President Barack Obama on Monday laid out his top priorities for the coming year in a sweeping address to the nation, urging Americans to work together and to “stop playing politics.”
“You don’t have to be part of partisan gridlock,” the president said during his State of the Union address.
“If you can’t come together, then you can always count on me to help you.”
The president’s speech, which focused on the country’s economic recovery and the fight against global terrorism, was one of his most expansive and aggressive of his presidency.
Obama said he wants the country to return to the path of “responsible leadership” that helped usher in a “post-partisan” era of unprecedented prosperity.
But he also acknowledged that “the path to prosperity” has not been as smooth as he hoped.
“I will not be able to do all of these things alone,” Obama said.
“But my administration is here to fight for you, not to make you suffer.”
Obama also said that Americans need to “take responsibility” for the state of the country and urged them to “be proud of who we are and what we have become.”
“As Americans, we must make our voices heard,” Obama told a crowd of about 100,000 people.
“Our voices must be heard.
Our voices must matter.
And our voices must win.”
The administration is taking steps to ensure that the president is able to deliver on his promise to “make the world a better place.”
For the first time, Obama will deliver his State Of The Union address during the same evening that he will be inaugurated.
He will not attend the inauguration, which will take place in Washington, D.C., on Friday.
Obama has not made any final decisions about when to host the inauguration.
“It’s important that we don’t lose sight of the important work that we are doing to help rebuild our economy and our world,” Obama added.
“We must fight for our values.
We must fight to make our country stronger, more free and more just.”
The Obama administration has also launched an initiative called The Empowerment Challenge, which aims to create a global network of leaders committed to the pursuit of social, environmental and economic justice.
The president also outlined his plans to reduce the number of new tax loopholes and tax credits in the next year.
The administration plans to slash the number from 35 to 15, and to limit the number to 10,000 tax breaks in 2019.
The Obama administration will also end its use of a controversial loophole known as the “carried interest” rule, which allows companies to defer paying federal income taxes on income earned by their top executives for as long as they make investments in the United States.