ACTION ALERT: 10 Things President Obama Should Say Tonight and Could Do Tomorrow

January 28th, 2014 - by admin

Becky Bond / Credo Action – 2014-01-28 01:18:50

(January 27, 2014) — On Tuesday, January 28, President Obama will deliver his fifth State of the Union Address.

With the midterm elections approaching — elections in which we could lose the Senate and thus much of the president’s power to block the Republican agenda in Congress — this speech will lay the groundwork for what could be our last best chance to win progressive change during his presidency.

Despite the Republican obstructionism, there’s a lot the president can accomplish by issuing executive orders and prioritizing his administration’s agenda in the Senate.

1. Reject the Keystone XL pipeline
President Obama has said that action on climate change will be a centerpiece of his second term agenda. But he simply cannot make the necessary progress on climate changes as long as he allows tar sands production to expand.
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2. Drop his offer to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits in exchange for a grand budget bargain with Republicans
In a preemptive cave to Republicans, President Obama made the offer as part of budget negotiations last year, in a deeply wrongheaded quest to strike a grand bargain on taxes and the debt. He shouldn’t make the same mistake — and should commit to not give away cuts to Social Security and Medicare to Republicans under any circumstances.
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3. Bring ALL the troops home from Afghanistan
In his State of the Union address last year, President Obama said that Al-Qaeda was a “shadow of its former self,” and “to meet this threat, we don’t need to send tens of thousands of our sons and daughters abroad, or occupy other nations.”

Yet after over 12 years and thousands of American lives, more than 30,000 troops still remain and aren’t scheduled to leave until the end of this year. It is long past time for President Obama to bring them home.

4. Stop breaking up families, by ending the deportations of those eligible for a pathway to citizenship under pending immigration reform legislation
The president doesn’t need to wait for obstructionist Republicans to take action on immigration reform.

He should show he’s serious about it now by halting deportations of aspiring Americans who would qualify for a path to citizenship under the bill already passed by the Senate.
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5. Fire National Intelligence Director James Clapper and stop warrantless NSA spying on Americans
Clapper unambiguously lied to Congress about the NSA’s unconstitutional spying on Americans. But amidst this growing scandal, President Obama has so far offered no substantive reforms. He should fire Clapper and shut down the NSA’s shocking dragnet immediately.

6. Fill all the federal judiciary openings with judges who will uphold the Constitution, enforce environmental laws, and fight corporate abuse
Senator Majority Leader Reid’s filibuster reform finally stopped Republican obstruction on Judicial nominees. With over 90 vacancies this is a major opportunity to bring progressive champions to the bench, but President Obama needs to make sure he takes advantage.

7. Issue a strong carbon rule on existing power plants
President Obama has called for the first-ever rules to limit carbon pollution — long required under the Clean Air Act — but so far, all we’ve gotten are delays and watering down on his rule to cut pollution from unbuilt power plants, which does nothing to reduce actual current pollution, and is still months from being finalized. If the President is serious, we need a strong rule to cut the pollution that is causing climate change now.
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8. Raise the minimum wage for federal workers and contractors
The president has already said that income inequality is the defining issue of our time — and committed to take executive action to helping the middle class.

Raising the minimum wage for the more than 2 million low-wage federal contractors would be a good step in the right direction.
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9. Instruct his FCC chair to save Net Neutrality
Verizon killed net neutrality last week when a federal appellate court ruled in Verizon’s favor, and struck down the FCC’s Open Internet Order. Internet providers are now free to discriminate — block or slow down — any web site or application they choose. But President Obama’s FCC chair has the power to save Net Neutrality by reclassifying broadband Internet access to require that it be regulated as a telecommunications service.
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10. Close Guantanamo
This January marks 12 years of indefinite detention without charge or trial at the US prison at Guantanamo, and five years since President Barack Obama signed an executive order to shut it down.

Congress recently fulfilled the president’s request to make it easier to transfer prisoners out of Guantanamo; it’s long past time for him to keep his promise, too.
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As progressives, we had high hopes for President Obama’s presidency. And time is running out for him to deliver on his campaign promises. Starting with these ten things that are in the president’s power to do. It’s what we’re hoping to hear, what you should be listening for, and how we’ll be gauging the success of his speech on Tuesday night.

If you agree with the priorities on our list, please share it with your friends. Regardless of what the president says, we look forward to continuing to stand with you in the coming fights for progressive change.

Becky Bond is the Political Director of CREDO Action from Working Assets.