President Obama: ‘This Can Be a Breakthrough Year for America’
In President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, he said that 2014 could be “a breakthrough year for America.”
The president called for lawmakers to work together this year.
“The question for everyone in this chamber, running through every decision we make this year, is whether we are going to help or hinder this progress," he said.
Still, he said he will take executive actions if Congress will not work with him.
“America does not stand still – and neither will I,” he said. “So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do.”
Among this year’s executive actions is Obama’s plan to raise the minimum wage for federally contracted workers to $10.10. He called on Congress to do the same to the federal minimum wage and asked business owners to increase wages for their employees. “Give America a raise,” he urged.
The president also stressed equality in the workplace for women, saying that women still make 77 cents for every dollar that a man earns. “A woman deserves equal pay for equal work … It’s time to do away with workplace policies that belong in a ‘Mad Men’ episode,” he said.
Obama called on Congress to help small businesses and entrepreneurs by opening “new markets to new goods stamped ‘Made in the USA.’”
He also touched on ObamaCare, which he said has helped millions of Americans. “Now, I don’t expect to convince my Republican friends on the merits of this law,” he quipped. “But I know that the American people aren’t interested in refighting old battles.”