State of the Union: Obama Asks Congress to Reverse Economic Inequality

WASHINGTON — Hoping to lay a politically bruising year to rest, President Obama on Tuesday declared a “year of action” in which he said he would work with lawmakers when he could, but would sidestep them to move proposals to help low- and middle-income families share in the economic recovery.

In his State of the Union address, Obama promised to flex his power to boost wages, protect the environment and channel resources to education, starting with an executive order to raise the minimum wage for federal contractors.

Before a joint session of Congress, Obama told lawmakers in the House chamber that he was eager to have their help to strengthen the middle class, but that he wouldn’t be clipped by Congress in his drive to “reverse these tides” of economic inequality.

“America does not stand still, and neither will I,” Obama said. “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.”

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