10 Things to Know about the State of the Union


Graham Powell and Elizabeth Black , Staff Reporter

  1. Veterans being ensured a job when they return home

President Obama wants to eliminate veteran unemployment because he believes that nobody who risked their life for their country should have to struggle through poverty.

  1. Free community college plan

The president wants to pass an initiative to make community college “as free and universal in America as high school.” Two years of free community college without pay would be available to students who attend the school at least half time and maintain a 2.5 GPA.

  1. Raising Minimum Wage

President Obama once again signaled his support for a raise in the federal minimum wage.  He believes that this will help part-time workers who are struggling to make ends meet.  He also believes that nobody who works full time should have to live in poverty.

  1. Childcare expenses

The President wants to expand federal subsidies for childcare for low and middle-income families with children under the age of three.

  1. Combatting global warming

“No challenge poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change,” Obama said in his speech. These strong words show that environmental issues will be a priority during the last two years of his administration.

  1. Equal Pay for men and women

The president once again stated his support for closing what he and democrats call the pay gap by passing a bill requiring men and women to be paid equally for equal work. However, he faces stiff opposition because of the fact that the 1963 Equal Pay Act already prevents pay discrimination based on gender.

  1. Paid Maternity Leave

President Obama wants women to receive full pay while they are on maternity leave, citing the fact that the U.S. is the only developed country in the world without it.

  1. President Obama plans to Veto the Keystone XL pipeline bill

The bill to construct the Keystone XL pipeline, widely expected to pass the House and Senate with bipartisan support, will be vetoed by the president should it reach his desk.

  1. Raising taxes on the wealthy and cutting them for the middle class

The president says he is raising the capital gains tax and the estate tax (also known as the death tax) in order to pay for tax cuts for lower and middle class families who have children. He wants to make sure everyone “pays their fair share.”

  1. 1st State of the Union Address since 9/11 to not mention the words “Al Qaeda”

The President did address the current terrorist threats in the world but did not mention the world’s most famous terrorist organization by name.