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Seven political issues in Obama’s second inaugural address
Though President Barack Obama’s second inaugural address was phrased in typically lofty terms, it included several political issues which are likely to come up in the next few months. Here’s the subtext of seven key lines and passages.
Digital First Media· Mon, Jan 21 2013 10:06:37
Closing tax loopholes
(AP Photo/Seth Perlman)
“We must harness new ideas and technology to remake our government, revamp our tax code, reform our schools, and empower our citizens with the skills they need to work harder, learn more, and reach higher.”
Senate Democrats say they will propose closing tax loopholes in a budget this summer. With House Republicans opposing higher tax rates, revamping the tax code to close loopholes or limiting deductions for the wealthy may be the only way to raise new revenue.
Addressing climate change
“We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms. The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries – we must claim its promise. That is how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure – our forests and waterways; our croplands and snowcapped peaks. That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God.”
Although a comprehensive climate change bill passed the House in Obama’s first term, it did not make it through the Senate. House Republicans remain opposed to new legislation, so Obama may have to work through regulations instead.
Supporting gay rights
(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
“We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths – that all of us are created equal – is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall. … Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.”
Obama’s inclusion of the Stonewall riots, which many believe launched the gay rights movement in 1969, in a list that included landmarks for women’s rights and civil rights for African-Americans was notable, as was his support of gay marriage.
Promoting equal pay for women
(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
“For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts.”
The first bill Obama signed into law in his first term was the Lilly Ledbetter act, which made it easier for women to sue over pay discrimination.
Reducing lines for voters
(Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images)
“Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote.”
Overhauling immigration laws
(AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
“Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country.”
Obama is pushing for a comprehensive overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws, including a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants already in the country, and more visas for science and math majors.
(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
“Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm.”
Newtown, Conn., was the site of a mass shooting at an elementary school that led Obama to begin a new push for gun control laws, including limits on assault weapons and high-capacity gun magazines and pursuit of universal background checks.