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KFDM 6 :: News - Top Stories - President lays out agenda in State of the Union
Wednesday, February 13 2013, 01:05 AM CST
President lays out agenda in State of the Union

WASHINGTON (AP) - by JULIE PACE/AP White House Correspondent  


Uncompromising and politically emboldened, President Barack Obama urged a deeply divided Congress Tuesday night to embrace his plans to use government money to create jobs and strengthen the nation's middle class. He declared Republican ideas for reducing the deficit "even worse" than the unpalatable deals Washington had to stomach during his first term.



In his first State of the Union address since winning re-election, Obama conceded economic revival is an "unfinished task," but he claimed clear progress and said he prepared to build on it as he embarks on four more years in office.


"We have cleared away the rubble of crisis, and we can say with renewed confidence that the state of our union is strong," Obama said in an hour-long address to a joint session of Congress and a television audience of millions.


Yet with unemployment persistently high and consumer confidence falling, the economy remains a vulnerability for Obama and could disrupt his plans for pursuing a broader agenda, including immigration overhaul, stricter gun laws and climate change legislation.


Obama also announced new steps to reduce the U.S. military footprint abroad, with 34,000 American troops withdrawing from Afghanistan within a year. And he had a sharp rebuke for North Korea, which launched a nuclear test just hours before his remarks, saying, "Provocations of the sort we saw last night will only isolate them further."


In specific proposals for shoring up the economy in his second term, an assertive Obama called for increased federal spending to fix the nation's roads and bridges, the first increase in the minimum wage in six years and expansion of early education to every American 4-year-old. Seeking to appeal for support from Republicans, he promised that none of his proposals would increase the deficit "by a single dime" although he didn't explain how he would pay for his programs or how much they would cost.


In the Republican response to Obama's address, rising GOP star Marco Rubio of Florida came right back at the president, saying his solution "to virtually every problem we face is for Washington to tax more, borrow more and spend more."


Sen. Rubio, in prepared remarks, said presidents of both parties have recognized that the free enterprise system brings middle-class prosperity.


"But President Obama?" Rubio said. "He believes it's the cause of our problems."


Still, throughout the House chamber there were symbolic displays of bipartisanship. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., arrived early and sat with Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., just returned in January nearly a year after suffering a debilitating stroke. As a captain in the National Guard, Duckworth lost both her legs while serving in Iraq in 2004.


A few aisles away, the top two tax writers in Congress, Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., and Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., sat together.


But as a sign that divisions still remain, three of the most conservative Supreme Court justices skipped Obama's speech. Six of the nine attended. Missing were Justices Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito.


Jobs and growth dominated Obama's address. Many elements of his economic blueprint were repacked proposals from his first term that failed to gain traction on Capitol Hill.


Standing in Obama's way now is a Congress that remains nearly as divided as it was during the final years of his first term, when Washington lurched from one crisis to another.


The president implored lawmakers to break through partisan logjams, asserting that "the greatest nation on Earth cannot keep conducting its business by drifting from one manufactured crisis to the next."


"Americans don't expect government to solve every problem," he said. "They do expect us to forge reasonable compromise where we can."


Yet Obama offered few signs of being willing to compromise himself, instead doubling down on his calls to create jobs by spending more government money and insisting that lawmakers pay down the deficit through a combination of targeted spending cuts and tax increases. But he offered few specifics on what he wanted to see cut, focusing instead on the need to protect programs that help the middle class, elderly and poor.


He did reiterate his willingness to tackle entitlement changes, particularly on Medicare, though he has ruled out increasing the eligibility age for the popular benefit program for seniors.


Republicans are ardently opposed to Obama's calls for legislating more tax revenue to reduce the deficit and offset broad the automatic spending cuts -- known as the sequester -- that are to take effect March 1. The president accused GOP lawmakers of shifting the cuts from defense to programs that would help the middle class and elderly, as well as those supporting education and job training.


"That idea is even worse," he said.


Obama broke little new ground on two agenda items he has pushed vigorously since winning re-election: overhauling the nation's fractured immigration laws and enacting tougher gun control measures in the wake of the horrific massacre of school children in Newtown, Conn. Yet he pressed for urgency on both, calling on Congress to send him an immigration bill "in the next few months" and insisting lawmakers hold votes on his gun proposals.


"Each of these proposals deserves a vote in Congress," he said. "If you want to vote no, that's your choice."


Numerous lawmakers wore green lapel ribbons in memory of those killed in the December shootings in Connecticut. Among those watching in the House gallery: the parents of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, shot and killed recently in a park just a mile from the president's home in Chicago, as well as other victims of gun violence.


On the economy, Obama called for raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $9 by 2015. The minimum wage has been stagnant since 2007, and administration officials said the increase would strengthen purchasing power. The president also wants Congress to approve automatic increases in the wage to keep pace with inflation.


Looking for common ground anywhere he could find it, Obama framed his proposal to boost the minimum wage by pointing out that even his GOP presidential rival liked the idea. He said, "Here's an idea that Gov. Romney and I actually agreed on last year: Let's tie the minimum wage to the cost of living, so that it finally becomes a wage you can live on."


Obama also renewed his calls for infrastructure spending, investments he sought repeatedly during his first term with little support from Republicans. He pressed lawmakers to approve a $50 billion "fix it first" program that would address the most urgent infrastructure needs.


Education also figures in Obama's plans to boost American competitiveness in the global economy. Under his proposal, the federal government would help states provide pre-school for all 4-year-olds. Officials did not provide a cost for the pre-school programs but said the government would provide financial incentives to help states.


Among the other initiatives Obama is proposing:


-- A $1 billion plan to create 15 "manufacturing institutes" that would bring together businesses, universities and the government. If Congress opposes the initiative, Obama plans to use his presidential powers to create three institutes on his own.


-- Creation of an "energy security trust" that would use revenue from federal oil and gas leases to support development of clean energy technologies such as biofuels and natural gas


-- Doubling of renewable energy in the U.S. from wind, solar and geothermal sources by 2020.


Tuesday night's address marked Obama's most expansive remarks on the economy since the November election. Since securing a second term, the president has focused more heavily on new domestic policy proposals, including immigration changes and preventing gun violence following the horrific shooting of schoolchildren in Newtown, Conn.


Obama also called on Congress to tackle the threat of climate change, another issue that eluded him in his first term. The president pledged to work with lawmakers to seek bipartisan solutions but said if Capitol Hill doesn't act, he'll order his Cabinet to seek steps he can take using his presidential powers.


Taking a swipe at those who question the threat of global warming, Obama said, "We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science - and act before it's too late."


Obama also called on Congress to pass legislation giving the government more power to combat the rapidly growing threat of cyberattacks. And, as a down payment on that, the president announced that he has signed an executive order to fight electronic espionage through the development of voluntary standards to protect networks and computer systems that run critical infrastructure.

President lays out agenda in State of the Union

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Court won't hear dispute over 'boobies' bracelets

Judge Bob Wortham Stepping Down

Community comes together for Lexy Bertrand benefit

Composite sketch of possible suspect in Port Bolivar double homicide

Photo of victim Crystal Jackson whose body was dumped on Port Bolivar

Photo of victim Britney Cosby whose body was dumped on Port Bolivar

Law enforcement officers in Orange searching for man who ditched his 18-wheeler to run from trooper

Michaels move to new location

Love Lunch Sack Homeless Outreach

Last day of Golden Triangle Home Show

Pinehurst police searching for men suspected of holding up Dollar General Store

Gusher Marathon draws more than one thousand people

Frog Fest helps wounded veterans

Boxer Wilford Scypion laid to rest

Justin Hinton's report on TEA investigation of BISD

TEA preliminary report critical of BISD financial practices; blames superintendent, board

Click here to read the entire TEA preliminary report into BISD financial compliance

BISD employee Jessie Haynes hasn't returned to work after workers' comp claim denied

Student accused of making threats taken into custody

Gusher Marathon to cause traffic rerouting Saturday

Beaumont city bus service suspended during Gusher Marathon Saturday

Texas Rangers investigate shooting of 18-year-old

Two women killed, bodies dumped behind Bolivar store

Crews cleaning up Shell oil spill in Port Neches

West Brook student transported to hospital after a fight

Detectives investigating double homicide at Fisherman's Cove

Jobless rate drops nearly 2% in past year in Beaumont-Port Arthur

No officers ]hurt, one man injured in Tyler County officer-involved shooting

East Texas teen charged with killing stepfather

Shots fired during holdup, restaurant customers forced to ground

Shell pipeline hit, spills 100 barrels of crude oil in Port Neches

Man attempts to break Ellen's retweet record

Former Marshall Middle School student posts threat online

Officers find dog shot and killed

Beaumont abortion clinic shuts down

Changes in Newton County election totals don't change outcome of races

Update on closing of Beaumont abortion clinic

School notifies parents about former student who reportedly made threats via social media

Whole Women's Health in Beaumont closing its doors

Gusher Marathon maps show route, parking access

PAFD: Space heater to blame for house fire

Cheesecake and sandwiches at Deli Days

Central High competes for state basketball championship

PA firefighters respond to house fire

JeffCo Justice of the Peace candidate seeks recount

PAPD: Man puts gun to woman's head

NAACP, local ministers have message for community

New local task force to investigate corruption and violent crimes

Police recovering pieces of stolen sculpture

Morrison and West head to the May runoff

Students learn dangers of DWI

Candidates strategize for Orange County Judge runoff

Cirque du Soleil comes to Ford Park

NAACP, Ministers Union want to dispel what they call misinformation about views on BISD

Man says gunman tried to kidnap wife

Final results in Jefferson County give Smith, Wiggins primary victories; others in runoffs

Search for missing man enters second week

Four Republicans vying for county judge job in Orange County

Early voting numbers delayed due to problem

Three Democrats, two Republicans in race for district clerk's office

Three Democrats in race for judge position at County Court at law number three

Three Democrats running for 252nd Criminal District Court judge

Election results

Jefferson County candidates say they rely on early voting numbers because of today's cold

Hardin County voters brave cold

Weather impacts voter turnout in Orange County

Villanova students volunteering in Beaumont

Weather impacts voter turnout

Ice contributes to outages, school cancelations

Winter weather pictures

Ice on trees; some power outages reported

Fitch downgrades Beaumont ISD bonds

Loss of power prompts closure of Buna ISD schools Tuesday; classes resume Wednesday

Primary election day

RadioShack to close up to 1,100 stores across nation

Finance consultant updates BISD finances

Hamshire Fannett student remains hospitalized

Southeast Texas tie to Ukraine

Southeast Texas wraps up Mardi Gras

Historic building in downtown Beaumont for sale

Southeast Texans to vote in primary elections

School delays due to inclement weather

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

LU to offer guaranteed price plan

Identity of man who died after suffering medical condition and crashing his motorcycle released

Arctic blasts canceling local flights again

Forty churches to pray for 40 days in pro-life campaign

Family who lost toddler in traffic accident has a message

Last day of Mardi Gras

P.A.L.T presents Legally Blonde Musical

Police: Man carjacks women and then steals more cars

Man dies after running back into burning house for cell phone

Students hand out free trees

West End Little League kicks off

Thousands celebrate Mardi Gras in downtown Port Arthur

Sheriff names suspect in Maddox murders

Nathan Maddox' former mother-in-law named suspect in murders; released after unrelated drug charged is dropped

KFDM learns BISD's Jessie Haynes denied Workers' Compensation claim

TEA accreditation of BISD on hold until investigation over; revocation unlikely says TEA spokeswoman

First house complete under round 2 of Hurricane Ike relief funding

TX AG Greg Abbott campaigns in Beaumont

Jury finds karate instructor guilty of child porn violations

Langston Adams sworn in as interim judge of County Court at Law Number 3

PA man sentenced to 20 years in connection with witness retaliation case

Second day of Southeast Texas Mardi Gras

Symphony of Southeast Texas presents popular soloist

Teen mom who abandoned baby in dumpster could regain custody

$831,000 settlement in Pearson lawsuit against Jasper

BISD to take control of student activity accounts

Man mourns the death of his bride-to-be

Mardi Gras chicken run tradition

Port Arthur man sentenced for impersonating firefighter

Mardi Gras boosts downtown Port Arthur businesses

Meals on Wheels BBQ baked potato fundraiser

Mardi Gras in Port Arthur

Senior Mardi Gras celebration

Mardi Gras kicking off in Port Arthur

Tea Party activists disavow Steve Stockman

Man sentenced to 25 years for impersonating a firefighter

Early voting ends Friday for March 4 primaries

Disabled vet says he was kicked out of restaurant because of service dog

Lunch at the Lake returns Monday

State website: BISD spending more on students while academic progress declining

Port Arthur launches app

Babysitter doesn't get jail time in case where child accidentally shot himself

Officers shoot and kill Vidor man

Name released of Port Arthur man run over by car

Woman gets suspended sentence, probation for falling asleep and leaving loaded gun in home where boy accidentally shot and killed himself

Public reacts to proposed increase in windstorm insurance rates

Crystal Beach VFD Assistant Chief says investigations into money reveal new bills

When is a person too old to drive?

Deputy fired after being arrested

Federal judge strikes down Texas gay marriage ban

Charges filed against man for Intoxication Manslaughter, Intoxication Assault

Police release name of man who died during exchange of gunfire

Public reacting to proposed dramatic increase in windstorm insurance rates

Deputies want help finding fugitive assault suspect accused of breaking pregnant girlfriend's jaw

Update: Police release name of man struck and killed walking across Highway 69 near Central Mall

Former skinhead speaks out about hate groups

Former neo-Nazi skinhead speaks out

Early voting underway

Higher ed phone bank answers questions

One person dead after exchange of gunfire

Cinderella ballet performance celebrates 30 years

Police looking for missing teen

Beaumont police to help military investigate sex crimes

Crime Stoppers: February 25, 2014

PA city councilman resigns

Bill Leger Award presented at Family Services luncheon

Beaumont celebrates World Spay Day

Two separate accidents involving BPD officers

Driver identified in fatal Orange County accident

Beaumont's Kathleen Jackson appointed to Texas Water Development Board

Stockman's campaign for John Cornyn's seat

Police standoff ends after several hours

Rose Hill gets a second look

BISD response concerning West Brook fundraiser

Police and organizers setting up security for Mardi Gras

Teacher says students need textbooks

Public invited to upcoming windstorm insurance hearing

Woman now charged with stealing police car

Langston Adams appointed interim judge of County Court at Law #3

Investigators determine cause of apartment fire

Outpouring of support for family of Lumberton sisters killed in crash

Police say speed and alcohol may be factors in fatal wreck

Early voting on Sunday

West Brook band performs at Magic Kingdom

China boil water notice

Man in custody after fatal wreck in Port Arthur

Woman dies from injuries in Port Arthur accident

Teen building family crisis center

CPS brings prom to foster care teens

DPS: Man driving drunk falls out of moving truck

City of Orange gives Super Bowl champ Earl Thomas key to city

Shoot-out fundraiser to combat cancer

Final day of Boomtown Film and Music Fest

Girls' Haven Annual Gumbo Cook-off

Giving Field offers organic gardening workshop

BISD announces freeze on spending

Family claims special needs child mistreated at school

Woman steals a BPD patrol car, leads officers on chase and crashes patrol car

Custody hearing canceled in murder case

Woman hit by van in critical condition

Restaurant Report Card: Feb. 21, 2014

Local hospital reaches out to children

Who won Mr. Habitat?

Girls' Haven annual gumbo fundraiser on Saturday

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Business News

Asian stocks mixed after holiday weekend

BEIJING (AP) -- Asian stocks were mixed today in light trading after Japan reported a jump in its trade deficit and investors looked ahead to economic data this week from China and Korea.

Consumer News

   WEST PALM BEACH, FL -- (Marketwired) -- 03/21/14 --
 Companies that pride themselves on being eco-friendly may have conflicted
 ideas between marketing with ad specialties and maintaining their green
 reputation. ...

Entertainment News

CAPTAIN AMERICA WINS 3RD STRAIGHT BOX OFFICE TITLE

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The guy in red, white and blue continues to rake in the green.

Get This

TROOPS-GIRL SCOUT COOKIES

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Returning soldiers are getting a sweet taste of home -- courtesy of the Girl Scouts.

Science/Tech News

IN THE NEWS: POLICE SAY MAN SUFFOCATED SON SO HE COULD KEEP PLAYING VIDEO GAMES

HOMOSASSA, Fla. (AP) -- It's one of those stories that make you just shake your head and wonder.


 

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