Obama’s 2012 State of the Union proposals: what flopped and what succeeded


(Evan Vucci/AP)

Every president announces a slew of initiatives in his State of the Union address. Here, in order of delivery, is a summary of the key proposals, pledges or priorities announced by President Obama a year ago — and what happened to them.

Given election-year politics and conflicts with congressional Republicans, Obama’s success rate on legislative proposals in 2012 is relatively poor — at least until the year-end “fiscal cliff” negotiations.

The Proposals

Obama: “We should start with our tax code. Right now, companies get tax breaks for moving jobs and profits overseas.  Meanwhile, companies that choose to stay in America get hit with one of the highest tax rates in the world. It makes no sense, and everyone knows it.  So let’s change it.”


Obama: “We’re also making it easier for American businesses to sell products all over the world.  Two years ago, I set a goal of doubling U.S. exports over five years.  With the bipartisan trade agreements we signed into law, we’re on track to meet that goal ahead of schedule.” 


Obama: “Tonight, I’m announcing the creation of a Trade Enforcement Unit that will be charged with investigating unfair trading practices in countries like China.” 


Obama: “Join me in a national commitment to train 2 million Americans with skills that will lead directly to a job.”



Obama: “At a time when Americans owe more in tuition debt than credit card debt, this Congress needs to stop the interest rates on student loans from doubling in July.”


Obama: “Extend the tuition tax credit we started that saves millions of middle-class families thousands of dollars.”


Obama: “Give more young people the chance to earn their way through college by doubling the number of work-study jobs in the next five years.”


Obama: “So let me put colleges and universities on notice:  If you can’t stop tuition from going up, the funding you get from taxpayers will go down.”


Obama: “We should be working on comprehensive immigration reform right now.”


Obama: “We’ve subsidized oil companies for a century. That’s long enough. It’s time to end the taxpayer giveaways to an industry that rarely has been more profitable, and double-down on a clean energy industry that never has been more promising. Pass clean energy tax credits. Create these jobs.”


Obama: “Here’s a proposal:  Help manufacturers eliminate energy waste in their factories and give businesses incentives to upgrade their buildings. Their energy bills will be $100 billion lower over the next decade, and America will have less pollution, more manufacturing, more jobs for construction workers who need them. Send me a bill that creates these jobs.”


Obama: “I’m sending this Congress a plan that gives every responsible homeowner the chance to save about $3,000 a year on their mortgage, by refinancing at historically low rates.”


  

Obama: “Tonight, I’m asking my attorney general to create a special unit of federal prosecutors and leading state attorney general to expand our investigations into the abusive lending and packaging of risky mortgages that led to the housing crisis.”


Obama: “Our most immediate priority is stopping a tax hike on 160 million working Americans while the recovery is still fragile. People cannot afford losing $40 out of each paycheck this year. There are plenty of ways to get this done. So let’s agree right here, right now: No side issues. No drama. Pass the payroll tax cut without delay. Let’s get it done.”


Obama: “If you make more than $1 million a year, you should not pay less than 30 percent in taxes.” 


Obama: “On the other hand, if you make under $250,000 a year, like 98 percent of American families, your taxes shouldn’t go up.”


Obama: “I ask the Senate to pass a simple rule that all judicial and public service nominations receive a simple up-or-down vote within 90 days.”


Obama: “In Syria, I have no doubt that the Assad regime will soon discover that the forces of change cannot be reversed, and that human dignity cannot be denied.... We will stand against violence and intimidation. We will stand for the rights and dignity of all human beings — men and women; Christians, Muslims and Jews.”


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Glenn Kessler has reported on domestic and foreign policy for more than three decades. He would like your help in keeping an eye on public figures. Send him statements to fact check by emailing him, tweeting at him, or sending him a message on Facebook.

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