warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

State Of The Union: Obama's Top Bullet Points

Max Schwartz |
January 28, 2014 | 2:37 p.m. PST

Senior Reporter

President Obama during his 2011 State of the Union Address. (Pete Souza/Wikimedia Commons via Creative Commons)
President Obama during his 2011 State of the Union Address. (Pete Souza/Wikimedia Commons via Creative Commons)
President Obama will deliver his fifth State of the Union Address to a joint session of Congress tonight at 6 p.m. EST and this address could determine if America will have a more united government next year.

The president is going before a  Congress, which could potentialy become even more divided with upcoming mid-term elections. This Congress is the most unproductive since the 1940s,  and they have to increase the debt limit in February and enact reforms to the NSA. In addition, the president and his fellow Democrats are pushing for greater economic equality and the extension of emergency unemployment insurance, both of which are likely to be discussed in the Address.

Raising Minimum Wage:

On Tuesday morning, the White House announced that President Obama will sign an executive order that “raise[s] the minimum wage to $10.10 [per hour] for those working on new federal contracts for services.” This is the first step in the Democratic wide push to increase the minimum wage across the board to ensure working Americans are not living in poverty. This also serves as a way to narrow, albeit slightly, the income and wealth gap between the two ends of the wage spectrum. 

The White House is not yet finished on the issue, however. In the same message, the White House said President Obama “wants to work with Congress to pass the Harkin-Miller bill that would increase the Federal minimum wage to $10.10 and index it to inflation thereafter….”

SEE ALSO: Obama In L.A.: DreamWorks Speech Highlights Jobs, Creativity


President Obama is likely to discuss the economy and, while doing so, announce new initiatives his Administration plans to build it back up, since n Wednesday, Obama will travel to Lanham, Md., to visit the city’s Costco to speak about the economy. On the same day, he will travel to the U.S. Steel Irvin Plant in West Mifflin, Pa. to talk about the same issue and Waukesha, Wis. to make a speech on the economy at GE’s Waukesha Gas Engines facility on Thursday.

Tech and Innovation:

Given the push to innovate and make more products in the United States, the president will discuss producing more goods at home. He could also discuss the ways some companies are innovating, which could also be linked to job creation and how these companies and factories revitalize their communities.

SEE ALSO: Economic Inequality In America, Explained In Graphs

While discussing businesses, President Obama may talk about companies that are good to their employees and that more companies need to do what Nicholas and Company, Inc. does for their employees.

STEM Education

Obama will probably discuss the use of a STEM curriculum. The White House also announced Kathy Hollowell-Makle, the 2013 District of Columbia Public School’s Teacher of the Year, will be a guest in the First Lady’s box during the Address.

Joey Hudy a “Maker” and the youngest at Intel will also be Michelle Obama’s box. The White House says he is “a proponent of STEM education,” so the president will probably use him as an example of what STEM does and what it means for the future, especially if the United States is to remain competitive. Obama could also take this opportunity to discuss the importance of training kids in computer programming at a young age, so America can stay on top and so kids can be ready for the jobs of the future.

SEE ALSO: Obama Supports Marriage Equality In Prop. 8 Case


The First Lady will also be joined by Carols Arredondo and Jeff Bauman, survivors of the Boston  Marathon Bombing, and Gary Bird - Fire Chief, Moore Fire Department (of Moore, Okla.). These attendees indicate that President Obama may discuss how America, and specifically its cities, can rebound after a horrific event or natural disaster. He could use this as a national rally call because it shows how Americans come together when fellow citizens are in need, which is something the country should be proud of.

If he goes this route, Obama will likely ask for this to continue and could praise the organizations - both out of and in government - that helped during these events, such as the American Red Cross and FEMA. In the same breath, he could link this to the heavy partisanship in the 113th Congress by saying that Congress should not let partisanship should not getting in the way of helping people, just like the American people did not let their differences get in the way of helping Boston and Moore.

This can be related to the extension of unemployment insurance and the need for Congress to extend them.

Veteran Aid

Because the United States fought two wars in the Middle East for a long time and because the War in Afghanistan is winding down, there are many disabled veterans at home. Retired U.S. Army Ranger Sgt. First Class Cory Remsburg and his father, Craig, will join Michelle Obama. Cory Remsburg is a disabled veteran. The White House says that Craig and his wife act as his son’s caretakers. This indicates that the president will touch on better care for disabled veterans and easier access to treatment by doing more to ease the backlog of claims at the VA and by making mental health treatment easier to access. He could also use this as a transition to discussing the amount of unemployed veterans and that employers should hire more veterans.

College Affordability

An issue the Administration has pushed to the forefront in 2014 is college affordability and the accessibility of college to students from lower income families. Estiven Rodriguez will also join the First Lady and may be referenced in the Address because, according to the White House, he “attended an event at the White House on expanding college opportunity.”

Immigration Reform

The president will likely call on Congress to pass a bill that overhauls immigration and includes a pathway to citizenship. Cristian Avila, 23, is a “Core Faster” DREAMer and a Voter Engagement Coordinator for Mi Familia Vota who is pushing for immigration reform. The president may say that people who have been here for so long and who have been working hard, such as Avila, should be able to become a legal Amercian.

Affordable Care Act?

Some debated about whether the Affordable Care Act would be discussed because it gives Republicans a target in their rebuttal. It appears as though, despite the blowback that could come, Obama will discuss the healthcare law, because Governor Steve Beshear of Kentucky will also be in the First Lady’s box.

Kentucky’s healthcare exchange, Kynect is one of the country’s most successful and can serve as a good example of what the exchanges do.


Women in the Military

A few of the president's military guests suggest Obama will discuss his Administration’s attempt to end sexual assaults in all branches of the service. Sexual assaults in the military has frequently been in the news recently. He could also delve into corruption in the Navy and what action will be taken to ensure such a scandal does not happen again.

Gun Control

Another issue on the national stage is gun control. This is something the Administration and Democrats all over the country have been pushing. It appears that President Obama will renew his call for Congressional action because Antoinette Tuff will be in the chamber in the First Lady’s box. According to the White House, “prevented a shooting at Ronald E. McNail Discovery Learning Academy….”


See Neon Tommy's Complete Coverage of the State of The Union Address 2014 here.

Reach Senior Reporter Max Schwartz here; follow him Twitter here.



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.