President's 2013 priorities fell flat in Congress - abc27 WHTM

President's 2013 priorities fell flat in Congress

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Tonight's State of the Union address will have the annual applause breaks and cheering from lawmakers, but did last year's address proposals equal action?

Fresh off his second inauguration and in the wake of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut, President Obama delivered last year's State of the Union address with vigor.

On February 12, 2013 around 9:15 ET, the President spoke in front of lawmakers and honored guests, which included gun violence survivors. Among the President's top priorities was reforming the nation's gun laws. He charged Congress with expanding background checks among other reforms.

"Each of these proposals deserves a vote in Congress," he said.

Subsequently, each of those proposals was voted down. The FBI reported 23 mass shootings (four or more fatalities) in 2013 that left more than 100 people dead.

Politically engaged students at Harrisburg University said they were left disappointed with Congress's failed action.

"Congress has to make the decision; I feel like they keep delaying the process," said Lenora Cudrup. "So I feel like if they just hurried up the process it's really their fault, not the President's."

Another theme of last year's address was the President's motivation to create job growth and rebuild America's middle class. The President proposed to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $9 an hour.

"Let's tie the minimum wage to the cost of living, so it can finally become a wage to live on," he said.

The issue barely received any steam among the House or Senate. On Tuesday afternoon, President Obama did enact executive order to raise the minimum pay for federally contracted workers to $10.10 an hour. National reports point to the President lobbying for a federal pay increase to $10.10 during tonight's State of the Union address.

"I think Congress and the president should work together to solve these issues," he said. "I mean, society is struggling with the whole minimum wage. And I can barely get enough food to eat."

According to an article by the Washington Post, only four of the President's 20 proposals received legitimate action following the 2013 State of the Union address.

One success was the passing of a budget in December. However, many pointed to Congress failing to extend emergency jobless funding as well as added funding for immigration reform.

"Real reform means establishing a responsible pathway to earn citizenship," said Obama last year.

In December, job approval for Congress hit an all-time low at 12 percent. The President endured several scandals last year, which lowered his approval rating to an administration low 37 percent to 40 percent, depending on the poll.

During a recent speech, the President said he vowed to use more of his executive powers.

"Where I can act on my own without Congress, I'm going to do so," he said.

Among the laundry list of issues our nation faces, it is typical to be passionate about change that affects the individual. For Vallat, a college student, his request to President Obama seems obvious.

"Lower tuition cost...that'd be nice," he said.

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