Everything You Need To Know About Last Night’s State Of The Union Address

1/29/14 12:44PM EST

Everything You Need To Know About Last Nights State Of The Union Address Everything You Need To Know About Last Nights State Of The Union Address

screen shot via YouTube/ The White House

President Obama gave his annual State of the Union address Tuesday evening, returning to the messages of hope and change that first got him elected. He called for 2014 to be a “year of action” and vowed to move America forward despite Congressional roadblocks.

“America does not stand still and neither will I,” he said. “So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do.”

Following Obama’s theme for getting things done, here are some of Obama’s main goals as laid out in yesterday’s speech:

  • Job creation. He’s kept his focus on a still-struggling economy and is aware that there’s still a lot of work to be done.
  • Workplace equality. As Obama put it, “Women deserve equal pay for equal work.”
  • Tech boosts. He called for a boost to the tech sector that would allow for greater creativity and improved technology.
  • Increased wages for federal contractors. This is something he promised to do on his own, and in fact it’s one of the few steps he can take to boost the economy without Congressional intervention or approval.
  • Higher minimum wage. He’s calling for a national minimum wage of $10.10 per hour, about 40 percent more than the current minimum of $7.25.
  • Fixing the healthcare system. He knows Obamacare had a rocky start, and he wants to fix it. He wants to cut costs and increase options for people who need health coverage.
  • Immigration reform. Obama and Republicans have differing views on how to improve immigration laws, but he’s hopeful they can get things done.
  • Surveillance. He wants changes in the infamous NSA surveillance program, a topic he touched on earlier this month. His goal is to ensure that the “privacy of ordinary people is not being violated.”
  • Climate change. Global warming is a fact, and it needs to be combated. To this end, Obama wants to end subsidies to the fossil fuel industry and reallocate that money toward green energy.
  • Gun control. He’s still calling for stricter gun control and more restrictions to firearms access.
  • Peace. Obama wants Guantanamo Bay shut down for good. He also stated that all U.S. troops are now home from Iraq, and that all troops are scheduled to be out of Afghanistan by the end of the year.

President Obama took the opportunity to praise Sgt. First Class Cory Remsburg, an Army Ranger left badly wounded by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. The incident blinded him in one eye and left him having to relearn how to walk. The visibly wounded Sgt. Remsburg sat next to first lady Michelle Obama during the speech yesterday and received a prolonged standing ovation, nearly stealing the show.

A preliminary poll suggests Obama’s speech was a hit. In a CNN/ORC International poll, 76 percent of respondents said they had a very positive or somewhat positive response to the speech, while only 22 percent said they didn’t like it at all.

Watch the full State of the Union address below:


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