published Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

Highlights of President Obama’s State of the Union address

President Barack Obama is greeted after giving his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington.
President Barack Obama is greeted after giving his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

• JOBS: Partner with businesses and communities to invest in American-made technologies through a network of Manufacturing Innovation Institutes, three of which Obama said he will create by executive order. Eliminate tax breaks that encourage companies to move jobs outside the U.S., and rewrite the tax code.

• HOUSING: Spend $15 billion to help communities awash in foreclosed and vacant properties rebuild while creating construction jobs.

• MINIMUM WAGE: Increase the federal minimum wage, currently $7.25 an hour, to $9 in stages by the end of 2015, and allow for automatic increases to keep pace with inflation. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney supported the idea of indexing the minimum wage to inflation.

• GUN CONTROL: Ban assault weapons and ammunition magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds, require background checks for all firearms purchases and increase access to mental health services.

• AFGHANISTAN: Withdraw 34,000 U.S. military forces, just under half the 66,000 troops still there, within a year.

• IMMIGRATION: Continue to tighten the border, crack down on employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants, establish a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million immigrants in the country without documentation, and streamline the immigration system.

• WOMEN: Renew the Violence Against Women Act to help protect victims of domestic violence and help law enforcement investigate and prosecute sexual assaults. The Senate voted Tuesday to renew the law; Obama called on the House to quickly send him a bill.

• EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION: Provide access to a high-quality preschool for all children from families with low or moderate incomes.

• TRADE: Begin talks on a comprehensive trade agreement with the European Union to promote the exchange of goods across the Atlantic.

• FEDERAL BUDGET: Continue to work toward the goal of $4 trillion in deficit reduction and stabilizing the debt as a percentage of the economy, both over 10 years.

• INFRASTRUCTURE: Spend $50 billion on a “Fix It First” program for urgent repairs to roads, bridges and railways.

• ENERGY-CLIMATE CHANGE: Make permanent and refundable a tax credit for renewable energy to help double the production from wind, solar and geothermal sources by 2020. Help states cut energy waste and increase efficiency through a competitive grant program modeled after a similar program for education. Direct Cabinet secretaries to identify additional executive steps to deal with climate change.

• EDUCATION: Launch a competition to help redesign and modernize high schools, and create a corps of 10,000 of the nation’s brightest science and math teachers to improve instruction in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

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