President Obama vowed to fight for working-class Americans - with or without Congress, he said in Saturday's weekly address.
In what he labeled a “three-minute version” of his State of the Union address, Obama laid out the “opportunity agenda” he unveiled on Tuesday. He acknowledged that he'd need the help of the divided Congress to enact some of his plans, but vowed that “wherever I can take steps to expand opportunity for more families on my own, I will.”
The president said the unemployment rate is the lowest it's been in more than five years, but that "while those at the top are doing better than ever, average wages have barely budged.”
“Inequality has deepened. Too many Americans are working harder and harder just to get by. And too many still aren’t working at all," Obama said.
He added that his job was to “reverse those trends,” explaining that he's taken his second-term agenda on the road over the past week – to Wisconsin, Tennessee and Pennsylvania – as he seeks to dispel any notion that he's already a lame-duck president who can't get much done over the next three years.
The four parts of his agenda include: creating new jobs, notably in construction and manufacturing, in innovation and energy; training more Americans “with the skills to fill those new jobs”; guaranteeing every child access to a “world-class education, from early childhood, through college, and right into a career”; and “making sure hard work pays off for men and women, with wages you can live on, savings you can retire on, and health insurance that’s there for you when you need it.”
“These ideas will strengthen the middle class and help more people work their way into the middle class,” he said. “Some of them will require Congress. But wherever I can take steps to expand opportunity for more families on my own, I will. I’m going to ask business leaders, education leaders, and philanthropic leaders to partner with us to advance these goals."