State of the Union: Obama prods Congress to tackle income inequality, vows to act on his own

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU)- In his State of the Union Address, President Obama made his message loud and clear. Congress needs to act this year or he will use his powers as president to avoid road blocks on Capitol Hill.

As WEAU Political Analyst John Frank pointed out, the buzzword in the president’s speech was opportunity.

“I think I heard him use the word opportunity at least five or six times in the speech,” Frank said.

In his speech Tuesday night, the president took time to point out changes in policy that were made in the last year, but largely his speech focused on what's ahead.

The president asked members of Congress to work together to move more quickly on legislation.

While the president said he wanted Congress to make this a year of action, he also took time to point out that he would not wait for Congress and would act on his own if necessary.
“America does not stand still - and neither will I. So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that's what I'm going to do,” President Obama said.

Wisconsin Republican Representative Sean Duffy said prior to the State of the Union address that more can be done to grow the economy but the president using his executive power is not the way to go.

"I do think we should engage in a conversation about how do we grow more opportunity, how do we grow better paying jobs. How do we have more jobs in America so people can get on the pipeline and up the economic rungs of the ladder so they can start making more money,” Duffy said. “We need to have that conversation, but I don't think we can do it by way of an executive pen."

WEAU Political Analyst John Frank says while the president did hit on key issues that both parties can agree on there were some issues that were more political than others.

“He was trying to strike the common goal with the Republicans that are all for opportunity. I think that may be the common ground here, more economic opportunity. That’s where the two parties seem to be working together,” Frank said.

Frank also adds that the president’s speech does come at a time where he needs to rally the Democratic Party ahead of the election for congressional seats.

Coming into the election the Republicans could regain control of both houses, leaving the president to serve out the rest of his term essentially as a lame duck.

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