Obama vows to reignite economy in State of the Union address

  • President Barack Obama vowed to revive the waning U.S. economy in his annual State of the Union address on Tuesday.

    Speaking in the House of Representatives, the Democratic president said that his generation's task was "to reignite the true engine of America's economic growth - a rising, thriving middle class".

    Obama also called for reforms on gun violence, climate change and immigration.

    He also proposed reforms to lower the cost of Medicare, a federal healthcare program for the elderly, but maintained "we can't just cut our way to prosperity".

    In the Republican response, Senator Marco Rubio pushed for Obama to drop his "obsession" with raising taxes.

    Obama also pledged to act on climate change himself if Congress failed to enact legislation.

    "I urge this Congress to pursue a bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change…But if Congress won't act sooner to protect future generations, I will. I will direct my cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take, now and in the future, to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change, and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy,” he said.

    Obama also said he would cut the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan over the next year by more than half.

    On gun control, Obama said an "overwhelming" majority of Americans supported "common-sense reform" on firearms, including stricter background checks on "weapons of war and massive ammunition magazines".

    He also hailed bipartisan efforts to draw up an immigration reform bill.

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