Obama’s defiant State of the Union charts path forward “with or without Congress”

President Obama delivers his State of the Union address.

President Obama delivers his State of the Union address. (White House photo)

NATIONAL — President Barack Obama during his State of the Union Address declared that he will make no apologies for Obamacare and he expressed confidence that the nine million Americans that signed up for insurance coverage will be joined by many more who will find satisfaction in the health care overhaul.

Obama to made his case against more rancorous Republican votes to repeal the law — as did his declaration to the country that, because of the law, “no American can ever again be dropped or denied coverage for a preexisting condition like asthma, back pain, or cancer” and that “no woman can ever be charged more just because she’s a woman.”

Obama told Congress that he wants to work with them to improve the nation’s economy but he is prepared to take action to overcome Congressional gridlock.

Asking Congress for legislation on immigration and a minimum wage increase, Obama also announced a variety of executive orders, including one to increase the minimum wage for some federal contract workers from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour.

“America does not stand still, and neither will I,” Obama said. “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.”

Obama discussed his concerns that the gap between the rich and everyone else is growing, saying that “corporate profits and stock prices have rarely been higher,” but the wages of average workers “have barely budged. Inequality has deepened. Upward mobility has stalled. Our job is to reverse these trends.”

Sgt. First Class Cory Remsburg got a standing ovation as Obama recognized the U.S. Army Ranger who has been recovering from a roadside bomb that nearly killed him in Afghanistan.

In his speech, Obama said Remsburg “never gives up, and he does not quit,” and that he reminds us that “America has never come easy.”

Obama also said, “America must move off a permanent war footing” as he discussed ending combat operations in Afghanistan, negotiations to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, changes in the use of unmanned killer robots, curbing surveillance programs and he again called for closing of the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

As he tries to rejuvenate a presidency mired in low approval ratings and stymied by partisan stalemates, Obama used his 65-minute nationally televised speech to promise “a year of action.”

Through the first five years of his presidency, as of Jan. 20 Obama issued 168 executive orders, not an unusually large number compared to his predecessors in the White House, but he promised more saying, “Whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do.”

Republican House Speaker John Boehner warned Obama against overreach, saying that “we’re just not going to sit here and let the president trample all over us.” However, the GOP has been ineffectual in more than 40 votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act and dozens of efforts to pass new abortion restrictions.

While most of the language was not partisan, Obama showed is tired of engaging in futile battles with the GOP.

Obama also said that, “for the first time in over a decade, business leaders around the world have declared that China is no longer the world’s number one place to invest; America is.”

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