Strip away all the pomp, circumstance, and flowery rhetoric from the State of the Union and what do you get? A laundry list of policy proposals.
But if the past is any indication, less than half of the president’s wish list will become reality this year. The success rate will likely be even lower because a) Republicans control the House and b) it’s an election year.
Here’s a look at what President Obama wants to happen in 2014, and what he said about it on Tuesday. It’s not a comprehensive list, but the big proposals are here. We’ll have to wait and see what happens this year, but don’t count on a lot.
Income Inequality & Jobs
Raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour.
“This will help families. It will give businesses customers with more money to spend. It doesn't involve any new bureaucratic program. So join the rest of the country. Say yes. Give America a raise.”
Raise the minimum wage for workers employed by federal contractors to $10.10 per hour, via executive order.
“If you cook our troops' meals or wash their dishes, you shouldn't have to live in poverty.”
Renew expired jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed.
“I'm also convinced we can help Americans return to the workforce faster by reforming unemployment insurance so that it's more effective in today's economy. But first, this Congress needs to restore the unemployment insurance you just let expire for 1.6 million people.”
Increase the Earned Income Tax Credit for workers without children.
“So let's work together to strengthen the credit, reward work, and help more Americans get ahead.”
Pass Paycheck Fairness Act.
“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 … It's time to do away with workplace policies that belong in a ‘Mad Men’ episode. This year, let's all come together - Congress, the White House, and businesses from Wall Street to Main Street - to give every woman the opportunity she deserves.”
Create new federal retirement savings accounts.
“Tomorrow, I will direct the Treasury to create a new way for working Americans to start their own retirement savings. It's a new savings bond that encourages folks to build a nest egg.”
Pass a patent reform bill.
“And let's pass a patent reform bill that allows our businesses to stay focused on innovation, not costly, needless litigation.”
Undo federal spending cuts for research and development.
“That's why Congress should undo the damage done by last year's cuts to basic research so we can unleash the next great American discovery - whether it's vaccines that stay ahead of drug-resistant bacteria, or paper-thin material that's stronger than steel.”
Connect 20 million students to high-speed internet.
“Last year, I also pledged to connect 99 percent of our students to high-speed broadband over the next four years. Tonight, I can announce that with the support of the FCC and companies like Apple, Microsoft, Sprint, and Verizon, we've got a down payment to start connecting more than 15,000 schools and twenty million students over the next two years, without adding a dime to the deficit.”
Increase college access for low-income and minority students.
“The White House just organized a College Opportunity Summit where already, 150 universities, businesses, and nonprofits have made concrete commitments to reduce inequality in access to higher education - and help every hardworking kid go to college and succeed when they get to campus.”
Pass funding for universal pre-K.
“Last year, I asked this Congress to help states make high-quality pre-K available to every four year-old. As a parent as well as a President, I repeat that request tonight.”
Advance student-loan reform in Congress and improve college affordability.
“I want to work with Congress to see how we can help even more Americans who feel trapped by student loan debt. And I'm reaching out to some of America's leading foundations and corporations on a new initiative to help more young men of color facing tough odds stay on track and reach their full potential.”
Pass broad immigration reform.
“When people come here to fulfill their dreams - to study, invent, and contribute to our culture - they make our country a more attractive place for businesses to locate and create jobs for everyone. So let's get immigration reform done this year. Let’s get it done, it’s time.”
Implement new gun control measures, through Congress or executive order.
“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.”
Broad tax reform
“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.”
Boost fuel efficiency in trucks.
“When we rescued our automakers, for example, we worked with them to set higher fuel efficiency standards for our cars. In the coming months, I'll build on that success by setting new standards for our trucks, so we can keep driving down oil imports and what we pay at the pump.”
New environmental standards for oil and gas drilling on public lands.
“I'll cut red tape to help states get those factories built, and this Congress can help by putting people to work building fueling stations that shift more cars and trucks from foreign oil to American natural gas.”
Completing Iran nuclear deal and veto any further sanctions bills.
“And with our allies and partners, we're engaged in negotiations to see if we can peacefully achieve a goal we all share: preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
“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.”
Complete security agreement to wind down Afghan War.
“If the Afghan government signs a security agreement that we have negotiated, a small force of Americans could remain in Afghanistan with NATO allies to carry out two narrow missions: training and assisting Afghan forces, and counter-terrorism operations to pursue any remnants of al Qaeda.”
“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.”
Close Guantanamo Bay detention facility.
“And with the Afghan war ending, this needs to be the year Congress lifts the remaining restrictions on detainee transfers and we close the prison at Guantanamo Bay - because we counter terrorism not just through intelligence and military action, but by remaining true to our Constitutional ideals, and setting an example for the rest of the world.”
Pass legislation to restore Voting Rights Act protections struck down by Supreme Court.
“Conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats are working together to strengthen it; and the bipartisan commission I appointed last year has offered reforms so that no one has to wait more than a half hour to vote. Let's support these efforts. It should be the power of our vote, not the size of our bank account, that drives our democracy.”
Jordan Fabian is Fusion's politics editor, writing about campaigns, Congress, immigration, and more. When he's not working, you can find him at the ice rink or at home with his wife, Melissa.