According to President Obama’s 2014 State of the Union Address which took place Tuesday, this is the “year of action.” The president reiterated some of his past legislative priorities by promising to close the prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and to reform unemployment insurance, but he also spoke about developing regulations to limit carbon emissions at the nation’s power plants, MyRA, a new savings bond which would encourage citizens to save for retirement and, most notably, to increase in the minimum wage to $10.10 from $7.25.
“Of course, to reach millions more, Congress needs to get on board,” said the president in the State of the Union Address. “Today, the federal minimum wage is worth about twenty percent less than it was when Ronald Reagan first stood here. Tom Harkin and George Miller have a bill to fix that by lifting the minimum wage to $10.10. 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.”
Nearly 17 million Americans would expect to receive a raise with the new minimum wage changing, but families would see even more change in their pockets if women were earning what their male counterparts made.
“Today, women make up about half our workforce,” said Obama. “But they still make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. That is wrong, and in 2014, it’s an embarrassment.
A woman deserves equal pay for equal work. She deserves to have a baby without sacrificing her job.
A mother deserves a day off to care for a sick child or sick parent without running into hardship — and you know what, a father does, too. 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. Because I firmly believe when women succeed, America succeeds.”
As a response to President Obama’s concerns, and a way to quell the distresses of a war on women, the GOP brought in Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers who called for “a more hopeful, Republican vision.” She went on to her 6-year-old son, Cole, who was born with Down syndrome while attempting to call for discontinue of Obama’s health care program.
“Too many people are falling further and further behind because, right now, the president’s policies are making people’s lives harder,” Rodgers said. “Republicans have plans to close the gap.”
However, concerns about a divided Republican Party weren’t addressed with the GOP’s two other separate responses from Senator Mike Lee of Utah, who delivered a speech on behalf of Tea Party activists, and Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, who distributed his own comments on YouTube Facebook, and Twitter.
One thing that both parties can agree on is making this year “a breakthrough year for America” that avoids partisan stalemates in order to show more improvement with the economy.