tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN January 20, 2015 10:00pm-12:01am EST
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hasn't delivered on this vision. how ironic, they say, that our politics seems more divided than ever. it's held up as proof not just of my own flaws of which there are many, but also as proof that
the vision itself is misguided and naive, and that there are too many people in this town who actually benefit from partisanship and gridlock for us to ever do anything about it. i know how tempting such cynicism may be. but i still think the cynics are wrong. i still believe that we are one people. i still believe that together, we can do great things, even when the odds are long. [applause] i believe this because over and
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over in my six years in office i have seen america at its best. i've seen the hopeful faces of young graduates from new york to california, and our newest officers at west point annapolis, colorado springs, and new london. i've mourned with grieving families in tucson and newtown; in boston, west, texas, and west virginia.
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optimistic in bighearted generation -- generosity who every day live the idea that we are our brothers keeper in our sisters keeper. i know they expect those of us who serve here to set a better example so the question for those of us here tonight is how we all of us, can better reflect america's hopes. i have served in congress with many of you. i know many of you well. there are a lot of good people here on both sides of the aisle. many of you have told me that this is not what you signed up for. arguing asked each other on cable shows, the constant fundraising, always looking over your shoulder at how -- at the
reaction for every decision. imagine if we look at of these tired old patterns. a matter -- imagine if we did something
business -- different. understand - a better politics isn't one where democrats abandon their agenda or republicans simply embrace mine. a better politics is one where we appeal to each other's basic decency instead of our basest fears. a better politics is one where we debate without demonizing each other; where we talk issues, and values, and principles, and facts, rather than "gotcha" moments, or trivial gaffes, or fake controversies that have nothing to do with people's daily lives. [applause] a better politics is one where we spend less time drowning in dark money for ads that pull us into the gutter, and spend more time lifting young people up
with a sense of purpose and possibility,
and asking them to join in the great mission of building america. if we're going to have arguments, let's have arguments - but let's make them debates worthy of this body and worthy of this country. we still may not agree on a woman's right to choose, but surely we can agree it's a good thing that teen pregnancies and abortions are nearing all-time lows, and that every woman should have access to the health care she needs. [applause]
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yes, passions still fly on
immigration, but surely we can all see something of ourselves in the striving young student, and agree that no one benefits when a hardworking mom is taken from her child, and that it's possible to shape a law that upholds our tradition as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. that is something we can share. we may go at it in campaign season, but surely we can agree that the right to vote is sacred, that it's being denied to too many; and that, on this 50th anniversary of the great march from selma to montgomery and the passage of the voting rights act, we can come together, democrats and republicans, to make voting easier for every single american. we may have different takes on the events of ferguson and new york. but surely we can understand a father who fears his son can't walk home without being harassed. surely we can understand the
wife who won't rest until the police officer she married walks
through the front door at the end of his shift. surely we can agree it's a good thing that for the first time in 40 years, the crime rate and the incarceration rate have come down together, and use that as a starting point for democrats and republicans, community leaders and law enforcement, to reform america's criminal justice system so that it protects and serves us all. -- all of us. [applause] that's a better politics. that's how we start rebuilding trust. that's how we move this country forward. that's what the american people want. that's what they deserve. i have no more campaigns to run.
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i know, because i won both of them. [applause] [laughter] my only agenda for the next two years is the same as the one i've had since the day i swore an oath on the steps of this capitol -- to do what i believe is best for america. if you share the broad vision i outlined tonight, join me in the work at hand. if you disagree with parts of it, i hope you'll at least work with me where you do agree.
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and i commit to every republican here tonight that i will not only seek out your ideas, i will seek to work with you to make this country stronger. [applause] because i want this chamber, this city, to reflect the truth -- that for all our blind spots and shortcomings, we are a people with the strength and generosity of spirit to bridge divides, to unite in common effort, and help our neighbors whether down the street or on the other side of the world. i want our actions to tell every child, in every neighborhood: your life matters, and we are as committed to improving your life chances as we are for our own kids. [applause] i want future generations to
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know that we are a people who
see our differences as a great gift, that we are a people who value the dignity and worth of every citizen -- man and woman young and old, black and white latino and asian, immigrant and native american, gay and straight, americans with mental illness or physical disability. i want them to grow up in a country that shows the world what we still know to be true: that we are still more than a collection of red states and blue states; that we are the united states of america. [applause] i want them to grow up in a country where a young mom like rebekah can sit down and write a letter to her president with a story to sum up these past six
years: "it is amazing what you can bounce back from when you have to...we are a strong, tight-knit family who has made it through some very, very hard times." my fellow americans, we too are a strong, tight-knit family. we, too, have made it through some hard times. fifteen years
into this new century, we have picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves off, and begun again the work of remaking america. we've laid a new foundation. a brighter future is ours to write. let's begin this new chapter - together - and let's start the work right now. thank you, god bless you, and god bless this country we love. thank you. [applause]
we also welcome our listeners on c-span radio heard coast-to-coast on xm channel 120. here is speaker john boehner. what purpose from -- does the derailment from california arise? >> i moved that the message of the president be referred on the committee of the house and ordered printed. >> i move the house do now adjourned. >> those in favor indicate by saying aye. the house stands adjourned until 10 a.m. tomorrow morning for debate. >> the house has recessed for the evening, back tomorrow morning. reaction to what you heard by the president. tomorrow he travels to boise idaho to continue his discussion
on community colleges, one aspect of what was a one-hour address. joseph from spokane washington. republican line. good evening. what did you here tonight? >> i liked some of the talking points the president had. however, some of the things he said about -- brought up questions, the statistics he gave. >>host: some of the economic data he gave. more people employed. i was wondering in percentage terms how these things play out. and that his talking point on making community college free for every american. i had a question on how that would play out, whether that would be left up to the states as he mentioned chicago in tennessee have programs working towards that. >> the president will unveil his budget plan on february 2 and we are told the details will come
out in the blueprint. on her facebook page we have -- our facebook page we have a wordle. our line for independents. host: go ahead. caller: the president made some statement that there was -- this was his last election and there was some grumbling from the right. i thought you might have a guest on that could comment about the public sentiment that gets promulgated by entertainers by rush -- like rush limbaugh and bill marr -- maher and how that
affects public perception. i guess i will leave it at that. host: the president making that at the comment that he knows he won those two elections but the politics saying that the country is better than the divided policy takes -- politics in washington, d.c.. we have two minutes left so a quick comment on the president speech tonight. caller: i have always voted republican but they need to get together. i do not want to vote for any republican who did not stand up when he mentioned to pay for women. i would like to see any of them live under 20,000 or $25,000 a year. host: and you are a republican,
correct? caller: mm-hmm. host: and this. you ca follow usn -- you can follow us @cspan. senator ernst coming to you in about 45 seconds. quick comment from jared. caller: i heard a lot of great things about talking about science and nasa and as a scientist i can appreciate the president's position on expanding nasa's role. i know there is a lot of great people that will do very good science and it is exciting to see someone looking at the
future instead of the past. host: thank you. the entire speech has been posted on our website. you can watch at any time at c-span.org. you're looking at a live view of the capital as the president and vice president departing and heading back to the white house and here's the republican response. >> good evening. i am joni ernst. as a mother, a soldier and a newly elected senator from the great state of iraq, i am proud to speak with you -- iowa i am practiced with you tonight. we heard the president lay out his vision for the year to come. if we may not always agree, it is important to hear different points of view in this great country. we appreciate the president sharing his. tonight, rather than respond to a speech, i would like to talk about your priorities. i would like to have a conversation about the new
republican congress you just elected and how we plan to make washington focus on your concerns again. we heard the message you sent in november lot and clear. and now we are getting to work to change the direction washington has been taking our country. the new republican congress also understands how difficult these past six years have been. for many of us the sting of the economy and the frustration with washington's dysfunction one of these we had to read about. we fed -- felt them every day. we felt them in red oak. the little town in southwestern iowa where i grew up in am still proud to call home. as a young girl, icloud the fields of our family farms, i worked construction with my dad to save for college, i made -- worked the morning biscuit line
at hardee's. we were raised to live simply not to waste. it was a lesson my mother taught me every rainy morning. you see, growing up, i had only one good pair of shoes. on rainy school days my mom would slip plastic bread bags over them to keep them dry but i was never embarrassed because the school bus would be filled with rows and rows of young iowans with bread bags slipped over their feet. our parents may not have had much but they worked hard for what they did have. these days, many families feel like they are working harder and harder with less and less to show for it. not just in red oak but across the country. we see our neighbors agonize over stagnant wages and lost jobs. we see the hurt caused by
canceled health care plans and higher monthly insurance bills. we see too many moms and dads put their own dreams on hold while growing more fearful about the kind of future they will be able to leave to their children. americans have been hurting but when we demanded solutions too often washington responded with the same stale mindset that led to failed policies like obamacare. it is a mindset that gave us political talking points, not serious solutions. that is why the new republican majority you elected started by reforming congress to make it function again. and now, we're working hard to pass the kind of serious job creation ideas you deserve. when you have heard about is the keystone jobs bill. president obama has been delaying this bipartisan
infrastructure project for years . even though many members of his party unions, and a strong majority of americans supported. the president's on state department has said keystone's construction could support thousands of jobs and pump billions into the economy and do it with minimal environmental impact. we worked with democrats to pass this bill through the house. we are doing the same now in the senate. president obama will soon have a decision to make. will he sign the bill or block good american jobs? there is a lot we can achieve if we work together. let's tear down trade barriers and -- in places like europe and the pacific. let's sell more of what we make and grow in america over there so we can boost manufacturing
wages and jobs right here at home. let's verify america's outdated and loophole-written tax code. republicans think tax filing should be easier for you. not just the well-connected. let's iron out loopholes to lower rates and create jobs, not pay from our government spending. the president has already expressed some support for these kinds of ideas. we're calling on him now to cooperate to pass them. you will see a lot of serious work in this new congress. some of it will occur where i stand tonight in the armed services committee room. this is where i will join committee colleagues republicans and democrats to discuss ways to support our exceptional military and its mission. this is where we will debate
strategies to confront terrorism and the threats posed by al qaeda isil, and those radicalized i them. threats like these cannot be wished away. we have been reminded of terrorism's reach both at home and abroad. most recently in france and nigeria, but also in places like canada and australia. our hearts go out to all the innocent victims of terrorism and their loved ones. we can only imagine the depth of their grief. for two decades, i've proudly worn our nation's uniform: today, as a lt. colonel in the iowa army national guard. while deployed overseas with some of america's finest men and women, i've seen just how dangerous these kinds of threats can be.
the forces of violence and oppression don't care about the innocent. we need a comprehensive plan to defeat them. we must also honor america's veterans. these men and women have sacrificed so much in defense of our freedoms, and our way of life. they deserve nothing less than the benefits they were promised and a quality of care we can be all be proud of. these are important issues the new congress plans to address. we'll also keep fighting to repeal and replace a healt h care law that's hurt so many hardworking families. we'll work to correct executive overreach. we'll propose ideas that aim to cut wasteful spending and balance the budget with meaningful reforms, not higher taxes like the president has proposed. we'll advance solutions to prevent the kind of cyberattacks we've seen recently.
we'll work to confront iran's nuclear ambitions. and we'll defend life, because protecting our most vulnerable is an important measure of any society. congress is back to work on your behalf, ready to make washington focus on your concerns again. we know america faces big challenges. but history has shown there's nothing our nation, and our people, can't accomplish. just look at my parents and grandparents. they had very little to call their own except the sweat on their brow and the dirt on their hands. but they worked, they sacrificed, and they dreamed big dreams for their children and grandchildren. and because they did, an ordinary iowan like me has had
some truly extraordinary opportunities because they showed me that you don't need to come from wealth or privilege to make a difference. you just need the freedom to dream big, and a whole lot of hard work. the new republican congress you elected is working to make washington understand that too. and with a little cooperation from the president, we can get washington working again. thank you for allowing me to speak with you tonight. may god bless this great country of ours, the brave americans serving in uniform on our behalf, and you, the hardworking men and women who make the united states of america the greatest nation the world has ever known. >> from the senate armed
services committee room, one of three senate office buildings just about a block from the u.s. capitol, the oldest of those three senate buildings. a live view of the u.s. capitol which continues to be under construction. the dome that will be finished in time for the inauguration of our next president in january 2017. the president back to the white house and our phone lines are open. the line for republicans (202) 737-0002 and four democrats (202) 737-0001 and independence (202) 628-0205.
let's go to art joining us on the independent line. good evening. caller: i was surprised that he took 45 minutes to talk about terrorism. i do not know -- he lives in a bubble so he was -- he has a lot. i am disappointed. i hope that we can get someone next time i will do a better job. host: who did you vote for? caller: it was obama. host: thanks for joining us. what did you think? caller: we need to be careful about not reading too much into what he said.
there is no glory in creating thousands of animal wage jobs for people in poverty. the key is to lift people out of poverty. there was a very little focus on the anxiety of like americans regarding their children's safety from corrupt police departments. an unjust and illegal system that unfairly targets and black man. he hinted about it, he did not speak much about it, and this is what is going to be one of the greatest problems facing the next president because this is not going anywhere. i could go on but i will not say too much. the last thing i want to say is the only thing new that we have to look forward to will be free community college for students but what about these of the kids that have a mountain of debt that just graduated from college that he was talking about? there you go. host: thanks for the call.
next is bryce. plenty of motorcades. let's go to bryce. caller: i appreciated what he said about [inaudible] but more i appreciated how he said black, white, hispanic, gay, straight, if you have mental illness in the future how you have to come together and it is hard to know the chapter. host: thanks for the call. the transportation secretary was the one person not in attendance for tonight's state of the union address. sam from new york city independent line. good evening. caller: i am concerned with the state of trade relations
especially with the transportation partnership. that got a good amount of coverage. i am concerned about he coasted as favorable to american workers and not as a giveaway for corporate america. host: x for the call. we will go to alan. republican line. caller: after the serious drubbing the democrats got in the midterm election, expected the president to eat just a little bit of crow tonight. i think every other president has faced the same situation has done so and i did not hear anything like that from the president at all. the second point is the president made a point about people getting the overtime pay that they have earned and i would suggest that giving overtime pay to military folks who work over 40 hours a week in
particular enlisted military those are the ones who are out there getting their hands dirty and getting shot for every hour they were, maybe you should add doubletime for weekends and a night premium. host: this is the president's motorcade. the earlier motorcade that headed out was not the president. he is a short distance from capitol hill back to the white house. tomorrow, he travels to idaho and kansas following up to what was a preview of the state of the union address as he's -- he discussed cyber security and wages and community college. thanks for phoning in. caller: good evening. i am very excited by the president's state of the union address and i would have liked to hear him talk about more about job security now that
employment has gone down. i would like to hear what policies are going to be in place to help people to hold onto the jobs they have an people who are having a difficult time finding work in the economic climate. when things are getting better how can they participate, how can they get the help that seems to be elusive to them? host: thanks for the call. we are getting reaction from members of congress who were inside the house chamber. you can see a large contingent of reporters and members of congress speaking to local and regional media as well as the cable networks getting different spin on the speech. you can watch all of that as well on our companion network c-span2.
and this. a quote following up. on our line for independents. good evening. caller: i agree with the president when he says we have to focus on ways of getting america back to the international level trade stage but i disagree that it is with products or actual exports of goods. if we are going to focus on a modern 21st century economy and being relevant we have got to look at services, export services. that would not just revamped the economy on the global scale but address some of the issues with outsourcing. that is the key. a lot of services are being
outsourced including telephone services, things of that nature. we need to get out of the old 19th and 20th century. america -- made in america does not have to be stamped on a product, it can be stamped on a service. what did you hear tonight, anything that stood out? caller: thank you for taking my call. the republican from iowa, she did make a comment that said you do not need to come from wealth and privilege to understand what is right for this country. i wanted to let everyone know that i am a first-generation american so i do understand what it means to build from nothing, to come to something that you can be proud of. host: where are you from? caller: i am from columbus,
ohio. host: you said you are first-generation. caller: my family is from haiti. my mother and father were both born in haiti and my brother and i were both born in this country so we are first-generation american. host: when else did you here tonight? caller: i do not want us to hold each other back. we need to let go of old ways of thinking and embrace where we are as a country today and where we are going. we need to continue to salute our troops and their sacrifices and embrace where our future is headed. i also wanted to say that we still have some much ahead of us. history is proving we can be judgmental of our leaders and history proved that differently. i just hope that in the next two years we can keep focus and hold tight to our values despite party lines, to continue to grow
our country and our future generations because there is a lot of hope for us and there is so much we can accomplish and like the president said tonight we need to stop owing against party lines and grow and there is so much potential for us. we have so much that we can do. host: coming up in 15 minutes, a chance to watch the state of the union and its integrity. his remarks run one hour. last year it was one hour and five minutes. 52 million americans tuned in last year. the white house released in advance the entire copy of the speech. there were videos that were put together in advance. from our twitter page, there is this from mj.
on our facebook page we took one extra from the president speech when he said i have no more campaigns to run. i know i won both of them. here is what some of you have been saying about that remark. it reminds me of why i voted for him twice. >> i have no more campaigns to run. my only agenda -- [applause] >> i know, because i won both of them. [applause] [laughter] host: that was an ad lib.
comment and it is getting a lot of play on twitter. you can share your thoughts about that and anything else you heard tonight on our twitter page at c-span. we will go to kansas city, missouri. republican line. caller: good evening. how are you doing? this is one of the best i have seen obama do in a long time. host: why is that? caller: i heard in 2008 2012 that wa one ofs the best speeches i have heard. i am a republican but also i'm not a conservative but i appreciate the work that he did
and --[indiscernible] he done a great job tonight. thank you. host: the president traveling tomorrow to idaho. and the two-year college education. the vice president meeting with them to follow-up on some of the specifics from the state of the union address. that will happen on thursday at the white house. patrick is joining us, independent line. caller: i thought that republican -- that rebuttal he gave was great. i have not seen him him
improvise -- seen him improvise in a long time. he tried to work different ways about lifting the embargo on cuba. i'm a libertarian and i am happy to see that after 50 years of doing something the wrong way. we are getting our act together and opening up trade with a country that has been important since our inception. we have been doing the same thing in afghanistan and iraq and the middle east as a whole. and we're getting the same results. every 10 years we go into a country and there is a repercussion, some blowback. he even mentioned how he was using drones responsibly and the idea killing hundreds and thousands. host: what was your take on what
joni ernst had to say? caller: i lost faith in the republican party ever since ron paul was mistreated in both elections but i feel if she was in office and she was in power she would be doing the exact same thing. one thing i've learned over my time in politics is both parties, both support the w arfare state. they are the same party but just a different stripe. if she was presidency would be during the same thing with germ warfare and middle eastern politics. you notice when he said we will continue this foreign policy he got a standing ovation from both sides of the aisle. it seems to be the only thing they are in union with. host: thanks for calling. you're looking at the scene inside capital. statuary hall.
members speaking to reporters who are on hand and you can watch what we are doing live on c-span2. welcome to the program. caller: hi there. i had a response i would like to give to joni ernst's speech. she spent a lot of time talking about terror and she really well should have but she mentioned the tragedies in france in nigeria and other places around the globe that -- but she neglected the bombing that took place right here in the united states. ignoring the arming of the naacp headquarters in colorado is not only show an enormous lack of insight about the state of our union right now but it puts a massive spotlight on the republican kinship with white supremacist movement. it was committed by a white guy
and the privilege of not having that listed in sense of terror -- there are public needs to end this disgusting repulsion they have to technology the biggest terror threats are white males and they need to realize that something needs to be done about it. host: this is from one of our viewers who says veto veto, veto. on the republican line, we will go to barry. why did you here tonight from the president? caller: i was unimpressed. i -- maybe i am a little old school but to me, i universally paid even community college really takes away the initiative out of the student.
maybe again back in my era we had to work our way through college, our parents did not provide and we found a way to get through college. for those that have nothing that are flat broke potentially, there should be some help, but i think we have to be cautious and judicious on how we are referring that money out and not just from a budgetary standpoint but what it does or does not do for the recipient. host: what about his focus on raising the minimum wage? caller: raising the minimum wage again, i am of the opinion that really, you're free to move on. move on to another job that pays you. and get the skills you need. look for those who can be mentors who can help you and help you buttress your skills and his think in this country there is so many helpful
americans that can stand by those who really are not reaching their potential that they do not need to rely on minimum wage. host: thanks for the call from torrents, california. the president started working on this speech after labor day and gathering his speechwriters and advisors toward the latter part of september. the first real draft came about a week and a half ago and then a lot of tweaking over the last 10 days by the president and his chief speechwriter. you have a chance to see the entire speech in
about five minutes. he talked about race relations and the incident in ferguson, missouri and its impact on race issues in this country. >> we may have different takes on the events of ferguson and new york. but surely we can understand a father who fears his son cannot walk home without being harassed .
and surely, we can understand the wife who will not rest until the police officer she married
walks through the front door at the end of his shift and surely, we can agree that it is a good thing that for the first time in 40 years, the crime rate and the incarceration rate have come down together and use that as a starting point for democrats and republicans, community leaders and law enforcement, to reform america's criminal justice system that it and serves all of us. [applause] host: race relations in america part of the domestic basket as the white house calls it. domestic foreign policy, and trying to break the political stalemate here in washington. patrick is joining us from the bronx in new york. independent line. what did you here tonight? >> caller: i liked how he talked
about the middle class and how -- and supporting the economy. host: let's go to robert democrat's line. caller: just curious about joni ernst enters -- her $1000 suit. and i noticed john boehner the majority leader and his $2000 suit and $1000 shirt and tie. am i paying for that out of my tax money to have that pressed every day of the week? caller: host: what makes you think you paid for the suit and
[indiscernible] host:caller: i can't believe they have an unlimited spending budget in washington except for the president of the united states. host: thanks for the call. we're turning the page. he talked about the domestic issues he wants to prioritize in the last two years of office. good evening. caller: thank you for taking my call. i appreciate your coverage and how you allow us to be the analysts. a couple comments, he is a very good speaker, he did a good job very clear and he kept our attention. i like the line better politics and coming together. clearly, our leaders need to find places to agree and work together.
good talk on the economy and jobs although i really do not think that sticking it to the rich, the job creators is the way to help the economy. he was talking about a man that will be spending a year in space. i am curious to find out how that goes. on terrorism, some good points he made on that but he talked about not sending in the military. if anyone attacks are people at home or abroad, i think we need to see it a swift response like 9/11. and [indiscernible] thank you. host: thanks for the call. we do want to hear from you and you provide the analysis on we heard this evening. this is from another viewer. our last call comes from harley.
caller: good evening. thank you. my thoughts are -- i think they need to amp up the va hospital's for when they return. my nephew has been sent over and over back to afghanistan. he is now suffering from ptsd, and still -- i think they need to do more research. host: ok. thanks for the call. it is now 11:00 in washington and 8:00 on the west coast. in case you missed it, we want to re-air the speech for west coast viewers. his remarks run about an hour. some pomp and pageantry before
the state of the union address. following his remarks, we will be back live with your calls and comments. tomorrow morning on "washington journal," a full three hours with your comments. we will check in with congressional leadership to get their thoughts on what you heard. again, from earlier this evening, the president of the united states and the state of the union address. >> mr. speaker the president of , the united states. [applause] [applause]
president of the united states. [applause] ♪ >> thank you. thank you so much. mr. speaker, mr. vice president, members of congress, my fellow americans. we are fifteen years into this new century. fifteen years that dawned with terror touching our shores -- that unfolded with a new generation fighting two long and costly wars, that saw a vicious recession spread across our 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] our unemployment rate is now lower than it was before the financial crisis. more of our kids are graduating than ever before. more of our people are insured than ever before. [applause]
we are as free from the grip of foreign oil as we've been in almost 30 years. [applause] tonight, for the first time since 9/11, our combat mission in afghanistan is over. [applause] six years ago, nearly 180,000 american troops served in iraq and afghanistan. today, fewer than 15,000 remain. and we salute the courage and sacrifice of every man and woman in this 9/11 generation who has served to keep us safe. we are humbled and grateful for your service. [applause]
america, for all that we've endured, for all the grit and hard work required to come back, for all the tasks that lie ahead, know this -- the shadow of crisis has passed, and the state of the union is strong. [applause] at this moment - with a growing economy, shrinking deficits, bustling industry, and booming
energy production - we have risen from recession freer to write our own future than any other nation on earth. it's now up to us to choose who we want to be over the next fifteen years, and for decades to come. will we accept an economy where only a few of us do spectacularly well? or will we commit ourselves to an economy that generates rising incomes and chances for everyone who makes the effort? [applause] will we approach the world fearful and reactive, dragged into costly conflicts that strain our military and set back our standing? 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 into factions and turned against one another - or will we recapture the sense of common purpose that has always propelled america forward? in two weeks, i will send this congress a budget filled with ideas that are practical, not partisan. and in the months ahead, i'll 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 at stake in the choices before us. it begins with our economy. seven years ago, rebekah and ben erler of minneapolis were newlyweds. [applause] [laughter] she waited tables. he worked construction. their first child, jack, was on
the way. they were young and in love in america, and it doesn't get much better than that. "if only we had known," rebekah wrote to me last spring, "what was about to happen to the housing and construction market.” as the crisis worsened, ben's business dried up, so he took what jobs he could find, even if they kept him on the road for long stretches of time. rebekah took out student loans enrolled in community college, and retrained for a 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 a raise. ben is back in construction and home for dinner every night.
"it is amazing," rebekah wrote "what you can bounce back from when you have to. we are a strong, tight-knit family who has made it through some very, very hard times.” we are a strong, tight-knit family who has made it through some very, very hard times. america, rebekah and ben's story is our story. they represent the millions who have worked hard, and scrimped and sacrificed, and retooled. you are the reason i ran for this office. you're the people 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 we would rebuild our economy on a new foundation. and it's been your effort and resilience that has made it possible for our country to emerge stronger.
we believed we could reverse the tide of outsourcing, and draw new jobs to our shores. and over the past five years our businesses have created more than 11 million new jobs. [applause] we believed we could reduce our dependence on foreign oil and protect our planet. and today, america is number one in oil and gas. america is number one in wind power. every three weeks, we bring online as much solar power as we did in all of 2008. and thanks to lower gas prices and higher fuel standards, the typical family this year should save $750 at the pump. [applause]
we believed we could prepare our kids for a more competitive world. and today, our younger students have earned the highest math and reading scores on record. our high school graduation rate has hit an all-time high. more americans finish college than ever before. [applause] we believed that sensible regulations could prevent another crisis, shield families from ruin, and encourage fair competition. today, we have new tools to stop taxpayer-funded bailouts, and a new consumer watchdog to protect us from predatory lending and abusive credit card practices. and in the past year alone about ten million uninsured americans finally gained the security of health coverage. [applause]
at every step, we were told our goals were misguided or too ambitious, that we would crush jobs and explode deficits. instead, we've seen the fastest economic growth in over a decade, our deficits cut by two-thirds, a stock market that has doubled, and health care inflation at its lowest rate in fifty years. [applause] this is good news, people. [laughter] [applause]
so the verdict is clear. middle-class economics works. expanding opportunity works. and these policies will continue to work, as long as politics don't get in the way. we can't slow down businesses or put our economy at risk with government shutdowns or fiscal showdowns. we can't put the security of families at risk by taking away their health insurance, or unraveling the new rules on wall street, or refighting past battles on immigration when we've got to fix a broken system. and if a bill comes to my desk that tries to do any of these things, i will veto it. it will earn my veto. [applause] 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 any time since 2007. but here's the thing - those of us here tonight, we need to set our sights higher than just making sure government doesn't screw things up. halt the progress we're making. we need to do more than just do no harm. tonight, together, let's do more to restore the link between hard work and growing opportunity for every american. [applause] because families like rebekah's still need our help.
she and ben are working as hard as ever, but have to forego vacations and a new car so they can pay off student loans and save for retirement. friday night pizza, that is a big splurge. basic childcare for jack and henry costs more than their mortgage, and almost as much as a year at the university of minnesota. like millions of hardworking americans, rebekah isn't asking for a handout, but she is asking that we look for more ways to help families get ahead. in fact, at every moment of economic change throughout our history, this country has taken bold action to adapt to new circumstances, and to make sure everyone gets a fair shot. we set up worker protections social security, medicare, and medicaid to protect ourselves from the harshest adversity.
we gave our citizens schools and colleges, infrastructure and the internet - tools they needed to go as far as their effort will take them. that's what middle-class economics is - the idea that this country does best when everyone gets their fair shot, everyone does their fair share everyone plays by the same set of rules. [applause] we don't just want everyone to share in america's success - we want everyone to contribute to our success. [applause] so what does middle-class economics require in our time? first - middle-class economics means helping working families feel more secure in a world of constant change. that means helping folks afford
childcare, college, health care, a home, retirement -- and 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] here's one example. during world war ii, when men like my grandfather went off to war, having women like my grandmother in the workforce was a national security priority - so this country provided universal childcare. in today's economy, when having both parents in the workforce is an economic necessity for many families, we need affordable high-quality childcare more than ever. [applause]
it's not a nice-to-have, it's a must-have. it's time we stop treating childcare as a side issue, or a women's issue, and treat it like the national economic priority that it is for all of us. [applause] and that's why my plan will make quality childcare more available, and more affordable for every middle-class and low-income family with young children in america - by creating more slots and a new tax cut of up to $3,000 per child, per year. [applause] here's another example. today, we're the only advanced country on earth that doesn't guarantee paid sick leave or
paid maternity leave to our workers. 43 million workers have no paid sick leave. 43 million. think about that. and that forces too many parents to make the gut-wrenching choice between a paycheck and a sick kid at home. so i'll be taking new action to help states adopt paid leave laws of their own. and since paid sick leave won where it was on the ballot last november, let's put it to a vote right here in washington. send me a bill that gives every worker in america the opportunity to earn seven days of paid sick leave. it's the right thing to do. it's the right thing to do. [applause] of course, nothing helps families make ends meet like higher wages. that's why this congress still needs to pass a law that makes sure a woman is paid the same as a man for doing the same work.
[applause] it's 2015. it's time. we still need to make sure employees get the overtime they've earned. and to everyone in this congress who still refuses to raise the minimum wage, i say this -- if you truly believe you could work full-time and support a family on less than $15,000 a year, go try it. [applause] if not, vote to give millions of the hardest-working people in america a raise. [applause]
these ideas won't make everybody rich, won't relieve every hardship. that's 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 their workforce is in their company's long-term interest. we still need laws that strengthen rather than weaken unions, and give american workers a voice. [applause] but things like child care and sick leave and equal pay, things like lower mortgage premiums and a higher minimum wage - these ideas will make a meaningful difference in the lives of millions of families. that is a fact. and that's what all of us -
republicans and democrats alike - were sent here to do. second, to make sure folks keep earning higher wages down the road, we have to do more to help americans upgrade their skills. [applause] america thrived in the 20th century because we made high school free, sent a generation of gi's to college, and trained the best workforce in the world. we were ahead of the curve. but other countries caught on. in a 21st century economy that rewards knowledge like never before, we need to up our game. we need to do more. by the end of this decade, two in three job openings will require some higher education. two in three. and yet, we still live in a country where too many bright, striving americans are priced out of the education they need. it's not fair to them, and it's
sure not smart for our future. that's why i am sending this congress a bold new plan to lower the cost of community college to zero. [applause] forty percent of our college students choose community college. some are young and starting out. some are older and looking for a better job. some are veterans and single parents trying to transition back into the job market. whoever you are, this plan is your chance to graduate ready for the new economy, without a load of debt. understand, you've got to earn it - you've got to keep your grades up and graduate on time. tennessee, a state with
republican leadership, and chicago, a city with democratic leadership, are showing that free community college is possible. i want to spread that idea all across america, so that two years of college becomes as free and universal in america as high school is today. [applause] let's stay ahead of the curve. and i want to work with this congress, to make sure americans already burdened with student loans can reduce their monthly payments, so that student debt doesn't derail anyone's dreams. [applause] thanks to vice president biden's great work to update our job training system, we're connecting community colleges with local employers to train workers to fill high-paying jobs like coding, and nursing, and robotics. tonight, i'm also asking more businesses to follow the lead of
companies like cvs and ups, and offer more educational benefits and paid apprenticeships opportunities that give workers the 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 they helped defend. already, we've made strides towards ensuring that every veteran has access to the highest quality care. we're slashing the backlog that had too many veterans waiting years to get the benefits they need, and we're making it easier for vets to translate their training and experience into civilian jobs. joining forces, the national campaign launched by michelle and jill biden, thank you michelle, thank you jill, has helped nearly 700,000 veterans and military spouses get new jobs. [applause]
so to every ceo in america, let me repeat -- if you want somebody who's going to get the job done, hire a veteran. [applause] finally, as we better train our workers, we need the new economy to keep churning out high-wage jobs for our workers to fill. since 2010, america has put more people back to work than europe, japan, and all advanced economies combined. [applause] our manufacturers have added
almost 800,000 new jobs. some of our bedrock sectors, like our auto industry, are booming. but there are also millions of americans who work in jobs that didn't even exist ten or twenty years ago - jobs at companies like google, and ebay, and tesla. so no one knows for certain which industries will generate the jobs of the future. but we do know we want them here in america. [applause] we know that. [applause] that's why the third part of middle-class economics is about building the most competitive economy anywhere, the place where businesses want to locate and hire. 21st century businesses need 21st century infrastructure - modern ports, stronger bridges faster trains and the fastest
internet. democrats and republicans used to agree on this. so let's set our sights higher than a single oil pipeline. let's pass a bipartisan infrastructure plan that could create more than thirty times as many jobs per year, and make this country stronger for decades to come. let's do it. get it done. [applause] let's get it done. [applause] 21st century businesses, including small businesses, need to sell more american products overseas. today, our businesses export more than ever, and exporters tend to pay their workers higher wages. but as we speak, china wants to write the rules for the world's fastest-growing region. that would put our workers and businesses at a disadvantage. why would we let that happen? we should write those rules.
we should level the playing field. that's why i'm asking both parties to give me trade promotion authority to protect american workers, with strong new trade deals from asia to europe that aren't just free, but fair. the right thing to do. [applause] look, i'm the first one to admit that past trade deals haven't always lived up to the hype, and that's why we've gone after countries that break the rules at our expense. but 95% of the world's customers live outside our borders, and we can't close ourselves off from those opportunities. more than half of manufacturing executives have said they're actively looking to bringing jobs back from china. let's give them one more reason
to get it done. 21st century businesses will rely on american science, and technology, research and development. i want the country that eliminated polio and mapped the human genome to lead a new era of medicine - one that delivers the right treatment at the right time. [applause] in some patients with cystic fibrosis, this approach has reversed a disease once thought unstoppable. tonight, i'm launching a new precision medicine initiative to bring us closer to curing diseases like cancer and diabetes and to give all of us access to the personalized information we need to keep ourselves and our families healthier. we can do this. [applause]
i intend to protect a free and open internet, extend its reach to every classroom, and every community, and help folks build the fastest networks, so that the next generation of digital innovators and entrepreneurs have the platform to keep reshaping our world. i want americans to win the race for the kind of discovered that unleash new jobs. converting sunlight into liquid fuel. creating revolutionary prostatic's so a veteran who gave his arms for his country can play catch with his kids again. pushing out into the solar system, not just to visit to stay. last month, we launched a new spacecraft as part of a and that will send an american astronaut to mars. in two months, to prepare for the missions, scott kelly will begin a year-long stay in space.
good luck, captain. be sure to instagram it. we are proud of you. [applause] now the truth is, when it comes to issues like infrastructure, i know there is bipartisan support. members of both parties have told me so. where we too often run into trouble is how to pay for this. we do not mind paying our fair share of taxes as long as everybody else does too. but for too long, lobbyists have rigged the tax code with loopholes that let some corporations pay nothing while others pay full freight.
they riddled it with giveaways that the super-rich don't need. this year, we have an opportunity to change that. let's close loopholes so we stop rewarding companies that keep profits abroad, and reward those who invest in america. [applause] let's use the savings to rebuild our infrastructure and make it more attractive for countries to bring jobs home. let's simplify the system to let a small business owner be able to file based on an actual bank statement instead of the number of accountants she can afford. [applause] let's close the loopholes that lead to inequalities by allowing the top 1% to avoid paying taxes
on but you related wealth. we can use that money to help more families pay for child care. or to send their kids to college. we need a tax code that helps working americans get a leg up. and we can achieve it together. [applause] helping hard-working families make ends meet. giving them the tools they need for good-paying jobs in this new economy. maintaining the conditions for growth and competitiveness. this is where america needs to go. i believe it's where the american people want to go. it will make our economy stronger a year from now, 15 years from now, and deep into the century ahead. of course, if there's one thing this new century has taught us
it's that we cannot separate our work at home 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 whether america leads in the world, but how. when we make rash decisions, reacting to the headlines instead of using= -- instead of using our heads when the first response to a challenge is to send in our military, then we risk getting drawn into unnecessary conflicts, and neglect the broader strategy we need for a safer, more prosperous world. that's what our enemies want us to do. i believe in a smarter kind of american leadership. we lead best when we combine military 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 this new century presents.
that's exactly what we're doing right now - and around the globe, it is making a difference. first, we stand united with people around the world who've been targeted by terrorists - from a school in pakistan to the streets of paris. we will continue to hunt down terrorists and dismantle their networks, and we reserve the right to act unilaterally, as we've done relentlessly since i took office to take out terrorists who pose a direct threat to us and our allies. [applause] at the same time, we've learned some costly lessons over the last thirteen years. instead of americans patrolling the valleys of afghanistan we've trained their security forces, who've now taken the lead, and we've honored our troops' sacrifice by supporting that country's first democratic transition.
instead of sending large ground forces overseas, we're partnering with nations from south asia to north africa to deny safe haven to terrorists who threaten america. in iraq and syria, american leadership - including our military power - is stopping isil's advance. instead of getting dragged into another ground war in the middle east, we are leading a broad coalition, including arab nations, to degrade and ultimately destroy this terrorist group. [applause] we're also supporting a moderate opposition in syria that can help us in this effort, and assisting people everywhere who stand up to the bankrupt ideology of violent extremism. this effort will take time. it will require focus. but we will succeed. and tonight, i call on 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're upholding the principle that bigger nations can't bully the small by opposing russian aggression and supporting ukraine's democracy, and reassuring our nato allies. [applause] last year, as we were doing the hard work of imposing sanctions along with our allies, as we were reinforcing our presence, mr. putin's aggression was a masterful display of strategy
and strength. that's what i heard from some folks. well, today, it is america that stands strong and united with our allies, while russia is isolated, with its economy in tatters. that's how america leads -- not with bluster, but with persistent, steady resolve. [applause] in cuba, we are ending a policy that was long past its expiration date. [applause] when what you're doing doesn't work for fifty years, it's time to try something new. [applause] our shift in cuba policy has the potential to end a legacy of
mistrust in our hemisphere, removes a phony excuse for restrictions in cuba, stands up for democratic values, and extends the hand of friendship to the cuban people. and this year, congress should begin the work of ending the embargo. [applause] as his holiness, pope francis, has said, diplomacy is the work of "small steps." these small steps have added up to new hope for the future in cuba. and after years in prison, we're overjoyed that alan gross is back where he belongs. welcome home, alan. we are glad you are here. [applause]
our diplomacy is at work with respect to iran, where, for the first time in a decade, we've halted the progress of its nuclear program and reduced 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 our allies - including israel, while avoiding yet 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 guarantee that diplomacy fails - alienating america from its allies, making it harder to maintain sanctions, and ensuring that iran starts up its nuclear program again. it doesn't make sense. that is why i will veto any new
sanctions bill that threatens to undo this progress. [applause] the american people expect us to only go to war as a last resort, and i intend to stay true to that wisdom. third, we're 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, steal our trade secrets, or invade the privacy of american families, especially our kids. [applause] we are making sure our government integrates intelligence to combat cyber threats, just as we have done to combat terrorism.
and tonight, i urge this congress to finally pass the legislation we need to better meet the evolving threat of cyber-attacks, combat identity theft, and protect our children's information. that should be a bipartisan effort. [applause] if we don't act, we'll leave our nation and our economy vulnerable. if we do, we can continue to protect the technologies that have unleashed untold opportunities for people around the globe. in west africa, our troops, our scientists, our doctors, our nurses and healthcare workers are rolling back ebola - saving countless lives and stopping the spread of disease. [applause] i couldn't be prouder of them and i thank this congress for your bipartisan support of their efforts.
but the job is not yet done and the world needs to use this lesson to build a more effective global effort to prevent the spread of future pandemics invest in smart development, and eradicate extreme poverty. in the asia pacific, we are modernizing alliances while making sure that other nations play by the rules - in how they trade, how they resolve maritime disputes, and how they participate in meeting common international challenges like nonproliferation and disaster relief. and no challenge, no challenge poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change. [applause] 2014 was the planet's warmest year on record.
now, one year doesn't make a trend, but this does -- 14 of the 15 warmest years on record have all fallen in the first 15 years of this century. i've heard some folks try to dodge the evidence by saying they're not scientists, that we don't have enough information to act. well, i'm not a scientist, either. but you know what - i know a lot of really good scientists at nasa, and noaa, and at our major universities. the best scientists in the world are all telling us that our activities are changing the climate, and if we do not act forcefully, we'll continue to see rising oceans, longer, hotter heat waves, dangerous droughts and floods, and massive disruptions that can trigger greater migration, conflict, and hunger around the globe.
the pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security. we should act like it. [applause] that's why, over the past six years, we've done more than ever before to combat climate change, from the way we produce energy to the way we use it. that's why we've set aside more public lands and waters than any administration in history. and that's 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 american leadership drives international action. [applause] in beijing, we made an historic announcement - the united states will double the pace at which we cut carbon pollution, and china committed, for the first time,
to limiting their emissions. and because the world's two largest economies came together, other nations are now stepping up, and offering hope that, this year, the world will finally reach an agreement to protect the one planet we've got. there's one last pillar to our leadership and that's the example of our values. as americans, we respect human dignity, even when we're threatened, which is why i've prohibited torture, and worked to make sure our use of new technology like drones is properly constrained. [applause] it's why we speak out against the deplorable anti-semitism that has resurfaced in certain parts of the world. it's why we continue to reject offensive stereotypes of muslims -- the vast majority of whom share our commitment to peace. that's why we defend free speech, and advocate for
political prisoners, and condemn the persecution of women, or religious minorities, or people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. we do these things not only because they're right, but because they make us safer. [applause] as americans, we have a profound commitment to justice - so it makes no sense to spend three million dollars per prisoner to keep open a prison that the world condemns and terrorists use to recruit. [applause] since i've been president, we've worked responsibly to cut the population of gitmo in half. now it's time to finish the job. and i will not relent in my determination to shut it down. it's not who we are. 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 and industry in our fight against terrorist networks. so while some have moved on from the debates over our surveillance programs, i have not. as promised, our intelligence agencies have worked hard, with the recommendations of privacy advocates, to increase transparency and build more safeguards against potential abuse. and next month, we'll issue a report on how we're keeping our promise to keep our country safe while strengthening privacy. looking to the future instead of the past. making sure we match our power with diplomacy, and use force wisely. building coalitions to meet new
challenges and opportunities. leading always with the example of our values. that's what makes us exceptional. that's what keeps us strong. and that's why we must keep striving to hold ourselves to the highest of standards - our own. you know, just over a decade ago, i gave a speech in boston where i said there wasn't a liberal america, or a conservative america, a black america or a white america, but a united states of america. i said this because i had seen it in my own life, in a nation that gave someone like me a chance, because i grew up in hawaii, a melting pot of races and customs, because i made illinois my home - a state of
small towns, rich farmland, and one of the world's great cities a microcosm of the country where democrats and republicans and independents, good people of every ethnicity and every faith, share certain bedrock values. over the past six years, the pundits have pointed out more than once that my presidency hasn't delivered on this vision. how ironic, they say, that our politics seems more divided than ever. it's held up as proof not just of my own flaws of which there are many, but also as proof that the vision itself is misguided and naive, and that there are too many people in this town who actually benefit from partisanship and gridlock for us to ever do anything about it. i know how tempting such
cynicism may be. but i still think the cynics are wrong. i still believe that we are one people. i still believe that together, we can do great things, even when the odds are long. [applause] i believe this because over and over in my six years in office i have seen america at its best. i've seen the hopeful faces of young graduates from new york to california, and our newest officers at west point annapolis, colorado springs, and new london. i've mourned with grieving families in tucson and newtown in boston, west, texas, and west virginia. i've watched americans beat back adversity from the gulf coast to the great plains, from midwest assembly lines to the
mid-atlantic seaboard. i've seen something like gay marriage go from a wedge issue used to drive us apart to a story of freedom across our country, a civil right now legal in states that seven in ten americans call home. [applause] so i know the good, and optimistic, and big-hearted generosity of the american people who, every day, live the idea that we are our brother's keeper, and our sister's keeper. and i know they expect those of us who serve here to set a better example. so the question for those of us here tonight is how we, all of us, can better reflect america's hopes.
i've served in congress with many of you. i know many of you well. there are a lot of good people here, on both sides of the aisle. and many of you have told me that this isn't what you signed up for -- arguing past each other on cable shows, the constant fundraising, always looking over your shoulder at how the base will react to every decision. imagine if we broke out of these tired old patterns. imagine if we did something different. understand -- a better politics isn't one where democrats abandon their agenda or republicans simply embrace mine. a better politics is one where we appeal to each other's basic decency instead of our basest fears. a better politics is one where we debate without demonizing each other. where we talk issues, and values, and principles, and
facts, rather than "gotcha" moments, or trivial gaffes, or fake controversies that have nothing to do with people's daily lives. [applause] a better politics is one where we spend less time drowning in dark money for ads that pull us into the gutter, and spend more time lifting young people up with a sense of purpose and possibility, and asking them to join in the great mission of building america. if we're going to have arguments, let's have arguments - but let's make them debates worthy of this body and worthy of this country. we still may not agree on a woman's right to choose, but surely we can agree it's a good thing that teen pregnancies and abortions are nearing all-time lows, and that every woman
should have access to the health care she needs. [applause] yes, passions still fly on immigration, but surely we can all see something of ourselves in the striving young student, and agree that no one benefits when a hardworking mom is snatched from her child, and that it's possible to shape a law that upholds our tradition as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. i've talked to democrats and republicans about that. that is something we can share. we may go at it in campaign season, but surely we can agree that the right to vote is sacred, that it's being denied to too many; and that, on this 50th anniversary of th