President Obama asked lawmakers to work together in his State of the Union address, but said he will make executive actions when needed.

“Let’s make this a year of action,” he said. “That’s what most Americans want – for all of us in this chamber to focus on their lives, their hopes, their aspirations.  And what I believe unites the people of this nation, regardless of race or region or party, young or old, rich or poor, is the simple, profound belief in opportunity for all – the notion that if you work hard and take responsibility, you can get ahead.”

TRANSCRIPT: President Obama's 2014 State of the Union Address

Obama said that corporate profits have soared, but average wages have barely budged. “Inequality has deepened,” he said. “Upward mobility has stalled.”

The president said that some of his proposals to strengthen the middle class will require congressional action, noting, “I am eager to work with you.”

But he said, “America does not stand still – and neither will I.  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.”