State of the Union: Obama announces withdrawal of 34,000 troops from Afghanistan within 1 year
WASHINGTON (KABC) -- President Obama covered a wide range of topics covering current American issues Tuesday night.
President Obama spent much of the first part of his address on the domestic front. He talked about attracting more jobs to the U.S., as well as helping out the hardest-hit areas of the United States that have suffered in the recent recession.
The president asked Congress to create a series of 15 manufacturing hubs to partner with the Departments of Energy and Defense in establishing high-tech jobs.
Obama proposed further significant investment in infrastructure to encourage doing business in the United States.
The president proposed raising the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour. "In the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty."
Obama proposed tying the minimum wage to the cost of living to make it a true living wage. He noted that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney also agreed with this proposal.
He called the budget jousting over the deficit debate in Congress a "manufactured crisis."
Clean energy was part of the topic, including wind and solar power as well as natural gas.
He challenged homes and businesses to cut in half energy waste over the next 20 years. "The states with the best ideas to create jobs and lower energy bills by constructing more efficient buildings will receive federal support to help make it happen," the president said Tuesday night.
The president proposed using some oil and gas revenue to fund an Energy Security Trust with the research and development goal of taking cars and trucks off of oil.
Education is a major factor, Obama said, in developing future talent and progress, as well as ensuring the stability of the American middle class. He encouraged investment in pre-school all the way through college so the American workforce can compete in the global marketplace. Science, technology, engineering and math skills should be significantly developed.
"Tonight, I ask Congress to change the Higher Education Act, so that affordability and value are included in determining which colleges receive certain types of federal aid. And tomorrow, 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."
Obama said he would bring 34,000 American troops from Afghanistan over the next year. By the end of 2014, he said, America's war in Afghanistan will be over. He also spoke about the legal elements and policy of U.S. counterterrorism operations, and the efforts to keep Congress informed.
Continuing on the international front, the president spoke about North Korea's "provocations," citing the nuclear test the North Korean state performed Monday night. Obama stressed the importance of international cooperation and alliances, while reminding the world of American missile-defense capabilities.
The president applied pressure to Iran as well, pushing for a diplomatic solution to an ongoing issue over that country's alleged attempts to manufacture a nuclear weapon.
Cyber-security was also an issue in Tuesday night's State of the Union. The president signed Tuesday an executive order designed to strengthen cyber defenses. He urged Congress to continue that offensive.
"I urge this Congress to pursue a bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change, like the one John McCain and Joe Lieberman worked on together a few years ago. But if Congress won't act soon to protect future generations, I will. I will direct my Cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take, now and in the future, to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy."
"Send me a comprehensive immigration reform bill in the next few months, and I will sign it right away," said Obama.
"Overwhelming majorities of Americans -- Americans who believe in the 2nd Amendment -- have come together around commonsense reform -- like background checks that will make it harder for criminals to get their hands on a gun," said the president.
"Senators of both parties are working together on tough new laws to prevent anyone from buying guns for resale to criminals. Police chiefs are asking our help to get weapons of war and massive ammunition magazines off our streets, because they are tired of being outgunned.
"Each of these proposals deserves a vote in Congress. If you want to vote no, that's your choice. But these proposals deserve a vote. Because in the two months since Newtown, more than a thousand birthdays, graduations, and anniversaries have been stolen from our lives by a bullet from a gun."
Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) delivered the Republican response. He began by congratulating President Obama on beginning his second term.
Rubio then disputed much of the president's positions, saying Obama believes the U.S. "free enterprise economy" is the cause of the country's problems.
"And, therefore, as you heard tonight, his solution to virtually every problem we face is for Washington to tax more, borrow more and spend more," said Rubio.
"Any time anyone opposes the president's agenda, he and his allies usually respond by falsely attacking their motives," said Rubio."
"We don't have to raise taxes to avoid the president's devastating cuts to our military. Republicans have passed a plan that replaces these cuts with responsible spending reforms," he said.
president barack obama, u.s. military, politics
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