Obama's 2010 State of the Union address fact-checked
"We've excluded lobbyists from policymaking jobs or seats on federal boards and commissions. But we cannot stop there. It's time to require lobbyists to disclose each contact they make on behalf of a client with my administration or Congress."
Some good-government advocates say the Obama administration's rules on lobbyists, while well-intended, have limited value and unintended consequences. Some Washington power brokers skirt the rules by simply declining to register as lobbyists, even when their day-to-day work is often hard to distinguish from lobbying.
Former Senate majority leader Tom Daschle, for instance, works for a major Washington lobbying firm, Alston & Bird, but navigates around the rules that would require him to register as a lobbyist. The declining tally of registered lobbyists since Congress passed lobbying reforms in 2007 suggests that many similar firms have taken a similar approach.
Meanwhile, the rules have meant that the White House has had to turn away some well-regarded people who lobby on behalf of non-corporate causes.
"We cut taxes. We cut taxes for 95 percent of working families. We cut taxes for small businesses. We cut taxes for first-time home buyers. We cut taxes for parents trying to care for their children. We cut taxes for 8 million Americans paying for college. As a result, millions of Americans had more to spend on gas and food and other necessities. . . . And we haven't raised income taxes by a single dime on a single person."
The Obama administration did cut taxes for most families as part of the stimulus package, which included more than $100 billion in "Making Work Pay" tax cuts for lower- and middle-income families. The reason that he had to emphasize the tax cut Wednesday, though, is that many are unaware they received it because it was spread out across the year in people's paychecks instead of given in a single lump sum.
The thinking behind that approach was that it would make people more likely to spend the money, instead of squirreling it away. But the downside is that, for many, the tax cut remained under the radar.
President Obama has proposed raising income taxes on the wealthy in the coming years. He also favors the taxing of certain health insurance plans -- which could be passed on to some employees in the form of higher premiums.
"North Korea now faces increased isolation and stronger sanctions -- sanctions that are being vigorously enforced. . . . That is why the international community is more united and the Islamic Republic of Iran is more isolated. And as Iran's leaders continue to ignore their obligations, there should be no doubt: They, too, will face growing consequences."