Photo courtesy of CNN Wire.
Alex Veeneman, News Editor
Follow our live blog with updates from President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address, starting at 8 p.m. CT tonight.
For background on likely topics to be discussed, check out one of our recent posts.
Until then, from me, Alex Veeneman, thank you and stay warm. Good night.
A reminder – the first print issue of The Flyer will hit Lewis newsstands on Monday, with new content coming on this web site at that time.
Thank you all for your comments tonight, and thank you for being with us. Thanks also to Dave Hansen, Andrea Earnest and Adam Smetana, my colleagues in online, who have worked to put this together especially considering difficulties with weather.
And so the speeches are over, with both sides setting unique goals for the future. But in an age of speculation especially with elections in November, there is concern by some that action may not happen considering political differences. We now wait to see what happens from Washington.
One comment from Angela – she appreciated the acknowledgment of the military and of Sgt. Remsburg.
Republican reply is over.
All of us will do what is uniquely American – we will look at the potential ahead, give thanks to those who gave the call to America’s freedom.
The president said many things tonight, but now, I ask him to listen to you – for the true State of the Union is in your home, Rodgers says.
We believe in a government that trusts people. It’s for an America that is compassionate that is exceptional. If we are successful, our children will say we rebuilt the American Dream.
Health care law is not working, Rodgers says, and the choice should be yours, not the government’s. We hope the President will join us in a year of real action.
Working on step by step solution to immigration reform to secure borders and America can attract the hardest working from around the world. With too many living paycheck to paycheck, we have solutions to take home more – lower taxes, health care.
President’s policies are making people’s lives harder, Rodgers says.
We are not defined by our limits, but our potentials. Our mission is that we are empowered by what we can become. That is the gap Republicans are working to close, Rodgers says. The real gap is opportunity inequality, and that gap has become far too wide with the Administration’s policy, Rodgers says.
I come to Congress to empower people and the middle class, not the government, Rodgers says. A job gives us purpose, dignity and a foundation to build a future.
We the People have been the foundation of America, Rodgers says. No challenge is too great, and no dream too big – that’s the genius of America.
The President made promises that sounded good, but won’t solve the problems.
Tonight, we honor America, Rodgers says, a nation, where we are not defined by our limits, but our potential.
And now the reply from the Republicans.
A reminder that we want to hear from you. You can write on our Facebook page, facebook.com/thelewisflyer. You can tweet us @thelewisflyer, and you can email email@example.com.
Thanks also to Zach for the positive feedback on the live blog. Appreciate it.
But before that, some of your comments – Dede tweets: “I’m glad it is over! Wishing Obama could complete a thought with a definitive measure.”
Stand by for the reply from the Republicans, which will come from Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state.
What did you think of the speech? What did you like or dislike? Tell us what you think.
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.
Speech now ends.
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.
Obama: But for more than two hundred years, we have put those things aside and placed our collective shoulder to the wheel of progress – to create and build and expand the possibilities of individual achievement, to free other nations from tyranny and fear, to promote justice, and fairness, and equality under the law, so that the words set to paper by our founders are made real for every citizen.
Our freedom, our democracy, has never been easy. Sometimes we stumble; we make mistakes; we get frustrated or discouraged.
Standing ovation for Cory Remsburg, an Army ranger.
Will slash backlog to ensure veterans receive benefits and healthcare needed, and help translate skills to jobs at home and join forces to honor military families.
Moves to talk about military personnel.
On every issue, the world turns to us, not simply because of the size of our economy or our military might – but because of the ideals we stand for, and the burdens we bear to advance them
Obama: We do these things because they help promote our long-term security. And we do them because we believe in the inherent dignity and equality of every human being, regardless of race or religion, creed or sexual orientation.
Alliance with Europe is the strongest the world has ever known.
Obama: Our leadership is defined not just by our defense against threats, but by the enormous opportunities to do good and promote understanding around the globe – to forge greater cooperation, to expand new markets, to free people from fear and want. And no one is better positioned to take advantage of those opportunities than America.
If Iran does not seize chance, I will call for sanctions – Obama
Obama says he will veto a new sanctions bill to derail diplomatic talks, it will be vetoed. We must give diplomacy a chance to succeed.
Iran beginning to eliminate stockpile of enriched uranium. Must prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.
Obama on Syria: 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.
Also calls on the closure of Guantanamo Bay this year.
Calls to reform surveillance programs – work depends on public confidence, that the privacy of ordinary people is not being violated.
We must move off of a permanent war footing, Obama says.
We will support a unified Afghanistan after 2014. A small amount of American troops would be with NATO troops and assisting Afghan forces, if the government in Kabul agrees.
Now moving to defense – all troops out of Iraq. 60,000 troops left Afghanistan. Support role now. Mission will be complete by end of the year. America’s longest war will finally be over.
Now moving to 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
Commission offered reforms re voting – including only waiting half an hour to vote.
Ask every American if they know someone not covered, to get them covered by March 31.
Owe it to American people to what we’re for, not against.
American people not interested in fighting old battles – calls for no further votes to repeal law.
If misfortune strikes, you don’t have to lose everything – Obama says on health care reform
Now moving to health care law.
Calls for a bill to keep the dream of home ownership alive for future generations.
Obama will direct Treasury tomorrow for new retirement savings – bond to create a nest egg. MyRA is the name of the program.
To do more, Congress needs to get on board. Federal minimum wage worth 20 percent less than Reagan. Bill will raise minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. Involves no bureaucratic programs. Call on Congress to say yes – give America a raise.
Raise minimum wage – good for economy and good for America. Discusses pizza company in Minnesota that raised it to $10 an hour and has eased concerns.
Profitable corporations see higher wages as smart way to boost productivity. Federal contractors will see a raise to $10 an hour per executive order to be introduced in the next few weeks.
Americans overwhelmingly agree that no one who works full time should ever need to raise a family in poverty.
Deserves to have baby without sacrificing job, deserves day off to take care of child, parent – without sacrificing jobs. Give every woman the opportunity they deserve.
When women succeed, America succeeds.
Women make up half the workforce but make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. It is an embarrassment, he says. Women deserve equal pay for equal work.
Obama: Michelle and I want every child the same chance the country gave us.
Obama: 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.
Pledged to connect last year 99 percent of students can connect to high quality broadband. 15,000 schools and 20 million students will get that without adding to deficit, with help from tech companies.
Obama: Teachers and principals making strides and preparing students with skills for new economy – problem solving, critical thinking, science, technology, engineering, and math.
More young people earning college degrees than ever before, Obama says.
We must prepare tomorrow’s workforce and guarantee a world class education.
Calls on Congress to give Americans a chance – they need our help, and the country needs them in the game. Calls to give more long-term unemployed workers a fair shot at a new job.
Also calls for reform of unemployment insurance and calls to restore benefits for 1.6 million people that recently expired.
More on the job training and apprenticeships and connecting companies to community colleges.
Needs to make sure Americans have skills to fill those jobs. Calls for reform of training programs to ensure those skills are given. VP Biden will lead the reform. Match the skills given with companies and jobs needing filled now.
Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have acted, Obama says, and asks members in the House to do the same.
Also calls to reform immigration system.
Did we do all we could to leave a safer, more stable world with new energy sources, and say we did.
Partnered with businesses and local communities to reduce energy we consume. Worked with auto makers to set fuel efficiency standards for cars. Will be working with automakers to do the same for trucks.
Wants smarter tax policy to invest more in fuels of the future compared to fossil fuels.
Obama says US is a global leader in solar energy. Every 4 minutes, another American business or home goes solar.
Calls for patent reform bill to focus on projects and not litigation. Now moving to energy, saying US is closer to energy independence than in previous decades.
Obama: the nation that goes all-in on innovation today will own the global economy tomorrow.
Research hubs for high tech manufacturing. Wants six more hubs. Get the bills on my desk and put Americans back to work, Obama says, also calling for more help for entrepreneurs and small business owners.
Obama – I will slash bureaucracy and streamline permitting process for projects.
Discussing tax code – both Democrats and Republicans say there are loopholes causing problems in the tax code, and shift to reward companies that create US based jobs.
Opportunity is who we are, Obama says. We must restore that promise. We know where to start – access to a good job.
Millions of Americans outside of Washington who are tired of stale political arguments. They believe that success should depend on work ethic.
Obama says a College Opportunity Summit has been organized to make commitments to reduce inequality and ensure access to higher education and success for every student.
If there will be opportunities that do not need legislation to expand opportunities for Americans, that is what I will do, Obama says.
Our job is to reverse these trends – it won’t happen right away and we won’t agree on anything.
Talking about income inequality – saying it has deepened. Even in the midst of recovery many Americans are doing more just to get by rather than getting ahead.
Re budget – budget compromise should allow us to focus on creating new jobs, not new crises, Obama says. Let’s see where we can make progress together. Make this a year of action. That’s what Americans want.
Obama talks of the debate of the size of the federal government, and referencing the government shut down or issues of credit rating. We are not doing right by the American people, he says.
2014 can be a breakthrough year, he says. The US is better positioned for the 21st century than any other nation, and the question is whether we can help or hinder this progress.
Tonight, this chamber speaks with one voice to the people we represent, he says. He says citizens make the state of the union stronger. The results, he says, are low unemployment rates, more oil produced at home and a cut in the deficit and the first time, business leaders declaring the US the number one place to invest.
Boehner will now introduce the President. The speech starts now.
The President is making his way to the podium, shaking hands with Vice President Biden and House Speaker Boehner.
We’d love your reaction to the speech tonight – you can get involved by posting on our Facebook page (facebook.com/thelewisflyer), tweeting us @thelewisflyer, or posting a comment below.
You can email me too – firstname.lastname@example.org.
The announcement of the President’s arrival into the room has been made. Speech is forthcoming.
What do you want the President to say tonight? What are you expecting from this speech? Let us know.
There are a lot of concerns by the American public ahead of tonight’s speech. A poll from NBC and the Wall Street Journal indicate a lot of concerns, especially on the performance of the president and on the direction of the country and the economy.
The reply from the Republicans will come following tonight’s address from Cathy McMorris Rogers of Washington state.
Education issues are also on the table tonight, reports say.
Reports indicate an interest in raising the minimum wage, and Obama is to say in his speech tonight that he won’t wait for Congress, a message echoed in much of the international coverage of the President’s speech, including Canada’s The Globe and Mail newspaper.
You can also email me with your comments – I’m at email@example.com.
As we prepare to get settled for the speech, we’d love to hear from you tonight. Please post on our Facebook page – facebook.com/thelewisflyer and tweet us @thelewisflyer.
Key themes tonight will include economic inequality – you can read a post from our site from yesterday: http://thelewisflyer.com/blog/2014/01/27/state-of-the-union-the-presidency-feeling-feisty/
This speech is given every year by the president under a requirement in the Constitution, and this year’s speech is particularly important, considering the popularity numbers for both Congress and the president, and the issue of November’s election for all House members and 1/3 of the Senate.
Good evening and welcome to The Flyer’s coverage of the State of the Union address. I’m Alex Veeneman, news editor, and I’ll be with you throughout the evening.
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