Key points of President Barack Obama's State of the Union addres - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Key points of President Barack Obama's State of the Union address

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WASHINGTON -

President Barack Obama delivered the first State of the Union address of his second term Tuesday at the Capitol in Washington.

READ: Text of the State of the Union address

Here are some of the key points of his address:

Doesn't budge on offer of cuts, taxes

President Barack Obama is telling congressional Republicans that he is still willing to reduce the deficit but only with a mix of increased taxes and reduced spending, an offer he made during budget talks that collapsed at the end of last year. Republicans say they reject raising more tax revenue.
 
In his State of the Union speech Tuesday night, Obama is reiterating his proposal to reduce spending by $900 billion and increase taxes by $600 billion through a tax overhaul. The combined $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction would also reduce government payments on the debt. Obama intends to use some of those savings to pay for initiatives meant to create jobs.
 
The $900 billion in cuts include reductions of $400 billion in spending on Medicare and other health care programs.

More checks for gun buyers

President Barack Obama is emphasizing the need for more background checks for gun buyers in his State of the Union address, saying that overwhelming majorities of Americans favor the proposal as a way to keep firearms from criminals.

Obama said Tuesday night that senators from both parties are working on legislation to prevent people from legally buying guns and then giving them to criminals.

He said police chiefs want lawmakers to ban "weapons of war" and magazines carrying large amounts of ammunition so law enforcement officers won't be outgunned.

The president proposed all those ideas after the December killings of 20 first-graders in Connecticut. But expanded background checks is the only one he described as having vast support - a description that matches public polling and reflects congressional sentiment too.

Access to preschool

President Barack Obama wants all 50 states to provide pre-kindergarten schools for 4-year-olds, a plan that the White House says will result in better prepared students and ultimately a more educated workforce.
 
Obama's plan, unveiled in his State of the Union address Tuesday, would provide federal government support to the states to provide access to preschool for all low- and moderate-income 4-year-olds.
 
Obama also wants the federal government to give the states incentives to provide full-day kindergarten.
 
Obama campaigned in 2008 on a plan for universal pre-school. Advocates say such a plan results in improved student test scores and reduced spending on government assistance programs. Skeptics say that evidence of positive results is limited and that preschool can encourage children to spend less time with their parents.

Minimum wage to $9

President Barack Obama wants an increase in the minimum hourly wage from the current $7.25 to $9 by the end of 2015. Obama also proposes the minimum wage be required to keep pace with inflation.
 
The current rate took effect in 2009. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have higher minimum wage rates than the federal requirement. Washington state's is highest at $9.19.
 
The proposal, which Obama made during his State of the Union address Tuesday, is sure to draw opposition from business groups and congressional Republicans who say higher rates increase costs and reduce employment. The White House says the new wage would raise pay for more than 15 million workers and indirectly help millions more.
 
Obama wants the rate to increase in stages over three years.

Immigration

President Barack Obama is renewing his call for a comprehensive overhaul of the immigration system, telling Congress during his State of the Union address: "Now let's get this done."
 
He asked for a bill in the next few months and pledged to sign it "right away."
 
Obama wants legislation that would create a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S., among other steps.
 
Eight Republican and Democratic senators are working to complete a bill by next month.
 
An aide says the four Democrats in the group - Chuck Schumer of New York, Dick Durbin of Illinois, Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Michael Bennet of Colorado - plan to update Obama on their progress during a meeting at the White House on Wednesday.

Manufacturing

President Barack Obama is launching three manufacturing hubs and is asking Congress to create 15 more that can create locations with partnerships between the private sector and the federal government to create high-tech jobs.
 
The proposal is a central element of Obama's plan to spur manufacturing, which has been a bright spot in the U.S. economy.  Manufacturing expanded at a much faster pace in January compared with December.
 
Obama said the government could help accelerate that trend.
 
He specifically cited companies that are creating jobs in the U.S. that had been overseas, including Caterpillar, Ford, Intel and Apple.
 
He called for continued spending on science and innovation.

Climate change

President Barack Obama is telling Congress that he will take action to combat climate change if lawmakers don't do it themselves.
 
In his State of the Union address Tuesday, the president said Congress should write legislation that would give polluters market-based incentives to reduce the emissions blamed for global warming. He said if lawmakers don't do that, his administration will craft executive actions that would cut pollution, help get communities ready for the effects of climate change and encourage increased use of cleaner sources of energy.
 
Obama says progress can be made against climate change without interrupting economic growth.
 
The president says that with extreme weather getting more intense and increasingly frequent, lawmakers can believe those events are a coincidence or they can act before it's too late.

NKorea nuclear test a 'provocation'

President Barack Obama says North Korea will only achieve the security and prosperity it seeks by meeting its international obligations, not by conducting nuclear tests.
 
Obama called Tuesday's nuclear test by Pyongyang (pyuhng-yahng) a "provocation" and said it will only serve to further isolate North Korea from the rest of the world.
 
Addressing the issue in his State of the Union speech, Obama said the U.S. will stand by its allies in the region, strengthen its own missile defenses and lead the world in taking "firm action" in response to such threats.
 
North Korea's official news agency said the test was carried out to counter what it called "ferocious" U.S. hostility that undermines its peaceful, sovereign right to launch satellites.

Voting

President Barack Obama is creating a commission directed to help improve voting, a reaction to widespread complaints about lengthy waits, growing photo ID requirements and shortened early voting periods.
 
Obama in his State of the Union address said his commission would be non-partisan and said he would ask top lawyers for his re-election campaign and the campaign of 2012 rival Mitt Romney to lead the panel.
 
Obama said that when Americans choose not to vote because they can't wait hours to cast their ballot, "we are betraying our ideals"
 
Congress has also begun to look at voting, with Democrats and Republicans sparring over whether ID laws, attempts to purge voter rolls and restricted early voting were legitimate efforts to stop fraud or mainly Republican strategies to hold down Democratic votes.

Cybersecurity

President Barack Obama is telling Congress to pass legislation that will strengthen the government's ability to protect America's computer networks from attacks from foreign countries, hackers and other enemies.
 
Obama issued his call Tuesday during his annual State of the Union address. He made the remark the same day he signed an executive order that begins the development of voluntary standards to protect crucial industries like banking, power and transportation, and that increases information sharing between government and industry about cyberthreats.
 
The president says America faces a rapidly growing threat from its enemies. He says they are trying to learn how to sabotage the power grid, financial institutions and the air traffic control system.

Green ribbons

Green ribbons dotting the lapels of Democrats and Republicans attending President Barack Obama's State of the Union address were in honor of the 26 students and educators killed at a Connecticut elementary school in December.
 
Vice President Joe Biden's ribbon was most visible to TV viewers as he sat on the dais immediately behind Obama. Sharing the dais with Biden was GOP House Speaker John Boehner, who wore nothing pinned to either lapel.
 
Obama wore a small American flag pin, no green ribbon.
 
Obama put Biden in charge of developing gun control proposals in response to the Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The proposals before Congress include a ban on assault weapons and ammunition magazines holding more than 10 rounds, and background checks for all firearms purchases.

Signs of unity

President Barack Obama's State of the Union address is producing fleeting moments of bipartisanship in a divided Congress.
 
Republicans are sitting with Democrats. Republicans have hugged Democrats. Republicans have even warmly greeted a Democratic president.
 
After Obama slowly walked down the center aisle, he made a special effort to talk to Republican Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois, who only returned to Washington last month after suffering a massive stroke.
 
The tradition of the president's address to the joint session of Congress packs the House chamber. Lawmakers rise in unison to cheer and applaud on some issues, like support for Mideast ally Israel or support for veterans, or sit silently in opposition.

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