Missed President Obama’s State of the Union address yesterday? No worries. From education reform to jobs and gun control to gender equality, here are highlights on the issues we care about the most.
1. On Minimum Wage
President Obama proposes to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $9 by the end of 2015 and increase it with inflation. This means a 24 percent raise for an employee working 40 hours a week. “Tonight, let’s declare that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty, and raise the federal minimum wage to $9.00 an hour. This single step would raise the incomes of millions of working families,” he said.
2. On Gun Control
Obama proposed to ban assault weapons and ammunition magazines with more than 10 rounds. He also wants to increase access to mental health services and require background checks for all firearms purchases. Holding back tears, the President urged Congress to vote on a new series of gun control laws. “They deserve a vote,” he said. “Gabby Giffords deserves a vote. The families of Newtown deserve a vote. The families of Aurora deserve a vote. The families of Oak Creek, and Tucson, and Blacksburg, and the countless other communities ripped open by gun violence, they deserve a simple vote.”
3. On Education
President Obama said he wants to “resdesign America’s high schools” by developing new partnerships with colleges and employers, adding 10,000 science and math teachers, building better school buildings and creating classes that focus on science, technology, engineering, and math. He also want to provide access to preschool for children from low and moderate income families. “I propose working with states to make high-quality preschool available to every child in America,” he said.
4. On Women’s Rights
“We know our economy is stronger when our wives, mothers, and daughters can live their lives free from discrimination in the workplace, and free from the fear of domestic violence,” said Obama, noting the Violence Against Women Act. “Today, the Senate passed the Violence Against Women Act that Joe Biden originally wrote almost 20 years ago. I urge the House to do the same. And I ask this Congress to declare that women should earn a living equal to their efforts, and finally pass the Paycheck Fairness Act this year.”
5. On the Afghan War
President Obama said there may be minimal reduction in warfare spending but the United States “will maintain the best military the world has ever known.” The commander in chief declared that the 12-yearlong war in Afghanistan will come to an end in 2014. “Tonight, I can announce that over the next year, another 34,000 American troops will come home from Afghanistan. This drawdown will continue. And by the end of next year, our war in Afghanistan will be over,” he said.
Clutchettes, what issues do you care about most?