President Barack Obama hit on issues close to the hearts of New Yorkers like universal Pre-K and immigration reform in his fifth State of the Union address.
His speech touched mostly on economic factors, jobs and income equality.
He says immigration reform will grow the economy and shrink the deficits by almost $1 trillion in the next two decades.
He also called once again for equal pay for women and issued an Executive Order requiring federal contractors to pay their federally-funded employees at least $10.10 an hour.
Obama also emphasized one of Mayor Bill de Blasio's priorities, the need for universal pre-K.
"Last year, I asked this Congress to help states make high-quality pre-K available to every 4-year-old and as a parent as well as a President, I repeat that request tonight. But in the meantime, thirty states have raised pre-K funding on their own. They know we can’t wait. So just as we worked with states to reform our schools, this year, we'll invest in new partnerships with states and communities across the country in a race to the top for our youngest children," Obama said.
In a State of the Union speech that the White House says sets the theme of his remaining time in office, the president set his focus squarely on domestic policy and national security.
“In the coming months, let’s see where else we can make progress together. Let’s make this a year of action,” Obama said.
One the domestic front, the president push for a host of agenda items, including a smarter tax policy, a shift to cleaner energy, and he made a broad push for immigration reform.
“Let’s get immigration reform done this year,” he said.
Obama also lobbed another salvo in the new culture war over economic fairness. He pressed Congress to raise the minimum wage.
“Say yes. Give America a raise,” he said.
The president defended the Affordable Care Act against past and future political attacks.
“So again, if you have specific plans to cut costs, cover more people, and increase choice, tell America what you’d do differently. Let’s see if the numbers add up. But let’s not have another forty-something votes to repeal a law that’s already helping millions of Americans like Amanda,” the president said.
The second half of the State of the Union address focused on affairs overseas, with the war in Iraq over and U.S. involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Obama spoke about moving country off a permanent war footing.
After 2014, we will support a unified Afghanistan as it takes responsibility for its own future.
He reiterated his support for diplomatic efforts to prevent Iran from attaining a nuclear bomb.
“If this Congress sends me a new sanctions bill now that threatens to derail these talks, I will veto it,” he said.
On Wednesday, the president takes his economic message on the road, to a steel plant steel plant in Pennsylvania.
“God bless you, and God bless the United States of America,” he concluded.