President Barack Obama discussed minimum wage, climate change and college prices Tuesday during the annual State of the Union address Tuesday.
“Colleges must do their part to keep costs down, and it’s our job to make sure that they do,” Obama said during the address. “So 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.”
Obama said high school curriculums need to be updated to prepare students for the jobs of the future, and went on to explain that “the more education you have, the more likely you are to have a job.”
Climate change and clean energy were also talked about. Obama had
said clean energy should be funded by revenue from the oil industry.
“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,” he said.
Obama also pushed for tax reform, which was mentioned in the Republican response to the address.
“The tax increases and the deficit spending you propose will hurt middle class families,” said Republican Florida Senator Marco Rubio in the official Republican response, “It will cost them their raises. It will cost them their benefits. It may even cost some of them their jobs.”
Obama also urged Congress to raise minimum wage to $9 because it’s “wrong” that an employee working minimum wage earns $14,500 a year which is below the poverty line. He also said minimum wage should be “a wage you can live on.”
“I ask this Congress to declare that women should earn a living equal to their efforts, and finally pass the Paycheck Fairness Act this year,” Obama said.
Violence against women was also brought up in the speech. He explained that the Senate had already passed the Violence Against Women Act Feb 12, and that he wishes the House will as well.
Immigration reform was another issue Obama touched on. He urged Congress to help those in America seeking citizenship, and reminded them less illegal immigrants are making the passage to America than before.
Obama also addressed fixing the issues many Americans have with voting.
“When any Americans—no matter where they live or what their party—are denied that right simply because they can’t wait for five, six, seven hours just to cast their ballot, we are betraying our ideals,” he said.
Obama also said he will end the war in Afghanistan by the end of next year.
“We may do different jobs, and wear different uniforms and hold different views than the person beside us, but as Americans we all share the same proud title; we are citizens,” Obama said in his final statements. “It’s a word that doesn’t just describe our nationality or legal status; it describes the way we’re made; it describes what we believe.”
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