Highlights of President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address Wednesday night to a joint session of Congress:
• Urged the Senate to follow the House and pass a second jobs bill as its first order of business this year.
• Proposed using $30 billion repaid by Wall Street banks to help community banks lend money to small businesses so they can stay afloat.
• Proposed new tax credit for small business that hire workers or raise the wages of current employees.
• Proposed eliminating all capital gains taxes on small-business investment and providing tax incentives for all businesses to invest in new plants and equipment.
• Said it’s time to slash tax breaks for companies that move jobs overseas and extend them to companies that create jobs in the U.S.
• Urged Senate to follow the House and pass a financial overhaul bill to protect consumers from industry abuses and make sure they have the information they need to make decisions about what to do with their money.
• Urged Democrats dispirited by the loss of their 60-vote Senate majority not to abandon the yearlong effort to overhaul the health care system.
• Proposed a three-year freeze on most domestic spending, beginning in 2011. Spending on national security, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security would be exempt.
• Announced he will issue an executive order creating a bipartisan task force to recommend ways to reduce the deficit.
• Called for requiring lobbyists to report each contact with his administration or Congress.
• Called for ’strict limits’ on lobbyist contributions to candidates for federal office.
• Urged lawmakers to pass a bill to undo a recent Supreme Court ruling that allows companies and labor unions to spend freely on campaign ads that promote or target particular candidates by name.
• Reiterated pledge to remove all U.S. combat troops from Iraq by the end of August.
Gays in the military
• Pledged to work with Congress and the military to allow gays to serve openly in the military.
• Urged Congress to eliminate taxpayer subsidies for banks that provide student loans.
• Proposed $10,000 tax credit for four years of college, along with higher Pell Grants.
• Proposed capping student loan repayments at 10 percent of income and forgiving all student loan debt after 20 years, or after 10 years if the student enters public service.
• Said the government should continue working to fix a broken system by securing borders and enforcing laws.
• Urged Senate passage of comprehensive energy and climate legislation to help the country shift toward cleaner energy sources.