As President Obama addressed Congress and the nation, he faced strong opposition from Republican adversaries and low approval ratings from the public.
This State of the Union was less about new initiatives than about trying to enact old promises that have so far failed.
As the wealth disparity gap in the US increases and with poverty rates at near record levels, Obama pledged to raise the minimum wage for new federal contractors, to help the long-term unemployed find work, and expand job training programs.
Obama says he’ll use executive orders to raise the minimum wage which include efforts to improve job-training skills, technology in schools and fuel-efficiency standards in trucks.
In his State of the Union, President Obama said that he would take action using executive orders to enact policy with or without the help of Congress. His actions would be for modest initiatives but not sweeping changes in domestic policy.
The president is working against a much-divided Congress that has been one of the most ineffective bodies of legislature in decades. Critics say it’s unlikely that much will be accomplished while lawmakers overlook the needs of the people.
President Obama’s objectives to act alone without Congress could backfire. More moderate Republicans may be dissuaded from working with the president resulting in the same inaction that has been stifling Washington for years.