Saying he would act alone—via executive orders—to boost the nation's economy, President Barack Obama delivered a 65-minute State of the Union address to the usual robust applause from Democrats and near-stone silence from Republicans.
Obama promised a so-called "year of action," following 2013, which saw next to nothing make its way through Congress.
“I’m eager to work with all of you,” Obama told a congressional joint session and a nationally televised audience. “But 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.”
Obama announced an executive order raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour for future federal contract workers.
He also called for an across-the-board increase in the minimum wage to $10.10 from $7.25. “Say yes,” he urged. “Give America a raise.” Additionally, he called for expanding the earned-income tax credit for low-wage workers without children.
As expected, Idaho's congressional delegation wasted little time in deriding Obama's address:
“I am once again deeply disappointed he has failed to address our crippling debt and taken the wrong approach to creating jobs for middle class families," said Sen. Jim Risch. "Idahoans do not need more government intrusion and free-wheeling federal spending in our lives."
"Lowering the tax burden on Americans should be a top priority of this administration and Congress that would spur economic growth and job creation," said Sen. Mike Crapo. "True reform means simplifying the tax code by eliminating its vast complexities and lowering the rates for all individuals, families and businesses.”
“The president could have used this State of the Union address to admit to the American people what most of them already know—that his signature health care initiative has failed and that it must be delayed while Congress works on a better approach," wrote Rep. Mike Simpson.
"The fact that he is threatening Congress with executive orders if we do not follow his agenda is even more alarming." wrote Rep. Raul Labrador. "In response, Congress should insist that President Obama faithfully execute our current laws before trusting him to execute new laws. And if he refuses, we must hold him accountable.”