President Barack Obama will issue a call for expanding economic opportunity in his State of the Union address. He'll press a divided Congress to help shrink the income gap between the rich and poor, while asserting that he will take action on his own if lawmakers don't.
Obama's themes may find some support among Republicans, who have also recently picked up the inequality mantle. But as Congress barrels toward midterm elections, there's little indication Obama will win over the GOP with his policy prescriptions. That includes a renewed push to increase minimum wage and expand early childhood education.
The State of the Union presents Obama an opportunity to start fresh after a year where his legislative agenda stalled, his signature health care law floundered and his approval rating tumbled.
Michigan Congressman Justin Amash is not expecting to hear much he will like in the president’s address next week.
Amash is a frequent critic of the Affordable Care Act and domestic spying programs.
“I haven’t been thrilled with his previous State of the Unions. But he could always surprise us,” says Amash. “He’s the president of the United States. We have to listen to what he has to say and show some respect for the office.”
Michigan Radio will have NPR’s live coverage of President Obama’s State of the Union speech and the Republican response at 9 p.m. Tuesday.