What Brookings Scholars Said about Obama’s #SOTU Speech

Before, during and after President Obama’s State of the Union speech, tweets and links from Brookings scholars were posted here, and updated as they happened.

10:43: William Galston offers his reaction to and analysis of President Obama’s speech here.

10:20: President Obama has concluded his address. Stay tuned for William Galston’s post-SOTU reaction …

10:16: Cory is here tonight. And like the Army he loves, like the America he serves, Sergeant First Class Cory Remsburg never gives up, and he does not quit.

10:09: “The sanctions that we put in place [on Iran] helped make this opportunity possible.  But let me be clear: if this Congress sends me a new sanctions bill now that threatens to derail these talks, I will veto it.  For the sake of our national security, we must give diplomacy a chance to succeed.”

10:06: “American diplomacy, backed by the threat of force, is why Syria’s chemical weapons are being eliminated, and we will continue to work with the international community to usher in the future the Syrian people deserve – a future free of dictatorship, terror and fear. As we speak, American diplomacy is supporting Israelis and Palestinians as they engage in difficult but necessary talks to end the conflict there; to achieve dignity and an independent state for Palestinians, and lasting peace and security for the State of Israel – a Jewish state that knows America will always be at their side.”

10:01: “Tonight, because of the extraordinary troops and civilians who risk and lay down their lives to keep us free, the United States is more secure.”

9:59: “Citizenship means standing up for the lives that gun violence steals from us each day.  I have seen the courage of parents, students, pastors, and police officers all over this country who say “we are not afraid,” and I intend to keep trying, with or without Congress, to help stop more tragedies from visiting innocent Americans in our movie theaters, shopping malls, or schools like Sandy Hook.”

9:53: “For decades, few things exposed hard-working families to economic hardship more than a broken health care system.  And in case you haven’t heard, we’re in the process of fixing that.”

9:51: “Let’s do more to help Americans save for retirement. Today, most workers don’t have a pension.  A Social Security check often isn’t enough on its own.  And while the stock market has doubled over the last five years, that doesn’t help folks who don’t have 401ks.  That’s why, tomorrow, I will direct the Treasury to create a new way for working Americans to start their own retirement savings: MyRA.”

9:48: “In the coming weeks, I will issue an Executive Order requiring federal contractors to pay their federally-funded employees a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour – because if you cook our troops’ meals or wash their dishes, you shouldn’t have to live in poverty.”

9:45: “Today, women make up about half our workforce. But they still make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. That is wrong, and in 2014, it’s an embarrassment. A woman deserves equal pay for equal work.”

9:41: “Research shows that one of the best investments we can make in a child’s life is high-quality early education.”

9:37: “So tonight, I’ve asked Vice President Biden to lead an across-the-board reform of America’s training programs to make sure they have one mission: train Americans with the skills employers need, and match them to good jobs that need to be filled right now.”

9:34: “Finally, if we are serious about economic growth, it is time to heed the call of business leaders, labor leaders, faith leaders, and law enforcement – and fix our broken immigration system.”


9:33: “But the debate is settled.  Climate change is a fact.  And when our children’s children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world, with new sources of energy, I want us to be able to say yes, we did.”

9:29: “The all-of-the-above energy strategy I announced a few years ago is working, and today, America is closer to energy independence than we’ve been in decades.”

9:25: “Both Democrats and Republicans have argued that our tax code is riddled with wasteful, complicated loopholes that punish businesses investing here, and reward companies that keep profits abroad.  Let’s flip that equation.  Let’s work together to close those loopholes, end those incentives to ship jobs overseas, and lower tax rates for businesses that create jobs here at home.”

9:21: “So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do.”

9:19: “… we can still do more to invest in this country’s future while bringing down our deficit in a balanced way.  But the budget compromise should leave us freer to focus on creating new jobs, not creating new crises.”

9:17: “Tonight, this chamber speaks with one voice to the people we represent: it is you, our citizens, who make the state of our union strong.”

9:14: President Obama has started speaking.

9:09: President Obama is entering the House chamber to applause. George Washington delivered his message to Congress in person, but Thomas Jefferson discontinued the practice. In 1913, Woodrow Wilson revived the tradition of delivering the annual message to Congress in person.

9:01: Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz is the Cabinet member not in attendance.

“He shall from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” — Article II, Section 3, U.S. Constitution

President Obama is expected to announce a program for automatic IRAs for workers whose employers don’t offer it. Find out how Brookings experts developed this idea.

Before the speech, Brookings scholars and associates were already commenting on issues the president should address, including:

Obama Should Encourage Congressional Earmarks, John Hudak on FixGov

Don’t Back Down on Trade in the State of the Union, Amy Liu on The Avenue

Big Bets & Black Swans: A Presidential Briefing Book, from Foreign Policy scholars

Why the State of the Union Matters…Even if It Doesn’t, Thomas Mann on FixGov

A GOP State of the Union would Still be Off Message, Lloyd Green on FixGov

What Would President Romney Do?, Lanhee Chen on FixGov