President Obama's Fat Tuesday 2013 State of the Union Address Coverage
About 2013 Obama State of the Union Address:
President Obama will give his annual State of the Union address (SOTU) on February 12, 2013. Which happens to fall on President Lincoln's Birthday and Fat Tuesday. This speech is important because it outlines the President's key priorities for the fiscal year. For that reason, it also previews the fiscal year (FY) 2014 Federal budget. The SOTU will continue Obama's economic policies since becoming President. The President will give the speech at the House Chamber to a joint session of the 113th Congress.
Obama's 2013 Priorities: Obama previewed his priorities in the Inaugural Address given January 21, 2013. He presented a vision repeating the Declaration of Independence phrase, "We, the People." He outlined seven areas which will probably be fleshed out in the SOTU. Some say he has a "Liberal Agenda". We the People means a "People Agenda".
First, Obama will continue to insist on infrastructure repair, which also is a good tool for job creation.
Although he only mentioned it briefly in the Inaugural Address, his second priority will be immigration law reform. Obama said he will present legislation in 2013. This will probably be easier to pass politically than in the past because the 2012 presidential election showed the growing strength in Hispanic voters.
Obama also mentioned the attack on Sandy Hook Elementary School. Third priority is his proposal on gun control. This includes background checks for all gun sales, reinstating the 1994 ban on assault weapons, limiting ammunition magazines to 10 rounds, and banning the possession of armor-piercing bullets by anyone other than the military and law enforcement. The proposal also includes more help for the mentally ill, training for school preparedness and more coordination between Federal agencies. Obama is willing to take on the National Rifle Association, which advocates increased police presence at public schools as the solution. (Source: NYT, Obama Gun Control Proposal, January 16, 2013)
Fourth, Obama mentioned reducing the U.S. deficit and debt, a burden to future generations. However, he made it clear he would not do it at the expense of Social Security and Medicare, which protects the "generation who built this country." He also argued that programs like unemployment benefits and Medicaid do not encourage sloth, but provide temporary protection for those who are temporarily down on their luck. This suggests he won't do much on entitlement reform, a key sticking point among Tea Party-Republicans. In the past, however, he has supported changes in how the cost-of-living adjustments are made in Social Security and raising the eligible age for Medicare from 65 to 67.
Fifth, Obama talked about taking a leadership position on climate change. He would balance increased U.S. production of new sources of energy with environmental protection. He has been a big advocate of clean energy from day one.
Sixth,Obama talked about protecting the middle class. This includes revamping the tax code, reforming schools and reducing the cost of health care. The SOTU will probably also mention how the 2013 fiscal cliff bill has already protected middle income families from the tax hikes that would have occurred if the Bush tax cuts hadn't been restored. He may introduce other measures to further protect them, one of his key priorities.
Seventh, the President spoke on how ending "a decade of war" will allow the U.S. to focus on alliances with both traditional friends and former enemies. This will probably include more free trade agreements.
These priorities are high and will take a lot of muscle to get this done. Can the Senate and House of Representatives work work with Obama to get these challenges met as they are still hashing it out over the spending cuts which could cause a sequester in March? Stay tuned.
After the address, GOP Senator Marco Rubio will give the GOP rebuttal to the president's State of the Union address.
Full GOP Response Coverage
Happy Fat Tuesday New Orleans Style