In a State of the Union address that focused mainly on the economy, President Obama outlined measures already taken by his administration – ARRA, bank bailouts, unemployment benefits – and those he wishes to undertake in the coming year to address the financial crisis. In calling for a new jobs bill, the president said that jobs must be the number one focus of 2010.
As countries like China and Germany are revamping their economies and rebuilding their infrastructures, President Obama declared, “I do not accept second place for the United States of America.” To that end, the president urged a greater investment in the skills and education of Americans. Among the proposed and existing initiatives in that area:
- Race to the Top grant program
- Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act
- Community college bill
- Middle-class Taskforce
- Student loan forgiveness and tax credits
Regarding the community college bill that has already passed the House, the president said: “Still, in this economy, a high school diploma no longer guarantees a good job. I urge the Senate to follow the House and pass a bill that will revitalize our community colleges, which are a career pathway to the children of so many working families.”
As we told you yesterday, President Obama proposed freezing all non-security federal discretionary spending for three years as part of his plan to reduce the deficit. He said the administration will invest in what the country needs and cut what we don’t need, promising to use his veto power if necessary.