Editorial: Obama presents plans, challenge in State of the Union speech
BY World's Editorials Writers
Thursday, February 14, 2013
2/14/13 at 7:04 AM
President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech Tuesday evening sent some clear, though often familiar, messages. One was the request for bipartisanship to finally get some important work accomplished. To which we say, amen.
The president touched on topics such as jobs, housing, education, infrastructure, war and immigration.
He proposed to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $9 and index it to the cost of living, an idea that is not likely to play well in Congress. In 2008, Obama proposed a minimum wage of $9.50 an hour and backed down. Don't expect success with this proposal either.
Interestingly, the president touched on the importance of early childhood education and pointed out the success of such programs in Oklahoma as well as Georgia. He proposed allowing access to a high-quality preschool for all children from families with low or moderate incomes.
Noticeably short on details was the issue of immigration reform. It was encouraging that he insisted that Congress send him an immigration bill "in the next few months."
The most emotional moment came at the end of his speech when, as expected, he proposed a ban on assault weapons and magazines that hold more than 10 rounds and called for background checks for all firearms purchases and increased access to mental health services.
With victims and families of those affected by gun violence - including the parents of the 15-year-old girl who recently was killed in Chicago, parents of children killed in Newtown, Conn., and former Rep. Gabby Giffords - he demanded that Congress owes them a vote on the gun issue.
"Americans don't expect government to solve every problem," Obama said. "They do expect us to forge reasonable compromise where we can."
That declaration seems to be supported by his re-election and the overall disgust with the partisan logjam in Congress.
Still, it will be up to the president to also compromise. He won't get all he wants and neither will Congress. There are good ideas on both sides that can keep this country moving forward.
It's time to break the gridlock. It's time to listen, challenge and accept compromise. The country is clearly ready. Is Washington?
Original Print Headline: Union's state