tv 2015 State of the Union Address CSPAN January 20, 2015 9:00pm-10:01pm EST
mr. vice president, members of congress my fellow americans. we we are 15 years into this new century. wth terror fifteen years of dawn touching unfo our shores that unfolded with a new generation fighting too long and costly wars that saw vicious recession spread across the nation and the world. it has been and still is a hard time for many. but tonight we turn the page. tonight after a breakthrough year for
america, our economy is growing and creating jobs at the fastest pace since 1999. [applause]
[cheers] [cheers] [applause] president obama: the on employment rate is now lower than it was below the financial crisis. more of our kids are graduating more than ever before and more of our people are insured than ever before. [cheers] [applause] president obama: we are is free from the grip of foreign oil as we have been in the last 30 years. [cheers] [applause] president obama: tonight for the first time since 9/11 our combat mission in afghanistan is
over. [cheers] [applause] president obama: six years ago nearly 180000 american troops served in iraq and afghanistan. today fewer than 15,000 remain. and we salute the kurds and sacrifice of every man and woman in this 9/11 generation who have served to keep the faith. we are humbled and grateful for your service. [cheers] [applause] [cheers] [applause] [cheers] [applause] president obama: america, for
all we have endured all the grit and hard work wired to come back, for all of the tasks that lie ahead, notice. the shadow of crisis has passed and the state of the union is strong. [cheers] [applause] [cheers] [applause] president obama: at this moment a growing economy shrinking deficits, bustling industry, booming energy production. we have risen from a session freer to write our own future than any other nation on earth. it is now up to us. we must choose who we want to be over the next 15 years and for decades to come. will he accept an economy where only a few or a select few of us
do extremely well? or will we make chances for everyone in america? [applause] will we approach the world fearfully, or set our standards, or will we lead wisely using all elements of our power to defeat new threats and protect our planet. will we allow ourselves to be sorted in the fascist and turned against one another or will we be captured the sense of american purpose that has always propelled america forward? in two weeks i will send this congress a budget. told with ideas that are practical, not partisan. and then i will crisscross the country making a case for those
ideas. so tonight i want to focus less on a checklist of proposals and focus more on the values of state and the choices before us. it begins with our economy. seven years ago rebekah erler and her husband then were newlyweds in minneapolis. she waited tables and he worked construction. their first child was on the way. they were young and in love in america and it doesn't get much better than that. and if only we had known when rebecca wrote to me last spring was about to happen as the
crisis worsen. her husband to quit jobs that he could find, even if it kept him on the road for a long stretch of a time. rebekah took out student loans and enrolled in community college and retrained for new career. they sacrificed for each other and slowly it paid off. they bought their first home they had a second son henry, rebekah got a better job and then he raised, ben is back in construction and is home for dinner every night. it is amazing rebekah wrote to me, what you can bounce back from when you have to. we are a strong tightknit family who has made it through some very hard times. we are a strong tightknit family who has made it through some very hard times. america, the story of rebekah
and ben is our story. they represent the millions who have worked hard and scrimped and sacrificed and retooled. you are the reason that i ran for this office. you are the people that i was thinking of six years ago today in the darkest months of the crisis when i stood on the steps of this capitol and promised that we would rebuild the economy on a new foundation. it has been your resilience and effort that has made it possible for our country to emerge stronger. we believed that we could reverse the tide of outsourcing and draw new jobs to our shores. over the past five years our businesses have created more than 11 million new jobs. [applause] [applause]
[applause] president obama: we believe that we can reduce our dependence on foreign oil and protect our plants. today america is number one in oil and gas america is number one in wind power and every three weeks we are bringing on board as much solar power as we did in 2000 and eight. and thanks to lower gas prices and higher fuel standards the typical family this year should save about $750 at the pump area [applause] [applause] president obama: we believe we can prepare our kids for a more competitive world. today our younger students have earned the highest math and reading scores on record. the high school graduation rate has hit an all-time high. more americans finished college than ever before. [applause]
[applause] we believe that regulations can prevent another crisis, shield families from ruin and encourage their competition. today we have new tools to stop taxpayer-funded bailouts and watchdog programs to protect from predatory lending and reduce credit card practices and in the past year alone, about 10 million uninsured americans finally gained the security of health coverage. [cheers] [applause] [applause] [cheers] president obama: every step, we were told that our goals are misguided or too ambitious and that we would explode deficits. but instead we have seen the fastest economic growth in over
a decade. the deficit is cut by two thirds a stock market that has doubled and health care inflation at its lowest rate in 50 years. [cheers] [applause] [applause] president obama: this is good news, people. [applause] [laughter] [applause] [cheers] president obama: the verdict is clear. middle-class economics works. expanding opportunities works. these policies will continue to work, as long as politics do not get in the way. we cannot slow down businesses or put our economy at risk for government shutdowns or physical showdowns. we cannot put the securities of
families at risk by taking away their health insurance or unraveling the new rules on wall street. or fighting again past battles on immigration when we need to fix a broken system. and if the bill comes to try to do any of these things, i will veto it. it will have earned my veto. [cheers] [applause] [applause] president obama: today thanks to a growing economy, the recovery is touching more and more lives. wages are finally starting to rise again. we know that more small business owners plan to raise their employees pay than at anytime since 2007. but here's the thing. those of us here tonight we need to set our sights higher than making sure that government doesn't screw things up. that the government doesn't halt
the progress that we are making. we need to do more than do no harm. tonight, together let's do more of to restore the link between hard work and growing opportunity for every american. [applause] [applause] [applause] president obama: families like that of rebekah and ben still need our help. they are working harder than ever, but they have had to forgo vacations and new cars so that they can pay off student loans and pay for retirement. friday night pizza is a big splurge. basic childcare for jack and henry cost more than their mortgage and almost as much as a year at the university of
minnesota. like millions of hard-working americans rebekah is not asking for a handout, but she is asking that we look for more ways for families to get ahead. and every moment of economic change throughout our history this country has taken bold action to adapt to new circumstances and to make sure that everyone gets a fair shot. we set up worker protections social security, medicare, medicaid to protect ourselves from the harshest adversities. we gave our citizen schools and colleges, infrastructure and the internet. tools that they needed to go as far as their efforts and their dreams will take them. that is what middle-class economics is. the idea that this country works best when everyone gets their fair shot. everyone does their fair share. everyone plays by the same set of rules.
[cheers] [applause] president obama: we don't just want everyone to share in american success, but we want everyone to contribute to our success. [applause] [applause] president obama: what does middle-class economics for wire in our time? first middle-class economics means of helping working families feel more secure in a world of constant change. that means helping folks afford child care and college health care and a home. retirement as well. my budget will address each of these issues. lowering the taxes of working families and putting thousands of dollars back into their pockets each year. [applause] president obama: here is one example. during world war ii, when men
like my grandfather went off to war, having women like my grandmother was a nationals purity priority. so this country provided universal child care. in today's economy when having both parents in the work force is an economic necessity for many families we need affordable and high-quality childcare more than ever. [applause] [applause] [applause] it's not nice to have, it is a must-have. it is time that we stop treating childcare is a side issue. or as a women's issue. we need to treat it like the national economic priority that it is for all of us.
[applause] [applause] president obama: that is why my plan will make quality child care available and more affordable for every middle-class and low-income families with young children in america. creating new cuts and tax laws up to $2000 per year. and here is another example. today we are the only advanced country on earth that doesn't guaranteed paid sick leave or paid maternity leave to our workers. 43 million workers have no paid sick leave. 43 million. think about that. that forces too many parents to make the gut wrenching choice between a paycheck and a sick kid at home. i will be taking new action to help states adopt paid leave law in their own home states.
let's put it to a vote right here in washington. let's give every worker in america the opportunity to earn seven days of paid sick leave. it is the right thing to do. it is the right thing to do. [applause] [applause] president obama: of course nothing helps families make ends meet like higher wages. that is why this congress still needs to pass a law that makes sure that a woman is paid the same as a man for doing the same work. [cheers] [applause] president obama: it is 2015. it is time and we still need to make sure that employees get the
overtime that they earn. and everyone who refuses to raise the minimum wage, i say this. if you believe you can support a family on less than $15,000 per year try it. we have millions of the hardest working people. [cheers] [applause] [cheers] [applause] president obama: these ideas won't make everybody rich. it will not relieve every hardship. that is not the job of government. to give working families a fair shot, we still need more employers to see beyond next quarter's earnings and recognize that investing in the work or citizen or company's long-term interest. we still need the loss that
strengthen rather than weaken unions and give american workers a voice. [cheers] [applause] president obama: but, you know, -- things like child care and sick leave and equal pay things like lower mortgage premiums and higher minimum wage these ideas will make a meaningful difference in the lives of millions of families. that is a fact. that is what all of us republicans and democrats alike were sent here to do. to make sure that folks keep earning higher wages down the road, we have to do more to help americans upgrade their skills. [applause] president obama: america thrives in the 20th century because we made high school free.
we spent sent a generation of gis to college and trained the best workforce in the world. we were ahead of the curve. but other countries caught on and in a 21st century economy that rewards knowledge like never before, we need to up our game and we need to do more. by the end of this decade, two in three job openings will wire some higher education. two in three and yet we live in a country where too many bright and striving americans are placed out of the education that they need. it is not fair to them and it is certainly not smart for our future. that is why i am sending a congress a bold new plan the first two years of college to zero. [cheers] [applause]
and keep in mind that 40% of our college students choose community college. some are young and some are starting out and some are looking for a better job and some are veterans and single parents trying to transition back into the job market. this is your chance to graduate ready for the new economy without a load of debt. understand that you have to earn it. you have to keep your grades up and graduate on time. tennessee is a state with republican leadership and chicago a city with democratic leadership is showing that free community college is possible area i want to spread that idea all across america. that two years of college becomes as free and universal in america as high school is today. [applause]
[applause] let's stay ahead of the curve herriot and i want to make sure that those already burdened with student loans can reduce their debt so it doesn't derail anyone's dream. thanks to the great work of vice president biden we are training workers to fill high-paying jobs like coding in nursing and robotics. tonight i am asking more businesses to follow the lead of companies like cvs health and ups and offer more paid apprenticeships and educational benefits, opportunities that give them a chance to earn higher paying jobs even if they don't have a higher education. and as a new generation of veterans comes home, we owe them every opportunity to live the american dream that they help to defend.
we have already made strides towards ensuring that every veteran has access to the highest quality care we are slashing the backlogs that have too many veterans waiting years to get the benefits that they need and making it easier for them to translate training and experience into civilian jobs. joining forces, the national campaign launched by michelle and joe biden. think you, michele, thank you mrs. biden. it has helped nearly 7000 veterans and military individuals get a new job. [applause] [applause] [applause] president obama: so that every individual in america if you want someone to get the job done right, hire a veteran.
[cheers] [applause] [cheers] [applause] president obama: as we train our workers better, we need the new economy to turn out the high wage jobs for the workers to fill. in
2010 america put more people back to work than europe and japan, and all advanced economies combined. [applause] [cheers] president obama: manufacturing has added almost a hundred thousand new jobs. some like our auto industries are booming, but there're their others of millions of americans who work in jobs that didn't even exist 10 or 20 years ago. companies like dougal, you gay and tesla. so no one knows for certain which industries will which industries wienera generate the future. but we want them here in
america. we know that. and that is why the third part of the middle-class economics is all about obeying the most competitive economy anywhere. a place where businesses want to locate and higher. that includes modern ports stronger bridges faster trains, and the fastest internet. democrats and republicans agree on this. and so let's set our standards higher. let's make this country stronger for decades to come. [cheers] [applause] president obama: let's do it let's get it done.
[cheers] [applause] president obama: let's get it done. twenty-first century businesses, including small businesses, need to sell more american products overseas. today our businesses export more than ever and it is paying the workers higher wages. as we speak china wants to write the rules for the world's fastest-growing region. that would put our workers and our businesses at a disadvantage. we should write those rules. we should level the playing field. that is why i am trying to protect american workers with strong new trade deals that are not only free but also fair because it is the right thing to do. [cheers] [applause]
look, i am the first one to admit that the past trade deals haven't always lived up to the hype and that is why we have gone after countries that have been breaking the rules at our expense. but 95% of the world's customers live outside of our borders. we cannot close ourselves off from those opportunities. more than half of the manufacturing executives have said that they are actively looking to bring jobs act from china. let's give them one more reason to get it done. twenty-first century businesses will rely on american science and technology research and development. i want the country that illuminated polio to lead a new era of medicine and delivers right treatment at the right time.
[cheers] [applause] president obama: some patients who have cystic fibrosis this has reversed a disease that was once thought unstoppable. i am introducing an initiative that will bring us closer to curing diseases like cancer and diabetes and giving all of us the access that we need. [cheers] [applause] i intend to protect the free and open internet. extend its reach to every classroom in every community. and help them build the fastest networks so that the next generation of digital innovators and entrepreneurs have the platform to keep reshaping our work. i want americans to brings new
jobs, converting sunlight into liquid fuel creating revolutionary prosthetics, so that a veteran who gave his limbs for his country can play catch with his kids again. [applause] pushing out into the solar system. not just to visit, but going to space. last month we launched the new spacecraft that will send american astronauts to mars. in two months to prepare us for those missions, scott kelly will begin a year-long stay in space. so good luck to the captain. make sure to instagram it. [applause] [applause] [applause] [applause]
president obama: the truth is when it comes to issues like the structure and basic research, i know that there is bipartisan support. members of both parties have told me so. we too often run under the rocks is when we have to pay for these investors. as americans we do not mind paying our fair share of taxes as long as everyone else does too. but for far too long lobbyists have rigged the tax loopholes while others pay a lot and others pay nothing. tonight we have middle-class families. this year we have an opportunity to change that. let's close the loopholes so we stop rewarding companies that keep profits abroad and reward those that invest here in america.
[applause] [cheers] [applause] president obama: let's use those savings to rebuild our infrastructure and bring jobs home. let's simplify the system and let a small business owner file based on the actual bank statement as to what he or she can afford. [applause] [applause] let's close the loopholes that lead to inequality by allowing the top 1% to avoid paying taxes on their accumulated wealth. we can use that money to help more families pay for child care. to send our kids to college. we need a tax code that truly helps working americans try to get a leg up in a new economy are you he can achieve that together. [applause] we can achieve it together. [applause]
president obama: helping hard-working families make ends meet. hitting them the tools that they need for good paying jobs in this new economy. maintaining the conditions of growth and competitiveness. this is where america needs to go. i believe it is where the american people want to go. it will make our economy stronger a year from now 15 years from now deep into the century ahead. and of course if there is one thing that this century has taught us, we cannot separate our work from challenges beyond our shores. my first duty as commander in chief is to defend the united states of america. in doing so the question is not -- in and doing so the question is not whether america leads in the world but how. what we make rash decisions reacting to the headlines instead of using our heads when
the first response to a challenge is to send in our military, we risk getting the broader strategy that we need for a safer and more prosperous world. that is what our enemies want us to do. i believe in a smarter kind of american leadership. we lead best when we combine oteri power with strong diplomacy. when we leverage our power with coalition building. when we don't let our fears blind us to the opportunities. that is exactly what we are doing right now and right now it is making a difference around the world. first we stand united with people around the world who has been targeted by terrorists from pakistan to france, we will continue to hunt down terrorists
and we reserve the right to act unilaterally as we have done and to take out terrorists that have been posing a direct threat to our allies. [applause] [applause] at the same time, we have learned some coffee lessons over the last 13 years. instead of americans patrolling the valleys of afghanistan we have trained their security forces who have now taken the lead. we have honored our troops sacrificed by supporting that country's first democratic transition. instead of sending large ground forces overseas we are partnering with nations from south asia to north africa to deny safe haven to terrorists that threaten. in iraq and syria, american leadership including our military power is stopping the fans of isil.
instead of getting dragged into another war in the middle east, we are leading to destroy the terrorist groups. [applause] we are also supporting a moderate opposition in syria that can help us in this effort and assisting people everywhere to stand up to the bankrupt ideology of violent extremism. and this effort will take time. it will require focus. but we will succeed. tonight i call upon this congress to show the world that we are united in this mission by passing a resolution to authorize the use of force against isil. we need that authority. [applause] second we are demonstrating the power of american strength and diplomacy. we are upholding the principles of bigger nations that we cannot bully the small by opposing
aggression and supporting the ukraine democracy and reassuring the nato allies. [applause] [applause] last year as we were doing the hard work of imposing sanctions along with our allies as we were reinforcing our presence with the front-line states, mr. putin's aggression was a masterful display of strategy and strength that is what i heard from some folks. but today it is america that stands strong while russia is isolated with its economy in tatters. that is how america leads. with persistence and resolve. [applause]
[applause] president obama: in cuba we are ending a policy that was long past its expiration date. [cheers] [applause] [cheers] [applause] president obama: when what you are doing doesn't work for 50 years, it is time to start something new. and our shift in the cuba policy has the potential to end a legacy of mistrust in our hemisphere and remove the phony excuse for restrictions in cuba standing up for democratic values and extends the hand of friendship to the cuban people. this year congress should begin the work of ending the embargo. [applause] as was said by a pope francis
diplomacy is the work of small steps. these small steps have added up to new hope for the future of cuba. after years in prison, we are overjoyed that alan gross is back at home where he belongs. welcome back we are glad that you are here. [cheers] [applause] [cheers] [applause] president obama: are diplomacy is at work with respect to iran where for the first time they have halted its nuclear program and reduce its stockpile of nuclear material. between now and this spring, we have a chance to negotiate a comprehensive agreement that prevents a nuclear armed iran, secures america and allies
including israel, while avoiding another middle east conflict. there are no guarantees that negotiations will succeed. and i keep all options on the table to prevent a nuclear iran. but new sanctions passed by this congress at this moment in time will all but varity the diplomacy fails. making it harder to maintain sanctions and ensuring that iran starts of that nuclear program again. it doesn't make sense. that is why i will veto any sanctions put forth to undo this new progress. [applause] the american people expect us only to go to war as a last resort. i intend to stay true to that wisdom. third, we are looking beyond the
issues that have consumed us in the past to shape the coming century. no foreign nation, no hacker should be able to shut down our networks and steal our trade secrets or invade the privacy of american families, especially our kids. [applause] [applause] president obama: we are making sure that our intelligence prevents any threats, just as we have done to combat terrorism. i urge the congress to pass the legislation that we need to meet the threats of cyberattacks and protect our information and our children's information. that should be a bipartisan effort. and if we don't act we will
lead our economy to be vulnerable. if we do we can continue to protect the technology is for untold opportunities around the globe. from west africa, our troops and our scientists are doctors and nurses and health care workers are rolling back ebola and stopping the spread of disease. [applause] i could not be prouder of them. and i think this congress for the bipartisan support of their efforts. the job is not yet done, and the world needs to use this lesson to build a more effective mobile effort to prevent the spread of future pandemics and invest in smart development and eradicate extreme poverty. in the asia pacific, we are modernizing alliances and making sure that other nations play by the rules. in how they trade, how they resolve maritime disputes how
they participate in meeting common international challenges like nonproliferation. as well as disaster relief. no challenge poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change. [applause] [applause] >> 2014 was the planets warmest year on record. one year doesn't make a trend but this does. fourteen of the 15 warmest years on record have all fallen in the first 15 years of this century. so i have heard some folks trying to dodge the evidence by saying that they are not scientists and we don't have enough information yet. well, i am not a scientist
either. but you know what reign i know a lot of really good scientists at noaa and nasa and the major universities, and the best scientists are all telling us that our activities are changing the climate and if we don't act or slowly we will continue to see rising oceans and hotter heat waves and droughts and floods and massive disruptions that can trigger greater migration and conflict around the globe area and the pentagon says that the climate change poses immediate risk to our national security and we should act like it very and and that is why -- [applause] that is why over the past six years we have done more than ever to combat climate change from the weight we way that we produce energy to the way that we use it. and that is why we set aside
more public lands and waters than any administration in history. that is why i will not let this congress endanger the health of our children by turning back the clock on our efforts. i am determined to make sure that american leadership drives international actions. [applause] [applause] in beijing we made an announcement. the united states will double the pace at which we cut carbon pollution and because the world's two largest economies came together, other nations are now stepping up. they are offering hope that this year the world will finally reach an agreement to protect the one planet that we've got. and there is one last pillar of our leadership. that is the example of our values. as americans, we respect human
dignity even when we are threatened, which is why i have prohibited torture and worked to make sure that our use of protect elegy and drones is properly constrained. and that's why we speak out against the anti-semitism that has resurfaced in certain parts of the world. it is why we continue to reject offensive stereotypes of muslims and the vast majority of whom share our commitment to peace. and that is why we defend free speech and advocate for political prisoners and condemn the persecution of women or my gordy's or those that are gay or bisexual or transgender. we do this not only because they are the right things to do that because ultimately they will make us safer. [applause]
[cheers] [applause] as americans we have a profound commitment to justice. so it makes no sense to spend $3 million per prisoner to keep open a prison that the world has condemned and terrorists used to recruit. since i have been president we have work responsibly to cut the population of gitmo in half. i will not relent in my determination to shut it down it is time to close gitmo. [applause] as americans we cherish our civil liberties and we need to uphold that commitment if we want maximum cooperation from other countries in our fight against other terrorist
networks. some have moved on from the debates over our surveillance programs, i have not. as promised intelligence agencies have worked hard with the recommendations of privacy advocates, increased transparency building safeguards against potential abuse. next month we will issue a report as to how we are keeping our country safe and strengthening progress. looking to the future instead of the past. and we are making sure that we match our power with diplomacy and use force rightfully. building coalitions and opportunities. leading always with the example of our values. and that is what makes us exceptional. that is what keeps us strong and that is why we have to keep striving to hold ourselves to the highest standards. our own.
just over a decade ago, gave a speech about how there is not a liberal america were a conservative america a black america or a white america, but a united states of america. and i say this because i have seen it in my own life. in a nation they gave someone like me a chance, because i grew up in hawaii, the melting pot of racism and customs and i made illinois my home. a state of small towns and rich farmlands and the world's great cities. and a microcosm of a country where democrats and republicans and independents and everybody shares certain bedrock values. we have pointed out more than
once some have said that my president efforts have not sufficed. but we tell them that they're not just many. but also there is proof that the vision is misguided. naïve. but there are too many people in this town who actually benefit from gridlock for us to any about it. and so i know it is tempting, but i think that the cynics are wrong and i believe that we are one people. and i still believe that together we can do great things, even when the odds are wrong.