘America Does Not Stand Still — And Neither Will I’

Your complete viewing guide to the State of the Union.

President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress on January 28, 2014 at the US Capitol in Washington.
National Journal
National Journal Staff
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National Journal Staff
Jan. 28, 2014, 3:48 p.m.

Here’s your com­plete Cliff Notes for Pres­id­ent Obama’s fifth State of the Uni­on: what you need to know on the most im­port­ant top­ics, the biggest lines from the speech, and what is­sues the pres­id­ent will now push on his own.

The Biggest Mo­ments

ON HEALTH CARE

“Now, I don’t ex­pect to con­vince my Re­pub­lic­an friends on the mer­its of this law. But I know that the Amer­ic­an people aren’t in­ter­ested in re­fight­ing old battles. So again, if you have spe­cif­ic plans to cut costs, cov­er more people, and in­crease choice — tell Amer­ica what you’d do dif­fer­ently. Let’s see if the num­bers add up. But let’s not have an­oth­er forty-something votes to re­peal a law that’s already help­ing mil­lions of Amer­ic­ans like Aman­da.”

ON IM­MIG­RA­TION

“Fi­nally, if we are ser­i­ous about eco­nom­ic growth, it is time to heed the call of busi­ness lead­ers, labor lead­ers, faith lead­ers, and law en­force­ment — and fix our broken im­mig­ra­tion sys­tem. Re­pub­lic­ans and Demo­crats in the Sen­ate have ac­ted. I know that mem­bers of both parties in the House want to do the same. In­de­pend­ent eco­nom­ists say im­mig­ra­tion re­form will grow our eco­nomy and shrink our de­fi­cits by al­most $1 tril­lion in the next two dec­ades. And for good reas­on: when people come here to ful­fill their dreams — to study, in­vent, and con­trib­ute to our cul­ture — they make our coun­try a more at­tract­ive place for busi­nesses to loc­ate and cre­ate jobs for every­one. So let’s get im­mig­ra­tion re­form done this year.”

ON MIN­IM­UM WAGE

“In the com­ing weeks, I will is­sue an Ex­ec­ut­ive Or­der re­quir­ing fed­er­al con­tract­ors to pay their fed­er­ally-fun­ded em­ploy­ees a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour — be­cause if you cook our troops’ meals or wash their dishes, you shouldn’t have to live in poverty.”

{{ BIZOBJ (video: 4691) }}

ON JOB TRAIN­ING

“To­night, I’ve asked Vice Pres­id­ent Biden to lead an across-the-board re­form of Amer­ica’s train­ing pro­grams to make sure they have one mis­sion: train Amer­ic­ans with the skills em­ploy­ers need, and match them to good jobs that need to be filled right now. That means more on-the-job train­ing, and more ap­pren­tice­ships that set a young work­er on an up­ward tra­ject­ory for life.”

ON SCI­ENCE RE­SEARCH FUND­ING

“That’s why Con­gress should undo the dam­age done by last year’s cuts to ba­sic re­search so we can un­leash the next great Amer­ic­an dis­cov­ery — wheth­er it’s vac­cines that stay ahead of drug-res­ist­ant bac­teria, or pa­per-thin ma­ter­i­al that’s stronger than steel.”

ON STU­DENT LOANS

“We’re of­fer­ing mil­lions the op­por­tun­ity to cap their monthly stu­dent loan pay­ments to ten per­cent of their in­come, and I want to work with Con­gress to see how we can help even more Amer­ic­ans who feel trapped by stu­dent loan debt.”

ON MOV­ING PAST BUDGET TALKS

“Last month, thanks to the work of Demo­crats and Re­pub­lic­ans, this Con­gress fi­nally pro­duced a budget that un­does some of last year’s severe cuts to pri­or­it­ies like edu­ca­tion. Nobody got everything they wanted, and we can still do more to in­vest in this coun­try’s fu­ture while bring­ing down our de­fi­cit in a bal­anced way. But the budget com­prom­ise should leave us freer to fo­cus on cre­at­ing new jobs, not cre­at­ing new crises.”

ON THE TAX CODE

“Both Demo­crats and Re­pub­lic­ans have ar­gued that our tax code is riddled with waste­ful, com­plic­ated loop­holes that pun­ish busi­nesses in­vest­ing here, and re­ward com­pan­ies that keep profits abroad. Let’s flip that equa­tion. Let’s work to­geth­er to close those loop­holes, end those in­cent­ives to ship jobs over­seas, and lower tax rates for busi­nesses that cre­ate jobs here at home.”

ON TAX BREAKS FOR OIL

“Let’s con­tin­ue that pro­gress with a smarter tax policy that stops giv­ing $4 bil­lion a year to fossil fuel in­dus­tries that don’t need it, so that we can in­vest more in fuels of the fu­ture that do.”

ON UN­EM­PLOY­MENT IN­SUR­ANCE

“This Con­gress needs to re­store the un­em­ploy­ment in­sur­ance you just let ex­pire for 1.6 mil­lion people.”

ON RE­PEAT­ING RE­QUESTS

“Last year, I asked this Con­gress to help states make high-qual­ity pre-K avail­able to every four year-old. As a par­ent as well as a Pres­id­ent, I re­peat that re­quest to­night.”

“Last year, I also pledged to con­nect 99 per­cent of our stu­dents to high-speed broad­band over the next four years. To­night, I can an­nounce that with the sup­port of the FCC and com­pan­ies like Apple, Mi­crosoft, Sprint, and Ve­r­i­zon, we’ve got a down pay­ment to start con­nect­ing more than 15,000 schools.”

ON THE NSA

“That’s why, work­ing with this Con­gress, I will re­form our sur­veil­lance pro­grams ““ be­cause the vi­tal work of our in­tel­li­gence com­munity de­pends on pub­lic con­fid­ence, here and abroad, that the pri­vacy of or­din­ary people is not be­ing vi­ol­ated.”

ON IR­AN

“And it is Amer­ic­an dip­lomacy, backed by pres­sure, that has hal­ted the pro­gress of Ir­an’s nuc­le­ar pro­gram — and rolled parts of that pro­gram back — for the very first time in a dec­ade.”

“ANy long-term deal we agree to must be based on veri­fi­able ac­tion that con­vinces us and the in­ter­na­tion­al com­munity that Ir­an is not build­ing a nuc­le­ar bomb. If John F. Kennedy and Ron­ald Re­agan could ne­go­ti­ate with the So­viet Uni­on, then surely a strong and con­fid­ent Amer­ica can ne­go­ti­ate with less power­ful ad­versar­ies today.”

ON SYR­IA

“In Syr­ia, we’ll sup­port the op­pos­i­tion that re­jects the agenda of ter­ror­ist net­works.”

“Amer­ic­an dip­lomacy, backed by the threat of force, is why Syr­ia’s chem­ic­al weapons are be­ing elim­in­ated, and we will con­tin­ue to work with the in­ter­na­tion­al com­munity to ush­er in the fu­ture the Syr­i­an people de­serve — a fu­ture free of dic­tat­or­ship, ter­ror and fear.”

ON TECH

“Last year, I also pledged to con­nect 99 per­cent of our stu­dents to high-speed broad­band over the next four years. To­night, I can an­nounce that with the sup­port of the FCC and com­pan­ies like Apple, Mi­crosoft, Sprint, and Ve­r­i­zon, we’ve got a down pay­ment to start con­nect­ing more than 15,000 schools and twenty mil­lion stu­dents over the next two years, without adding a dime to the de­fi­cit.”

{{ BIZOBJ (video: 4688) }}

“Let’s pass a pat­ent re­form bill that al­lows our busi­nesses to stay fo­cused on in­nov­a­tion, not costly, need­less lit­ig­a­tion.”

ON EN­ERGY:

“Now, one of the biggest factors in bring­ing more jobs back is our com­mit­ment to Amer­ic­an en­ergy. The all-of-the-above en­ergy strategy I an­nounced a few years ago is work­ing, and today, Amer­ica is closer to en­ergy in­de­pend­ence than we’ve been in dec­ades.

“One of the reas­ons why is nat­ur­al gas — if ex­trac­ted safely, it’s the bridge fuel that can power our eco­nomy with less of the car­bon pol­lu­tion that causes cli­mate change.”

What Happened On the Hill

10:29 p.m.: How the GOP Took the Speech

Sen­ate Re­pub­lic­ans showed their dis­ap­prov­al of the pres­id­ent’s agenda by largely with­hold­ing their ap­plause. When Obama said, “Let’s get im­mig­ra­tion re­form done this year,” House Re­pub­lic­an lead­ers clapped. Minor­ity Whip John Cornyn? Stone faced.

When Obama called for equal pay for equal work,  Cornyn and Minor­ity Lead­er kept their seats, while House and Sen­ate Re­pub­lic­ans and Demo­crats stood to ap­plaud.

How about the sec­tion on min­im­um wage? Nope. Sen­ate Re­pub­lic­an lead­ers were stoics.

Of course, none of this is sur­pris­ing. But viewed through a polit­ic­al lens, the scene demon­strates just how much is at stake for Mc­Con­nell and Cornyn, who both face primar­ies in Ken­tucky and Texas. Their re­ac­tion also shows the rift that’s only deepened between Sen­ate Demo­crats and Re­pub­lic­ans as Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Harry Re­id has re­cently in­creased his strong-arm tac­tics to push Obama’s ap­pointees through the con­firm­a­tion pro­cess without a Re­pub­lic­an bless­ing.

Per­haps the Sen­ate race has as great a chance as any of tip­ping the cham­ber in­to Re­pub­lic­an hands is that between Pry­or and Rep Tom Cot­ton, both of Arkan­sas. Pry­or sat on the GOP side while fel­low red-state Demo­crats Mark Be­gich, Kay Hagan and Mary Landrieu say with Demo­crats. While they ap­plauded, Pry­or fre­quently did not. But, not­ably, with Re­pub­lic­ans eager to fo­cus on the rocky rol­lout of the Af­ford­able Care Act in the hopes it could cost Demo­crats in red states, Pry­or did not sit on his hands when the pres­id­ent de­fen­ded the law.

“Let’s not have an­oth­er forty-something votes to re­peal (the) law,” Obama said.

Pry­or clapped. He did not stand.

10:28 p.m.: When the Pres­id­ent Is a Celebrity

As Obama ex­ited the cham­ber, a gaggle of House Demo­crats held out cop­ies of the speech he just de­livered and asked for him to sign. He in­dulged them in sev­er­al in­stances.

It’s not Oscars or Grammys but it’s about as close as it comes to it in #this­town.

10:26 p.m.: Who Are You?

After the speech, Rep. Jack King­ston, R-Ga., was mis­taken for a mem­ber of the press and asked to stand be­hind a red rope with rest of the me­dia. It’s a sign of just how many ad­di­tion­al Cap­it­ol Po­lice of­ficers, un­used to work­ing in­side the House, were called in to help with se­cur­ity. King­ston, a south­ern­er, was of course very po­lite about it.

10:21 p.m.: And It’s Over

There were a total of 90 in­ter­rup­tions for ap­plause, in­clud­ing 44 stand­ing ova­tions.

10:20 p.m.: Early Exits

Sev­er­al minutes be­fore the pres­id­ent fin­ished his speech, a hand­ful of mem­bers snuck out early to catch a little TV time. Re­pub­lic­an Sen. Dav­id Vit­ter and a half dozen House mem­bers beat their col­leagues to the cam­er­as to talk about their re­ac­tions to the speech they didn’t fin­ish watch­ing.

10:14 p.m.: Every­one Loves the Olympics

Obama turned the House cham­ber in­to a rally for the Amer­ic­an Olympic team. Some began chant­ing “USA! USA!” after the pres­id­ent de­clared the Amer­ic­ans will bring “home the gold.”

10:02 p.m.: Back to Guns

The pres­id­ent also touched on an is­sue that has been all but for­got­ten in Con­gress in re­cent months: gun con­trol. Though the line only re­ceived one para­graph in Obama’s 12-page speech, the pres­id­ent said that he plans to fight gun vi­ol­ence.

“I in­tend to keep try­ing, with or without Con­gress, to help stop more tra­gedies from vis­it­ing in­no­cent Amer­ic­ans in our movie theat­ers, shop­ping malls, or schools like Sandy Hook,” Obama said.

9:59 p.m.: The Biggest Ap­plause Line

The most rauc­ous ap­plause thus far came as Obama told Con­gress not to hold “40-something votes” to re­peal the Af­ford­able Care Act. Demo­crats erup­ted in­to glee­ful ap­plause, al­most a re­lease of the frus­tra­tion they’ve felt in the House as bill after bill has been put on the floor to re­peal the pres­id­ent’s sig­na­ture law.

But when Obama said, “I don’t ex­pect to con­vince my Re­pub­lic­an friends on the mer­its of the law,” a num­ber of such Re­pub­lic­ans chuckled, smiled and even clapped.

9:55 p.m.: What a Fed­er­al Min­im­um Wage In­crease Would Mean For Wo­men

Per the Eco­nom­ic Policy In­sti­tute, work­ing wo­men would be more af­fected by a raise to $10.10 than men. See the wage in­crease im­pact by gender here. (EPI)

9:52 p.m.: Re­pub­lic­ans on Fair Pay

“It’s time to do away with work­place policies that be­long in a ‘Mad Men’ epis­ode,” the pres­id­ent said.

Though the ma­jor­ity of mem­bers stood up for fair pay, not many Re­pub­lic­ans stood up for Obama’s call to do away with the work­place policies of “Mad Men” and for Con­gress and Wall Street to “give every wo­man the op­por­tun­ity she de­serves.” One not­able ex­cep­tion: Rep. Bill Cas­sidy, R-La., who is chal­len­ging Landrieu for her Sen­ate seat this year.

9:47 p.m.: Ob­lig­at­ory Boehner Thumbs Up GIF

 

9:41: Thumbs Up for En­ergy

Demo­crat­ic Sen. Chuck Schu­mer turned around and gave a thumbs up to an ap­plaud­ing Sen. Mary Landrieu as Obama talked about the coun­try’s com­mit­ment to Amer­ic­an en­ergy. Landrieu, a Louisi­ana Demo­crat, is one of Con­gress’s top re­cip­i­ents of cam­paign funds from oil and gas in­terests and is poised to take over the power­ful En­ergy Com­mit­tee next year.

Landrieu did not, however, join her col­leagues in ap­plaud­ing one of Obama’s later lines: “Let’s con­tin­ue that pro­gress with a smarter tax policy that stops giv­ing $4 bil­lion a year to fossil fuel in­dus­tries that don’t need it, so that we can in­vest more in fuels of the fu­ture that do.”

9:40 p.m.: Hope for Im­mig­ra­tion?

House Re­pub­lic­ans are headed to a re­treat this week where they will dis­cuss a series of prin­ciples they can agree on re­gard­ing im­mig­ra­tion re­form. When Obama called for im­mig­ra­tion re­form, a hand­ful of House Re­pub­lic­ans did stand and ap­plaud, in­clud­ing Paul Ry­an of Wis­con­sin, Mario Diaz-Bal­art of Flor­ida and Sean Duffy of Wis­con­sin.

Ry­an has long en­gaged in private con­ver­sa­tions with Re­pub­lic­an law­makers on the need for com­pre­hens­ive re­form. Diaz-Bal­art has also been work­ing the is­sue, and de­cided just a few hours be­fore the ad­dress to sit next to Illinois Demo­crat — and the lead­er on im­mig­ra­tion re­form in the House — Lu­is Gu­ti­er­rez.

9:33 p.m.: Obama Says Nat­ur­al Gas Can “Power Our Eco­nomy.” Here’s Why.

Nat­ur­al gas pro­duc­tion in re­cent years has soared.

(En­ergy In­form­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion)

9:28 p.m.: Mitch Mc­Con­nell Cracks a Smile

The first en­thu­si­ast­ic ap­plause from Mitch Mc­Con­nell to­night, for Speak­er John Boehner. Mc­Con­nell has spent the ma­jor­ity of the speech with his arms fol­ded, but at men­tion of his House coun­ter­part, Mc­Con­nell cracked a wry smile and joined his col­leagues in a stand­ing ova­tion for the speak­er.

9:26 p.m.: Why Obama Is Push­ing on Min­im­um Wage, In Charts

Here, from The At­lantic‘s Jordan Weiss­mann, is what the real value of min­im­um wage has looked like from 1938 to 2012.

(Jordan Weiss­mann)

9:18 p.m.: The View From the Sen­ate

In what’s be­come a rite of winter in Wash­ing­ton, with per­haps more sym­bol­ic sig­ni­fic­ance than le­gis­lat­ive re­ver­ber­a­tion, law­makers crossed the polit­ic­al aisle and the House cham­ber’s ac­tu­al cent­ral aisle at to­night’s State of the Uni­on.

Sen. Mark Pry­or, one of the most vul­ner­able Demo­crats fa­cing reelec­tion this year, sat with Re­pub­lic­ans, to the right of Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, one of the most mod­er­ate mem­bers of the GOP. Mark Kirk and Joe Manchin, who de­scribe them­selves as best friends, sat side-by-side.

Sen. Dean Heller, a Nevada Re­pub­lic­an, sat with Sen. Bri­an Schatz, a Demo­crat from Hawaii. Polit­ic­al po­lar op­pos­ites, pro­gress­ive Bernie Sanders and con­ser­vat­ive Jeff Ses­sions stood shoulder-to-shoulder.

The good will wasn’t uni­ver­sal. When first lady Michelle Obama entered, law­makers turned to­ward her in the gal­lery and ap­plauded, while Sen. Chuck Grass­ley of Iowa stood with his hands fol­ded be­hind his back.

Five Su­preme Court justices are in at­tend­ance: Chief Justice John Roberts and As­so­ci­ate Justices An­thony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Gins­burg, Steph­en Brey­er and Elena Kagan.

9:13 p.m.: Wait­ing on the Pres­id­ent

Some law­makers wait all day for the chance for some face time with the pres­id­ent and top-rank­ing of­fi­cials.

Rep. Al Green, for ex­ample, sat all day long to get a coveted aisle seat. But as the pres­id­ent walked by, the Texas Demo­crat only re­ceived quick hand­shake. Obama pivoted with the flow of foot traffic, turned around, and ex­changed a couple words with an­oth­er law­maker just be­hind him. Bet­ter luck next year, Mr. Green.

8:45 p.m.: Let the House Selfies Be­gin

For all of the noise made in re­cent years about high­light­ing bi­par­tis­an­ship through State of the Uni­on seat­ing charts, this year’s ad­dress fea­tures a mostly di­vided cham­ber.

Along with some “bi­par­tis­an couples,” like Re­pub­lic­an Sen. Jeff Flake and Demo­crat­ic Sen. Tammy Bald­win, there will be op­pos­ing camps: many House Demo­crats are seated to the right of where Pres­id­ent Obama will be speak­ing, and House Re­pub­lic­ans to the left.

As law­makers walked in­to the House cham­ber, they chat­ted and took pic­tures, some even snap­ping selfies — we’re look­ing at you, Rep. Peter Welch of Ver­mont.

The Biggest Lines From the Speech

  • “To­night, this cham­ber speaks with one voice to the people we rep­res­ent: it is you, our cit­izens, who make the state of our uni­on strong.”
  • “After five years of grit and de­term­ined ef­fort, the United States is bet­ter-po­si­tioned for the 21st cen­tury than any oth­er na­tion on Earth.”
  • “Let’s make this a year of ac­tion.”
  • “I be­lieve what unites the people of this na­tion, re­gard­less of race or re­gion or party, young or old, rich or poor, is the simple, pro­found be­lief in op­por­tun­ity for all ““ the no­tion that if you work hard and take re­spons­ib­il­ity, you can get ahead.”
  • “The cold, hard fact is that even in the midst of re­cov­ery, too many Amer­ic­ans are work­ing more than ever just to get by ““ let alone get ahead.”
  • “Amer­ica does not stand still ““ and neither will I.”
  • “Op­por­tun­ity is who we are.”
  • “This needs to be the year Con­gress lifts the re­main­ing re­stric­tions on de­tain­ee trans­fers and we close the pris­on at Guantanamo Bay”
  • “So wherever and whenev­er I can take steps without le­gis­la­tion to ex­pand op­por­tun­ity for more Amer­ic­an fam­il­ies, that’s what I’m go­ing to do.”
  • “The prob­lem is we’re still not reach­ing enough kids, and we’re not reach­ing them in time. That has to change.”
  • “The bot­tom line is, Michelle and I want every child to have the same chance this coun­try gave us.”
  • “Be­cause I firmly be­lieve when wo­men suc­ceed, Amer­ica suc­ceeds.”
  • “We all owe it to the Amer­ic­an people to say what we’re for, not just what we’re against.”
  • “Cit­izen­ship means stand­ing up for every­one’s right to vote”¦ Cit­izen­ship means stand­ing up for the lives that gun vi­ol­ence steals from us each day”¦ Cit­izen­ship de­mands a sense of com­mon cause; par­ti­cip­a­tion in the hard work of self-gov­ern­ment; an ob­lig­a­tion to serve to our com­munit­ies.”
  • If John F. Kennedy and Ron­ald Re­agan could ne­go­ti­ate with the So­viet Uni­on, then surely a strong and con­fid­ent Amer­ica can ne­go­ti­ate with less power­ful ad­versar­ies today.
  • The Amer­ica we want for our kids ““ a rising Amer­ica where hon­est work is plen­ti­ful and com­munit­ies are strong; where prosper­ity is widely shared and op­por­tun­ity for all lets us go as far as our dreams and toil will take us ““ none of it is easy. But if we work to­geth­er; if we sum­mon what is best in us, with our feet planted firmly in today but our eyes cast to­wards to­mor­row ““ I know it’s with­in our reach.

This Is What Obama Is Pro­pos­ing to Do Without Con­gress

  • He’s rais­ing the min­im­um wage — for fed­er­al con­tract work­ers. It isn’t the na­tion­wide raise the pres­id­ent will also call on Con­gress to pass.
  • The pres­id­ent will im­ple­ment a re­tire­ment sav­ings ac­count pro­gram, which people can get through their em­ploy­ers. Such pro­grams are already avail­able from private sec­tor pro­viders.
  • In part­ner­ship with private sec­tor and fed­er­al agen­cies, his ad­min­is­tra­tion will launch six new in­nov­a­tion in­sti­tutes this year aimed at de­vel­op­ing new man­u­fac­tur­ing tech­no­lo­gies. The new hubs join four oth­ers, an­nounced last year, in Obama’s plan to es­tab­lish 15 in­sti­tutes by the end of 2014 without Con­gress’ help.
  • The ad­min­is­tra­tion will set new fuel ef­fi­ciency stand­ards for heavy-duty vehicles like trucks. Obama set such guidelines in 2011, and it looks like he hopes to tight­en them up again.
  • He will over­haul and ex­pand Se­lect­USA, a fed­er­al in­vest­ment pro­mo­tion agency whose goal is to bring over­seas jobs and pro­duc­tion to Amer­ic­an soil.
  • He vowed to ex­er­cise ex­ec­ut­ive au­thor­ity to pro­tect and con­serve more fed­er­al land.

The Biggest Moments

ON HEALTH CARE

“Now, I don’t ex­pect to con­vince my Re­pub­lic­an friends on the mer­its of this law. But I know that the Amer­ic­an people aren’t in­ter­ested in re­fight­ing old battles. So again, if you have spe­cif­ic plans to cut costs, cov­er more people, and in­crease choice — tell Amer­ica what you’d do dif­fer­ently. Let’s see if the num­bers add up. But let’s not have an­oth­er forty-something votes to re­peal a law that’s already help­ing mil­lions of Amer­ic­ans like Aman­da.”

ON IM­MIG­RA­TION

“Fi­nally, if we are ser­i­ous about eco­nom­ic growth, it is time to heed the call of busi­ness lead­ers, labor lead­ers, faith lead­ers, and law en­force­ment — and fix our broken im­mig­ra­tion sys­tem. Re­pub­lic­ans and Demo­crats in the Sen­ate have ac­ted. I know that mem­bers of both parties in the House want to do the same. In­de­pend­ent eco­nom­ists say im­mig­ra­tion re­form will grow our eco­nomy and shrink our de­fi­cits by al­most $1 tril­lion in the next two dec­ades. And for good reas­on: when people come here to ful­fill their dreams — to study, in­vent, and con­trib­ute to our cul­ture — they make our coun­try a more at­tract­ive place for busi­nesses to loc­ate and cre­ate jobs for every­one. So let’s get im­mig­ra­tion re­form done this year.”

ON MIN­IM­UM WAGE

“In the com­ing weeks, I will is­sue an Ex­ec­ut­ive Or­der re­quir­ing fed­er­al con­tract­ors to pay their fed­er­ally-fun­ded em­ploy­ees a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour — be­cause if you cook our troops’ meals or wash their dishes, you shouldn’t have to live in poverty.”

{{ BIZOBJ (video: 4691) }}

ON JOB TRAIN­ING

“To­night, I’ve asked Vice Pres­id­ent Biden to lead an across-the-board re­form of Amer­ica’s train­ing pro­grams to make sure they have one mis­sion: train Amer­ic­ans with the skills em­ploy­ers need, and match them to good jobs that need to be filled right now. That means more on-the-job train­ing, and more ap­pren­tice­ships that set a young work­er on an up­ward tra­ject­ory for life.”

ON SCI­ENCE RE­SEARCH FUND­ING

“That’s why Con­gress should undo the dam­age done by last year’s cuts to ba­sic re­search so we can un­leash the next great Amer­ic­an dis­cov­ery — wheth­er it’s vac­cines that stay ahead of drug-res­ist­ant bac­teria, or pa­per-thin ma­ter­i­al that’s stronger than steel.”

ON STU­DENT LOANS

“We’re of­fer­ing mil­lions the op­por­tun­ity to cap their monthly stu­dent loan pay­ments to ten per­cent of their in­come, and I want to work with Con­gress to see how we can help even more Amer­ic­ans who feel trapped by stu­dent loan debt.”

ON MOV­ING PAST BUDGET TALKS

“Last month, thanks to the work of Demo­crats and Re­pub­lic­ans, this Con­gress fi­nally pro­duced a budget that un­does some of last year’s severe cuts to pri­or­it­ies like edu­ca­tion. Nobody got everything they wanted, and we can still do more to in­vest in this coun­try’s fu­ture while bring­ing down our de­fi­cit in a bal­anced way. But the budget com­prom­ise should leave us freer to fo­cus on cre­at­ing new jobs, not cre­at­ing new crises.”

ON THE TAX CODE

“Both Demo­crats and Re­pub­lic­ans have ar­gued that our tax code is riddled with waste­ful, com­plic­ated loop­holes that pun­ish busi­nesses in­vest­ing here, and re­ward com­pan­ies that keep profits abroad. Let’s flip that equa­tion. Let’s work to­geth­er to close those loop­holes, end those in­cent­ives to ship jobs over­seas, and lower tax rates for busi­nesses that cre­ate jobs here at home.”

ON TAX BREAKS FOR OIL

“Let’s con­tin­ue that pro­gress with a smarter tax policy that stops giv­ing $4 bil­lion a year to fossil fuel in­dus­tries that don’t need it, so that we can in­vest more in fuels of the fu­ture that do.”

ON UN­EM­PLOY­MENT IN­SUR­ANCE

“This Con­gress needs to re­store the un­em­ploy­ment in­sur­ance you just let ex­pire for 1.6 mil­lion people.”

ON RE­PEAT­ING RE­QUESTS

“Last year, I asked this Con­gress to help states make high-qual­ity pre-K avail­able to every four year-old. As a par­ent as well as a Pres­id­ent, I re­peat that re­quest to­night.”

“Last year, I also pledged to con­nect 99 per­cent of our stu­dents to high-speed broad­band over the next four years. To­night, I can an­nounce that with the sup­port of the FCC and com­pan­ies like Apple, Mi­crosoft, Sprint, and Ve­r­i­zon, we’ve got a down pay­ment to start con­nect­ing more than 15,000 schools.”

ON THE NSA

“That’s why, work­ing with this Con­gress, I will re­form our sur­veil­lance pro­grams ““ be­cause the vi­tal work of our in­tel­li­gence com­munity de­pends on pub­lic con­fid­ence, here and abroad, that the pri­vacy of or­din­ary people is not be­ing vi­ol­ated.”

ON IR­AN

“And it is Amer­ic­an dip­lomacy, backed by pres­sure, that has hal­ted the pro­gress of Ir­an’s nuc­le­ar pro­gram — and rolled parts of that pro­gram back — for the very first time in a dec­ade.”

“ANy long-term deal we agree to must be based on veri­fi­able ac­tion that con­vinces us and the in­ter­na­tion­al com­munity that Ir­an is not build­ing a nuc­le­ar bomb. If John F. Kennedy and Ron­ald Re­agan could ne­go­ti­ate with the So­viet Uni­on, then surely a strong and con­fid­ent Amer­ica can ne­go­ti­ate with less power­ful ad­versar­ies today.”

ON SYR­IA

“In Syr­ia, we’ll sup­port the op­pos­i­tion that re­jects the agenda of ter­ror­ist net­works.”

“Amer­ic­an dip­lomacy, backed by the threat of force, is why Syr­ia’s chem­ic­al weapons are be­ing elim­in­ated, and we will con­tin­ue to work with the in­ter­na­tion­al com­munity to ush­er in the fu­ture the Syr­i­an people de­serve — a fu­ture free of dic­tat­or­ship, ter­ror and fear.”

ON TECH

“Last year, I also pledged to con­nect 99 per­cent of our stu­dents to high-speed broad­band over the next four years. To­night, I can an­nounce that with the sup­port of the FCC and com­pan­ies like Apple, Mi­crosoft, Sprint, and Ve­r­i­zon, we’ve got a down pay­ment to start con­nect­ing more than 15,000 schools and twenty mil­lion stu­dents over the next two years, without adding a dime to the de­fi­cit.”

{{ BIZOBJ (video: 4688) }}

“Let’s pass a pat­ent re­form bill that al­lows our busi­nesses to stay fo­cused on in­nov­a­tion, not costly, need­less lit­ig­a­tion.”

ON EN­ERGY:

“Now, one of the biggest factors in bring­ing more jobs back is our com­mit­ment to Amer­ic­an en­ergy. The all-of-the-above en­ergy strategy I an­nounced a few years ago is work­ing, and today, Amer­ica is closer to en­ergy in­de­pend­ence than we’ve been in dec­ades.

“One of the reas­ons why is nat­ur­al gas — if ex­trac­ted safely, it’s the bridge fuel that can power our eco­nomy with less of the car­bon pol­lu­tion that causes cli­mate change.”

What Happened On the Hill

10:29 p.m.: How the GOP Took the Speech

Sen­ate Re­pub­lic­ans showed their dis­ap­prov­al of the pres­id­ent’s agenda by largely with­hold­ing their ap­plause. When Obama said, “Let’s get im­mig­ra­tion re­form done this year,” House Re­pub­lic­an lead­ers clapped. Minor­ity Whip John Cornyn? Stone faced.

When Obama called for equal pay for equal work,  Cornyn and Minor­ity Lead­er kept their seats, while House and Sen­ate Re­pub­lic­ans and Demo­crats stood to ap­plaud.

How about the sec­tion on min­im­um wage? Nope. Sen­ate Re­pub­lic­an lead­ers were stoics.

Of course, none of this is sur­pris­ing. But viewed through a polit­ic­al lens, the scene demon­strates just how much is at stake for Mc­Con­nell and Cornyn, who both face primar­ies in Ken­tucky and Texas. Their re­ac­tion also shows the rift that’s only deepened between Sen­ate Demo­crats and Re­pub­lic­ans as Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Harry Re­id has re­cently in­creased his strong-arm tac­tics to push Obama’s ap­pointees through the con­firm­a­tion pro­cess without a Re­pub­lic­an bless­ing.

Per­haps the Sen­ate race has as great a chance as any of tip­ping the cham­ber in­to Re­pub­lic­an hands is that between Pry­or and Rep Tom Cot­ton, both of Arkan­sas. Pry­or sat on the GOP side while fel­low red-state Demo­crats Mark Be­gich, Kay Hagan and Mary Landrieu say with Demo­crats. While they ap­plauded, Pry­or fre­quently did not. But, not­ably, with Re­pub­lic­ans eager to fo­cus on the rocky rol­lout of the Af­ford­able Care Act in the hopes it could cost Demo­crats in red states, Pry­or did not sit on his hands when the pres­id­ent de­fen­ded the law.

“Let’s not have an­oth­er forty-something votes to re­peal (the) law,” Obama said.

Pry­or clapped. He did not stand.

10:28 p.m.: When the Pres­id­ent Is a Celebrity

As Obama ex­ited the cham­ber, a gaggle of House Demo­crats held out cop­ies of the speech he just de­livered and asked for him to sign. He in­dulged them in sev­er­al in­stances.

It’s not Oscars or Grammys but it’s about as close as it comes to it in #this­town.

10:26 p.m.: Who Are You?

After the speech, Rep. Jack King­ston, R-Ga., was mis­taken for a mem­ber of the press and asked to stand be­hind a red rope with rest of the me­dia. It’s a sign of just how many ad­di­tion­al Cap­it­ol Po­lice of­ficers, un­used to work­ing in­side the House, were called in to help with se­cur­ity. King­ston, a south­ern­er, was of course very po­lite about it.

10:21 p.m.: And It’s Over

There were a total of 90 in­ter­rup­tions for ap­plause, in­clud­ing 44 stand­ing ova­tions.

10:20 p.m.: Early Exits

Sev­er­al minutes be­fore the pres­id­ent fin­ished his speech, a hand­ful of mem­bers snuck out early to catch a little TV time. Re­pub­lic­an Sen. Dav­id Vit­ter and a half dozen House mem­bers beat their col­leagues to the cam­er­as to talk about their re­ac­tions to the speech they didn’t fin­ish watch­ing.

10:14 p.m.: Every­one Loves the Olympics

Obama turned the House cham­ber in­to a rally for the Amer­ic­an Olympic team. Some began chant­ing “USA! USA!” after the pres­id­ent de­clared the Amer­ic­ans will bring “home the gold.”

10:02 p.m.: Back to Guns

The pres­id­ent also touched on an is­sue that has been all but for­got­ten in Con­gress in re­cent months: gun con­trol. Though the line only re­ceived one para­graph in Obama’s 12-page speech, the pres­id­ent said that he plans to fight gun vi­ol­ence.

“I in­tend to keep try­ing, with or without Con­gress, to help stop more tra­gedies from vis­it­ing in­no­cent Amer­ic­ans in our movie theat­ers, shop­ping malls, or schools like Sandy Hook,” Obama said.

9:59 p.m.: The Biggest Ap­plause Line

The most rauc­ous ap­plause thus far came as Obama told Con­gress not to hold “40-something votes” to re­peal the Af­ford­able Care Act. Demo­crats erup­ted in­to glee­ful ap­plause, al­most a re­lease of the frus­tra­tion they’ve felt in the House as bill after bill has been put on the floor to re­peal the pres­id­ent’s sig­na­ture law.

But when Obama said, “I don’t ex­pect to con­vince my Re­pub­lic­an friends on the mer­its of the law,” a num­ber of such Re­pub­lic­ans chuckled, smiled and even clapped.

9:55 p.m.: What a Fed­er­al Min­im­um Wage In­crease Would Mean For Wo­men

Per the Eco­nom­ic Policy In­sti­tute, work­ing wo­men would be more af­fected by a raise to $10.10 than men. See the wage in­crease im­pact by gender here. (EPI)

9:52 p.m.: Re­pub­lic­ans on Fair Pay

“It’s time to do away with work­place policies that be­long in a ‘Mad Men’ epis­ode,” the pres­id­ent said.

Though the ma­jor­ity of mem­bers stood up for fair pay, not many Re­pub­lic­ans stood up for Obama’s call to do away with the work­place policies of “Mad Men” and for Con­gress and Wall Street to “give every wo­man the op­por­tun­ity she de­serves.” One not­able ex­cep­tion: Rep. Bill Cas­sidy, R-La., who is chal­len­ging Landrieu for her Sen­ate seat this year.

9:47 p.m.: Ob­lig­at­ory Boehner Thumbs Up GIF

 

9:41: Thumbs Up for En­ergy

Demo­crat­ic Sen. Chuck Schu­mer turned around and gave a thumbs up to an ap­plaud­ing Sen. Mary Landrieu as Obama talked about the coun­try’s com­mit­ment to Amer­ic­an en­ergy. Landrieu, a Louisi­ana Demo­crat, is one of Con­gress’s top re­cip­i­ents of cam­paign funds from oil and gas in­terests and is poised to take over the power­ful En­ergy Com­mit­tee next year.

Landrieu did not, however, join her col­leagues in ap­plaud­ing one of Obama’s later lines: “Let’s con­tin­ue that pro­gress with a smarter tax policy that stops giv­ing $4 bil­lion a year to fossil fuel in­dus­tries that don’t need it, so that we can in­vest more in fuels of the fu­ture that do.”

9:40 p.m.: Hope for Im­mig­ra­tion?

House Re­pub­lic­ans are headed to a re­treat this week where they will dis­cuss a series of prin­ciples they can agree on re­gard­ing im­mig­ra­tion re­form. When Obama called for im­mig­ra­tion re­form, a hand­ful of House Re­pub­lic­ans did stand and ap­plaud, in­clud­ing Paul Ry­an of Wis­con­sin, Mario Diaz-Bal­art of Flor­ida and Sean Duffy of Wis­con­sin.

Ry­an has long en­gaged in private con­ver­sa­tions with Re­pub­lic­an law­makers on the need for com­pre­hens­ive re­form. Diaz-Bal­art has also been work­ing the is­sue, and de­cided just a few hours be­fore the ad­dress to sit next to Illinois Demo­crat — and the lead­er on im­mig­ra­tion re­form in the House — Lu­is Gu­ti­er­rez.

9:33 p.m.: Obama Says Nat­ur­al Gas Can “Power Our Eco­nomy.” Here’s Why.

Nat­ur­al gas pro­duc­tion in re­cent years has soared.

(En­ergy In­form­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion)

9:28 p.m.: Mitch Mc­Con­nell Cracks a Smile

The first en­thu­si­ast­ic ap­plause from Mitch Mc­Con­nell to­night, for Speak­er John Boehner. Mc­Con­nell has spent the ma­jor­ity of the speech with his arms fol­ded, but at men­tion of his House coun­ter­part, Mc­Con­nell cracked a wry smile and joined his col­leagues in a stand­ing ova­tion for the speak­er.

9:26 p.m.: Why Obama Is Push­ing on Min­im­um Wage, In Charts

Here, from The At­lantic‘s Jordan Weiss­mann, is what the real value of min­im­um wage has looked like from 1938 to 2012.

(Jordan Weiss­mann)

9:18 p.m.: The View From the Sen­ate

In what’s be­come a rite of winter in Wash­ing­ton, with per­haps more sym­bol­ic sig­ni­fic­ance than le­gis­lat­ive re­ver­ber­a­tion, law­makers crossed the polit­ic­al aisle and the House cham­ber’s ac­tu­al cent­ral aisle at to­night’s State of the Uni­on.

Sen. Mark Pry­or, one of the most vul­ner­able Demo­crats fa­cing reelec­tion this year, sat with Re­pub­lic­ans, to the right of Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, one of the most mod­er­ate mem­bers of the GOP. Mark Kirk and Joe Manchin, who de­scribe them­selves as best friends, sat side-by-side.

Sen. Dean Heller, a Nevada Re­pub­lic­an, sat with Sen. Bri­an Schatz, a Demo­crat from Hawaii. Polit­ic­al po­lar op­pos­ites, pro­gress­ive Bernie Sanders and con­ser­vat­ive Jeff Ses­sions stood shoulder-to-shoulder.

The good will wasn’t uni­ver­sal. When first lady Michelle Obama entered, law­makers turned to­ward her in the gal­lery and ap­plauded, while Sen. Chuck Grass­ley of Iowa stood with his hands fol­ded be­hind his back.

Five Su­preme Court justices are in at­tend­ance: Chief Justice John Roberts and As­so­ci­ate Justices An­thony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Gins­burg, Steph­en Brey­er and Elena Kagan.

9:13 p.m.: Wait­ing on the Pres­id­ent

Some law­makers wait all day for the chance for some face time with the pres­id­ent and top-rank­ing of­fi­cials.

Rep. Al Green, for ex­ample, sat all day long to get a coveted aisle seat. But as the pres­id­ent walked by, the Texas Demo­crat only re­ceived quick hand­shake. Obama pivoted with the flow of foot traffic, turned around, and ex­changed a couple words with an­oth­er law­maker just be­hind him. Bet­ter luck next year, Mr. Green.

8:45 p.m.: Let the House Selfies Be­gin

For all of the noise made in re­cent years about high­light­ing bi­par­tis­an­ship through State of the Uni­on seat­ing charts, this year’s ad­dress fea­tures a mostly di­vided cham­ber.

Along with some “bi­par­tis­an couples,” like Re­pub­lic­an Sen. Jeff Flake and Demo­crat­ic Sen. Tammy Bald­win, there will be op­pos­ing camps: many House Demo­crats are seated to the right of where Pres­id­ent Obama will be speak­ing, and House Re­pub­lic­ans to the left.

As law­makers walked in­to the House cham­ber, they chat­ted and took pic­tures, some even snap­ping selfies — we’re look­ing at you, Rep. Peter Welch of Ver­mont.

The Biggest Lines From the Speech

  • “To­night, this cham­ber speaks with one voice to the people we rep­res­ent: it is you, our cit­izens, who make the state of our uni­on strong.”
  • “After five years of grit and de­term­ined ef­fort, the United States is bet­ter-po­si­tioned for the 21st cen­tury than any oth­er na­tion on Earth.”
  • “Let’s make this a year of ac­tion.”
  • “I be­lieve what unites the people of this na­tion, re­gard­less of race or re­gion or party, young or old, rich or poor, is the simple, pro­found be­lief in op­por­tun­ity for all ““ the no­tion that if you work hard and take re­spons­ib­il­ity, you can get ahead.”
  • “The cold, hard fact is that even in the midst of re­cov­ery, too many Amer­ic­ans are work­ing more than ever just to get by ““ let alone get ahead.”
  • “Amer­ica does not stand still ““ and neither will I.”
  • “Op­por­tun­ity is who we are.”
  • “This needs to be the year Con­gress lifts the re­main­ing re­stric­tions on de­tain­ee trans­fers and we close the pris­on at Guantanamo Bay”
  • “So wherever and whenev­er I can take steps without le­gis­la­tion to ex­pand op­por­tun­ity for more Amer­ic­an fam­il­ies, that’s what I’m go­ing to do.”
  • “The prob­lem is we’re still not reach­ing enough kids, and we’re not reach­ing them in time. That has to change.”
  • “The bot­tom line is, Michelle and I want every child to have the same chance this coun­try gave us.”
  • “Be­cause I firmly be­lieve when wo­men suc­ceed, Amer­ica suc­ceeds.”
  • “We all owe it to the Amer­ic­an people to say what we’re for, not just what we’re against.”
  • “Cit­izen­ship means stand­ing up for every­one’s right to vote”¦ Cit­izen­ship means stand­ing up for the lives that gun vi­ol­ence steals from us each day”¦ Cit­izen­ship de­mands a sense of com­mon cause; par­ti­cip­a­tion in the hard work of self-gov­ern­ment; an ob­lig­a­tion to serve to our com­munit­ies.”
  • If John F. Kennedy and Ron­ald Re­agan could ne­go­ti­ate with the So­viet Uni­on, then surely a strong and con­fid­ent Amer­ica can ne­go­ti­ate with less power­ful ad­versar­ies today.
  • The Amer­ica we want for our kids ““ a rising Amer­ica where hon­est work is plen­ti­ful and com­munit­ies are strong; where prosper­ity is widely shared and op­por­tun­ity for all lets us go as far as our dreams and toil will take us ““ none of it is easy. But if we work to­geth­er; if we sum­mon what is best in us, with our feet planted firmly in today but our eyes cast to­wards to­mor­row ““ I know it’s with­in our reach.

This Is What Obama Is Proposing to Do Without Congress

  • He’s rais­ing the min­im­um wage — for fed­er­al con­tract work­ers. It isn’t the na­tion­wide raise the pres­id­ent will also call on Con­gress to pass.
  • The pres­id­ent will im­ple­ment a re­tire­ment sav­ings ac­count pro­gram, which people can get through their em­ploy­ers. Such pro­grams are already avail­able from private sec­tor pro­viders.
  • In part­ner­ship with private sec­tor and fed­er­al agen­cies, his ad­min­is­tra­tion will launch six new in­nov­a­tion in­sti­tutes this year aimed at de­vel­op­ing new man­u­fac­tur­ing tech­no­lo­gies. The new hubs join four oth­ers, an­nounced last year, in Obama’s plan to es­tab­lish 15 in­sti­tutes by the end of 2014 without Con­gress’ help.
  • The ad­min­is­tra­tion will set new fuel ef­fi­ciency stand­ards for heavy-duty vehicles like trucks. Obama set such guidelines in 2011, and it looks like he hopes to tight­en them up again.
  • He will over­haul and ex­pand Se­lect­USA, a fed­er­al in­vest­ment pro­mo­tion agency whose goal is to bring over­seas jobs and pro­duc­tion to Amer­ic­an soil.
  • He vowed to ex­er­cise ex­ec­ut­ive au­thor­ity to pro­tect and con­serve more fed­er­al land.
What We're Following See More »
THE QUESTION
How Many Jobs Would Be Lost Under Bernie Sanders’s Single-Payer System?
4 hours ago
THE ANSWER

More than 11 million, according to Manhattan Institute fellow Yevgeniy Feyman, writing in RealClearPolicy.

Source:
WEEKEND DATA DUMP
State to Release 550 More Clinton Emails on Saturday
5 hours ago
THE LATEST

Under pressure from a judge, the State Department will release about 550 of Hillary Clinton’s emails—“roughly 14 percent of the 3,700 remaining Clinton emails—on Saturday, in the middle of the Presidents Day holiday weekend.” All of the emails were supposed to have been released last month. Related: State subpoenaed the Clinton Foundation last year, which brings the total number of current Clinton investigations to four, says the Daily Caller.

Source:
LATER TO THIS YEAR’S NADER
Jim Webb Rules Out Independent Bid
5 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

UPDATED: Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) will not be playing the role of Ralph Nader in this year’s election. Speaking in Dallas today, Webb said, “We looked at the possibility of an independent candidacy. Theoretically, it could be done, but it is enormously costly and time sensitive, and I don’t see the fundraising trajectory where we could make a realistic run.”

Source:
HE’D SIPHON OFF DEM VOTES
RNC Chief Would Welcome Bloomberg
5 hours ago
THE DETAILS

“The lead­ers of the Re­pub­lic­an and Demo­crat­ic na­tion­al com­mit­tees on Wed­nes­day weighed in on the pro­spect of an in­de­pend­ent pres­id­en­tial run by” former New York City May­or Mi­chael Bloomberg (I). “DNC Chair­wo­man Debbie Wasser­man Schultz sug­ges­ted that the former New York City may­or’s pri­or­it­ies are already ‘well cared-for’ in the Demo­crat­ic plat­form, while RNC lead­er Re­ince Priebus wel­comed the idea, say­ing Bloomberg would si­phon off votes from the Demo­crat­ic can­did­ate.”

Source:
THE QUESTION
How Large Is Hillary Clinton’s Delegate Lead?
6 hours ago
THE ANSWER

Three hundred fifty-two, thanks to superdelegates pledged to Clinton, and the vagaries of the delegate allocation process in early states. Not bad, considering her results have been a virtual tie and a blowout loss.

Source:
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