President Obama’s first SOTU of his second Administration forcefully advocated for his economic and social agenda, including immigration, education, and gun control. Through his speech, he addressed several issues of key importance to the Federal Policy Week community. The full speech is available at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/state-of-the-union-2013 (video and interactive written speech). Some key highlights (in order of the speech) are below. The topics are: Sequestration, Taxes, Manufacturing, R&D Investment, Energy, Climate Change, Education, and Immigration.
Sequestration: “These sudden, harsh, arbitrary cuts would jeopardize our military readiness, they’d devastate priorities like education and energy and medical research.”
Taxes & Jobs: “a tax code that lowers incentives to move jobs overseas and lowers tax rates for businesses and manufacturers that are creating jobs right here in the United States of America….Our first priority is making America a magnet for new jobs and manufacturing”
Manufacturing: “Last year, we created our first manufacturing innovation institute in Youngstown, Ohio. …I’m announcing the launch of three more of these manufacturing hubs, where businesses will partner with the Departments of Defense and Energy to turn regions left behind by globalization into global centers of high-tech jobs. And I ask this Congress to help create a network of 15 of these hubs and guarantee that the next revolution in manufacturing is made right here in America. ”
R&D Investment: “Now is not the time to gut these job-creating investments in science and innovation. Now is the time to reach a level of research and development not seen since the height of the space race. We need to make those investments.
Energy: “Today, no area holds more promise than our investments in American energy…tonight, I propose we use some of our oil and gas revenues to fund an Energy Security Trust that will drive new research and technology to shift our cars and trucks off oil for good…Let’s cut in half the energy wasted by our homes and businesses over the next 20 years.” (note this second half is after the climate change discussion).
Climate Change: “But for the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change…But if Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will.”
Education: “So, tonight, I propose working with states to make high-quality preschool available to every single child in America….Tonight, I’m announcing a new challenge, to redesign America’s high schools so they better equip graduates for the demands of a high-tech economy….Through tax credits, grants, and better loans, we’ve made college more affordable for millions of students and families over the last few years. But taxpayers can’t keep on subsidizing higher and higher and higher costs for higher education. Colleges must do their part to keep costs down, and it’s our job to make sure that they do. …my Administration will release a new college scorecard that parents and students can use to compare schools based on a simple criteria: where you can get the most bang for your educational buck.”
Immigration: “And right now, leaders from the business, labor, law enforcement, faith communities, they all agree that the time has come to pass comprehensive immigration reform. Now’s the time to do it….And real reform means fixing the legal immigration system to cut waiting periods and attract the highly skilled entrepreneurs and engineers that will help create jobs and grow our economy.”