Obama puts emphasis on education in State of the Union

He reiterated his goal to give the U.S. the highest percentage of college graduates.
President Barack Obama speaks on the telephone during a conference call with students from various college publications, including The Maneater, in the Oval Office on Sept. 27. Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday focused heavily on rebuilding the U.S. infrastructure and investing in education. Courtesy of The White House Media Affairs

President Barack Obama delivered his annual State of the Union address Tuesday, in which he called upon Republicans and Democrats to unite in support of his goal to advance America in the global community. Obama’s message carried a constant theme: Americans must invest in innovative technology, education and health care reform if they want to “win” the future.

The president made it clear he believed for Americans to be competitive, students would need some form of higher education.

“Nearly half of our new jobs going forward are going to require some form of post-secondary education,” said Roberto Rodriguez, Special Assistant to the President for Education Policy.

Despite the promise of more affordable post-secondary education, Congress’ “Pledge to America” campaign proposes cutting Pell Grants by $1,330 per award.

Obama stressed the importance of increasing the quality and availability of education.

“Before we take money away from our schools, or scholarships away from our students, we should ask millionaires to give up their tax break,” he said.

In respect to the recent shooting in Tucson, many lawmakers paired up to sit next to members of the opposite party in a gesture of bipartisanship and civility.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., sat next to Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Ks., and she joked in a tweet overcoming the Democrat vs. Republican differences were easier than overcoming the fact that she is a Tiger and he is a Jayhawk,

As part of his economic recovery plan, Obama proposed goals of making America more competitive with countries like China by improving education and advancing new and improved infrastructure, such as cross-country rails.

“We need to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world,” he said. “We have to make America the best place on Earth to do business.”

In the Republican response to Obama’s speech Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wi., explained why many Republicans are repealing the healthcare bill and called for an end to what they believe is excessive spending.

“Health care spending is driving the explosive growth of our debt, and the president's law is accelerating our country toward bankruptcy,” Ryan said. “Our debt is out of control.”

After the president’s address, White House officials answered questions live from individuals across the nation. National Economic Council Deputy Director Brian Deese reiterated the importance of job creation through innovation and technological advances.

“The president recognizes that in order to create the long term incentives for investors in the United States to invest in things like wind and solar and renewable energy, they need a long term incentive and they need clarity that those incentives are going to stay in place over time,” Desse said.

Deese went on to say Obama has made a lot of progress in pulling the economy out of the poor state it was in when he first came into office, but there is always room to improve.

“With an unemployment rate over 9 percent and millions of Americans out of work, we can’t be satisfied,” he said.

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