Obama to Stress Energy Production, Green Fuels in State of Union Address

January 23, 2012 11:45 PM
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via a special arrangement with Informa Economics, Inc.

Annual address will likely take on election-year overtone

NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.

President Barack Obama will present his State of the Union address this evening to a joint session of Congress, and is expected to urge Congress to return to trying to find at least $1.2 trillion in debt reduction. On the issues agenda, one focus will be on energy, especially natural gas production, and the role his administration has played in promoting renewable fuels and energy-related jobs.

The president will again ask the wealthy to pay their “fair share,” as he lays out a blueprint for an economy in which “everyone plays by the same set of rules.” White House spokesman Jay Carney said the president believes that the nation's tax system needs to be fixed so that billionaires do not pay a lower rate than working-class, middle-class Americans.

Carney said the president will be traveling for the three days following his speech, providing more detail about the proposals he will make in his address. First, the president will travel to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to deliver remarks at Conveyor Engineering & Manufacturing. Then he will travel to Phoenix, to deliver remarks at the Intel Ocotillo Campus. On Jan. 26, in Las Vegas, the president will speak at UPS Las Vegas South.

On energy, Obama will stress the economic and energy security benefits of increased US oil and gas production. Regarding biofuels, the president is expected to highlight recent and ongoing loan guarantees, including USDA programs, and other programs pushing development of green fuels, and jobs. Just last week, USDA announced a $25 million partnership with a recycling firm to build a new power plant and the Pentagon recently announced plans to make historically-large purchases of biofuels. Also, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy requested papers from green firms on how what they need to expand production.

President Obama will use his election-year address to provide a “blueprint for an American economy that’s built to last,” with the government assisting the private sector and individuals to ensure “an America where everybody gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share and everybody plays by the same set of rules.”

As part of his message, Obama will provide some details on new proposals to spur manufacturing, including tax breaks for companies that “insource jobs back to the United States”; to double-down on clean-energy incentives; and to improve education and job training initiatives, especially for the millions of long-term unemployed.

Comments: State of Union addresses are important, but current times are so political among leaders from both political parties, it is hard to separate politics from true policy initiatives and vision. Two years ago, Obama during the State of Union address said his administration would double American exports in five years, helping to create two million jobs. The administration is on track -- for now -- to meet that goal. Growing exports have been one of the central drivers of the recovery, accounting for about half the nation’s economic growth since the recession ended. Exports are running at about $180 billion a month, according to Commerce Department data, up from $140 billion a month two years ago. They are currently growing at an annual pace of about 16 percent -- a percentage-point higher than necessary to double exports to $3.1 trillion by 2015.

NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.


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