Obama called for raising the nation’s minimum wage to $9 from $7.25 and said Congress should avert the $85 billion sequester his administration argues would hamper the economy and interrupt important government programs.
“These sudden, harsh, arbitrary cuts would jeopardize our military readiness,” the president said. “They’d devastate priorities like education, energy and medical research. They would certainly slow our recovery, and cost us hundreds of thousands of jobs.”
He said lawmakers should approve new legislation restricting access to guns and providing a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the country.
Seeking to build on the themes of his second inaugural address last month, Obama called for a nation that treats everyone equally, regardless of income, race, sex or sexual orientation.
“It is our unfinished task to restore the basic bargain that built this country — the idea that if you work hard and meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead, no matter where you come from, what you look like, or who you love,” Obama said.
Read more on Obama's State of the Union address.