For President Barack Obama's seventh State of the Union address to Congress, the topics will focus on the economy, foreign relations, security issues and others. However, the biggest emphasis may be on the economy. Viewers can watch the State of the Union address online via live stream below.
The speech, which will be delivered at 9 p.m. ET tonight, will be made in a Congress where both houses are controlled by the Republicans. As reported by Devin Dwyer of ABC News, the White House noted that the president, who is fighting the notion of being a lame duck, plans to focus on the U.S. economy in part of his speech.
"America's resurgence is real," Obama said in Detroit Jan. 7. "Don't let anybody tell you otherwise."
According to ABC News, Americans have given him some credit for the economic recovery, which has been reinforced by a wave of recent positive economic data and new poll numbers favoring the president.
"The latest ABC News-Washington Post poll found that the most Americans in eight years say the economy is in 'good shape,' 41 percent, with approval of the president surging back to the watermark of 50 percent," Dwyer wrote.
Doyle McManus of the Los Angeles Times reported in an opinion article that Obama plans to outline ideas in the annual address with "proposals to raise taxes on investment gains and inherited wealth," "more spending on roads, bridges and other infrastructure" paid for by a new bond program, and make community college "tuition-free for most students" with a new $60 billion program.
"I figured, why wait for the State of the Union?" Obama said to a Tennessee audience on Jan. 9. "Why stand on formalities? Let's get the ball rolling."
Dwyer explained how Obama's proposed tax policy would work, assuming it would be passed through Congress.
"The president is proposing tax code changes that would raise $320 billion in revenue from wealthy Americans and businesses, while cutting middle class taxes by $175 billion," Dwyer wrote. "The plan would eliminate the so-called 'trust-fund loophole,' taxing inheritances of high-income Americans."
In addition, Dwyer noted that under Obama's plan, new fees would be imposed on big banks, and the capital-gains tax would be hiked from 23.8 percent to 28 percent for those who made over $500,000. The tax policies will also supposedly help middle-class families.
"For families, the changes would include a $500 credit for working parents; increased child and education tax credits; and new retirement savings incentives," Dwyer wrote.
According to ABC News, Obama will call on Congress in his address to pass a bill requiring all U.S. companies to give employees "seven days of paid sick leave per year," asking for $2 billion to help states set up such programs. Dwyer noted that Obama signed a presidential moratorium last week to allow federal employees to take up to six weeks of "maternity" leave by advancing paid sick leave.
However, Eric Bradner of CNN reported that Obama's proposal, which has hints of economic populism that could appeal to liberals, may not be taken seriously by GOP congressional leaders.
"This can be a day he promotes serious, realistic reforms that focus on economic growth and don't just spend more money we don't have. We're eager for him to do so," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a recent statement.
Dwyer wrote that the other issues that Obama would most likely tackle in his speech included cybersecurity, easing trade and travel restrictions to Cuba, taking out violent extremism, capping methane gas emissions, and funding infrastructure projects. Another topic he could focus on is using the Federal Communications Commission to open up "cheaper, faster Internet access" for all Americans.
"Obama formally called on the agency to fight state laws that limit broadband service competition," Dwyer wrote. "In essence, the president wants the Internet treated like a public utility."
McManus argued that even though some of the policy points have already been leaked out to the public, the State of the Union address is still worth watching in his opinion.
"The impact of the speech won't come solely from what Obama says, but also from how he says it," McManus wrote.
McManus added that while "bipartisanship" has been emphasized by both sides of the political spectrum, "acting unilaterally" seemed to be the order of the day. In a meeting with leaders from both parties, Obama said that he would focus on "areas where we can agree ... in the spirit of cooperation and putting America first."
The president's State of the Union address will be streamed online at 9 p.m. ET on the official White House website and will be broadcasted simultaneously on national TV networks (NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox) and cable news outlets (Fox News, CNN and MSNBC). Every year, the U.S. Constitution, in particular Article II, Section 3, requires the president of the United States to deliver a speech in a joint session of Congress; the State of the Union address fulfills that constitutional obligation.