Obama talks middle-class revival, gun violence, immigration reforms in State of the Union address
Washington, Feb. 13 : President Barack Obama appeared before a divided Congress on Tuesday night for the State of the Union address, and outlined an ambitious agenda that focused on reviving the stagnant economy while also touching issues such as the war in Afghanistan, passing gun-control legislation, immigration law and attacking climate change.
During the address, he promised to create job for the middle class, adding that his plan will not increase the deficit.
With a theme of strengthening the middle class, he proposed creating more jobs by investing in clean energy and creating new 'manufacturing innovation institutes', and spending more public money on education and improving the nation's infrastructure.
According to the Washington Post, Obama also proposed to increase in the federal minimum wage.
In his early remarks, Obama said that the country's economy was adding jobs, but still too many people could not find full-time employment.
He said that corporate profits have rocketed to all-time highs, but for more than a decade, wages and incomes have barely budged.
He added that 'it is our generation's task, then, to reignite the true engine of America's economic growth ‚Euro" a rising, thriving middle class'.
Obama's speech included a variety of proposals, including a "Fix-It-First" programme to put people to work on building bridges and other urgent infrastructure repairs, making "high-quality preschool available to every child in America," and an increase in the federal minimum wage to nine dollars an hour.
The president also turned to a foreign policy issue that has sparked intense debate within his administration.
In his speech, he announced that he is ordering the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan to be reduced by more than half over the next 12 months.
Obama repeated his earlier calls for reducing the budget deficit through a mix of tax increases and spending cuts.
He also said he would support 'modest reforms' in programmes including Medicare, as long as wealthy Americans contribute as well.
Obama also acknowledged the growing national debate over his administration's use of drones and targeted killing.
In doing so, he promised greater transparency and an effort to provide a 'legal framework' for U.S. counterterrorism efforts.