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Here’s a little secret about Obama’s State of the Union

First Published      Last Updated Jan 22 2014 01:31 pm
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In 2013, Obama told Congress: "Send me a comprehensive immigration reform bill in the next few months, and I will sign it right away."

The Senate last year passed a comprehensive, bipartisan bill that addressed border security, provided enforcement measures and offered a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million immigrants living in the United States illegally. In the House, the move stalled as Republican leaders, pressed by tea party conservatives, demanded a more limited and piecemeal approach.

Recent signs have raised expectations, however. House Speaker John Boehner plans to issue a statement of principles summing up still-undefined goals for changing immigration laws. Some Democrats appear willing to accept legislation that gives immigrant workers in the U.S. illegally official status to remain in the country, even if it doesn't specify a path to citizenship.



In 2013 Obama told Congress: "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."

Following the December 2012 elementary school shooting in Newtown, Ct., Obama proposed sweeping gun control measures. But the toughest proposals, including stricter background checks, failed in the Senate. The House did not even take them up.

Eventually, Obama took executive action to strengthen federal background checks for gun purchasers, with a focus on limiting people with mental health issues from getting access to firearms.



In 2013, Obama told Congress: "I urge this Congress to get together, pursue a bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change, like the one John McCain and Joe Lieberman worked on together a few years ago. But if Congress won't act soon to protect future generations, I will."

He did.

Obama launched a major second-term drive to combat climate change, bypassing Congress as he imposed first-ever limits on carbon pollution from new and existing power plants. The plan aims to help move the United States from a coal-dependent past into a future fired by cleaner sources of energy such as wind and solar power, nuclear energy and natural gas.

Obama also has ordered the federal government to use renewable sources for 20 percent of its electricity by 2020 — nearly triple the current level.

Moreover, the White House announced in December that John Podesta, a former chief of staff under President Bill Clinton, will join Obama's inner circle, focusing on energy and climate change policies that Obama can advance on his own.



In 2013 Obama told Congress he would launch three manufacturing hubs, where businesses would partner with the Departments of Defense and Energy to crate global centers of high-tech jobs. "And I ask this Congress to help create a network of 15 of these hubs and guarantee that the next revolution in manufacturing is made right here in America," he added.

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