WASHINGTON (CNN) - Saying the United States can no longer afford to put health-care reform on hold, President Barack Obama said his budget proposal will include a "historic commitment" to it.
"I suffer no illusions that this will be an easy process. It will be hard," Obama said in his first address to a joint session of Congress. "But I also know that nearly a century after Teddy Roosevelt first called for reform, the cost of our health care has weighed down our economy and the conscience of our nation long enough."
Obama said he will be assembling representatives of business, labor, doctors and healthcare providers next week to begin discussing the reforms.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Interesting line, sounds like major aid for the auto industry is on the way: “…I believe the nation that invented the automobile cannot walk away from it."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The speech is clearly aimed well beyond the House chamber. He is going step by step through why the banks need to be bailed out, and how it will help middle class families. Seems to me some of this is pushback against Americans grown weary of bailing out “big banks” or “Wall Street.” Thus the tough talk - “those days are over,” a likely reference to excessive spending of companies taking federal help - and the reassurances of his mission: “It’s not about helping banks - it’s about helping people.”
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Making sure the nation's lending industry is strong is crucial to jumpstarting its economy, President Barack Obama said Tuesday, even as he acknowledged anger over the government banking bailout Congress approved last year.
"I know how unpopular it is to be seen as helping banks right now, especially when everyone is suffering in part from their bad decisions. I promise you - I get it," Obama said in his first address to a joint session of Congress. "But I also know that in a time of crisis, we cannot afford to govern out of anger, or yield to the politics of the moment.
He said he plans a new lending fund to provide college, auto and small-business loans and a housing plan that will help struggling families refinance and pay smaller mortgages. He said he wants to continue propping up the nation's largest banks when they're in danger, but will hold them accountable for how the money is spent.
"This time, CEOs won't be able to use taxpayer money to pad their paychecks or buy fancy drapes or disappear on a private jet," Obama said.
"Those days are over."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama on Tuesday described the nation's financial woes as a "reckoning" for poor decisions made by both government and individuals.
"A surplus became an excuse to transfer wealth to the wealthy instead of an opportunity to invest in our future," Obama said in his first speech to a joint session of Congress. "Regulations were gutted for the sake of a quick profit at the expense of a healthy market.
"People bought homes they knew they couldn't afford from banks and lenders who pushed those bad loans anyway. And all the while, critical debates and difficult decisions were put off for some other time on some other day."
He said his economic agenda - which includes money to jumpstart job-creation and invest in green energy, health care and education - is a first step to turn things around.
"Now is the time to act boldly and wisely - to not only revive this economy, but to build a new foundation for lasting prosperity," Obama said.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – President Obama apparently buys into that old slogan about never letting 'em see you sweat.
Despite the pressure of his first speech to a joint session of Congress at a time of national crisis, two senior aides tell me the President quietly had only one full dress rehearsal with a teleprompter at about 6pm ET in the White House's historic map room.
The significance is that predecessors like Bill Clinton and George W. Bush used to go through at least a few - maybe even several depending on the situation - dress rehearsals for a speech like this to get it just right. Just one session suggests a man feeling pretty confident despite the intensity of the crisis.
As one senior aide told me, "This moment in time needs clarity and a sense of purpose."
The White House has released the full text of President Obama's address to Congress this evening:
Madame Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, and the First Lady of the United States:
I’ve come here tonight not only to address the distinguished men and women in this great chamber, but to speak frankly and directly to the men and women who sent us here.
I know that for many Americans watching right now, the state of our economy is a concern that rises above all others. And rightly so. If you haven’t been personally affected by this recession, you probably know someone who has – a friend; a neighbor; a member of your family. You don’t need to hear another list of statistics to know that our economy is in crisis, because you live it every day. It’s the worry you wake up with and the source of sleepless nights. It’s the job you thought you’d retire from but now have lost; the business you built your dreams upon that’s now hanging by a thread; the college acceptance letter your child had to put back in the envelope. The impact of this recession is real, and it is everywhere.
The White House has released additional excerpts of President Obama's address to Congress this evening:
"We have lived through an era where too often, short-term gains were prized over long-term prosperity; where we failed to look beyond the next payment, the next quarter, or the next election. A surplus became an excuse to transfer wealth to the wealthy instead of an opportunity to invest in our future. Regulations were gutted for the sake of a quick profit at the expense of a healthy market. People bought homes they knew they couldn’t afford from banks and lenders who pushed those bad loans anyway. And all the while, critical debates and difficult decisions were put off for some other time on some other day.
"Well that day of reckoning has arrived, and the time to take charge of our future is here.
(CNN) – Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal will give the Republican response to Pres. Obama’s speech Tuesday night.
The first official "response" to the State of the Union by the opposing party was delivered by Republicans Sen. Everett Dirksen and Rep. Gerald Ford in 1966. Each television network offered a half-hour slot for response time, although the slots were not "roadblocked" (i.e. did not air at the same time on all networks), and did not air immediately after the President's address.
Television time was first available for the opposing party's response immediately following the State of the Union in 1976.
The choice of speaker usually rotates between the opposing party's House and Senate leadership, although on several occasions party leaders have chosen multiple speakers.
A list of past speakers for the opposing party response dating back to 1990 is available after the jump.
(CNN) – President Obama has a tech-savvy reputation. But his speech Tuesday night won’t be the first presidential address to Congress to be webcast live.
Which president beat Obama to the punch on the World Wide Web?
Answer after the jump