WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama has used his fifth State of the Union address to tell lawmakers that he’s still willing to work with Congress. But Obama said he’ll sidestep obstructionist lawmakers “whenever and wherever” necessary to reduce the wage gap between rich and poor.
One executive action he’ll take is to increase the minimum wage for some federal contract workers to a minimum of $10.10.
The president called on Democrats and Republicans in the House to follow the Senate’s lead and approve an overhaul of immigration laws. He called on them to pass legislation this year.
He also addressed foreign policy. He said any U.S. troops that remain in Afghanistan after 2014 will only help continue to train Afghan forces and carry out counterterror operations against extremists.
Obama also said negotiations to limit Iran’s nuclear program will be difficult and may not succeed. However, he warned Congress that any new economic sanctions against Tehran while the discussions are ongoing will be vetoed.
In response to Obama’s address, Republican Congressman Todd Rokita had this to say:
“I hope that the president would have admitted that many of his policies have failed and demonstrate leadership by leadership by changing course. Unsurprisingly, given his arrogance on Obamacare and most other policy questions, he said none of those things. Instead of solutions, we heard the same divisive rhetoric that’s become so routine that’s become so routine from his administration and have listen to the President recycle the same tired ideas that have lead this economic malaise.”