Obama goes 8 for 20 from last year’s State of Union pledges

  • ** FILE ** President Barack Obama, flanked by Vice President Joseph R. Biden and House Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio, gives his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)** FILE ** President Barack Obama, flanked by Vice President Joseph R. Biden and House Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio, gives his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)
  • President Barack Obama gives his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)President Barack Obama gives his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
  • Secretary of State John Kerry, right, greets Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., center, and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz, before President Barack Obama's State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)Secretary of State John Kerry, right, greets Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., center, and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz, before President Barack Obama's State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
  • Supreme Court Justices, from left, Chief Justice John Roberts, Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan await the start of President Barack Obama's State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)Supreme Court Justices, from left, Chief Justice John Roberts, Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan await the start of President Barack Obama's State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)
  • Outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, left, shakes hands with Chief Justice John Roberts before President Barack Obama's State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak Pool)Outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, left, shakes hands with Chief Justice John Roberts before President Barack Obama's State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak Pool)
  • From left, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. sit on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013, before President Barack Obama's State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress . (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)From left, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. sit on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013, before President Barack Obama's State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress . (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)
  • Bobak Ferdowsi, flight director, Mars Curiosity Rover, arrives as a guest of first lady Michelle Obama for President Barack Obama's State of the Union address, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2103, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)Bobak Ferdowsi, flight director, Mars Curiosity Rover, arrives as a guest of first lady Michelle Obama for President Barack Obama's State of the Union address, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2103, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
  • Apple CEO Tim Cook sits as a guest of first lady Michelle Obama prior to the start of President Barack Obama's State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress, Tuesday, Feb.12, 2013,  on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)Apple CEO Tim Cook sits as a guest of first lady Michelle Obama prior to the start of President Barack Obama's State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress, Tuesday, Feb.12, 2013, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
  • Ted Nuggent awaits the start of President Barack Obama's State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)Ted Nuggent awaits the start of President Barack Obama's State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
  • Vice President Joe Biden, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., left, Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee, D-Texas, right, and others arrive on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2103, for President Barack Obama's State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)Vice President Joe Biden, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., left, Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee, D-Texas, right, and others arrive on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2103, for President Barack Obama's State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., talks with Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md. on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013, before President Barack Obama's State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak Pool)Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., talks with Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md. on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013, before President Barack Obama's State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak Pool)
  • Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., left, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev. arrive on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013 for President Barack Obama's State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., left, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev. arrive on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013 for President Barack Obama's State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)
  • House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. arrives for President Barack Obama's State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. arrives for President Barack Obama's State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
  • Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J. arrives for President Barack Obama's State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J. arrives for President Barack Obama's State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
  • First lady Michelle Obama stands with Cleopatra Cowley-Pendelton before President Barack Obama's State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)First lady Michelle Obama stands with Cleopatra Cowley-Pendelton before President Barack Obama's State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
  • From left, Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey and outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta talk prior to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)From left, Supreme CourtJustice Elena Kagan, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey and outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta talk prior to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)
  • President Barack Obama is greeted before his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)President Barack Obama is greeted before his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)
  • President Barack Obama has lipstick wiped from his face as he arrive to give his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)President Barack Obama has lipstick wiped from his face as he arrive to give his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
  • Vice President Joe Biden talks with House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio before President Barack Obama's State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)Vice President Joe Biden talks with House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio before President Barack Obama's State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
  • President Barack Obama is greeted before giving his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)President Barack Obama is greeted before giving his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)
  • Secretary of State John Kerry greets President Barack Obama before the president's State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. Sen.Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. is at right, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is at center. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)Secretary of State John Kerry greets President Barack Obama before the president's State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. Sen.Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. is at right, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is at center. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)
  • President Barack Obama gestures toward Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio before giving his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)President Barack Obama gestures toward Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio before giving his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)
  • President Barack Obama waves before giving his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio stand behind the president. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)President Barack Obama waves before giving his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio stand behind the president. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)
  • President Barack Obama, flanked by Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, gestures as he gives his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)President Barack Obama, flanked by Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, gestures as he gives his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)
  • President Barack Obama gives his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)President Barack Obama gives his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
  • President Obama gestures while giving his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)President Obama gestures while giving his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
  • First lady Michelle Obama is applauded before President Barck Obama's State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. Front row, from left are, Sgt. Sheena Adms, Nathaniel Pendleton, Cleopatra Cowley-Pendleton, Mrs, Obama, Menchu de Luna Sanchez and Jill Biden. Second row, third from left are, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, Deb Carey and Apple CEO Tim Cook Amanda McMillian, Lt. Brian Murphy, (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)First lady Michelle Obama is applauded before President Barck Obama's State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. Front row, from left are, Sgt. Sheena Adms, Nathaniel Pendleton, Cleopatra Cowley-Pendleton, Mrs, Obama, Menchu de Luna Sanchez and Jill Biden. Second row, third from left are, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, Deb Carey and Apple CEO Tim Cook Amanda McMillian, Lt. Brian Murphy, (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
  • House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio listens at right as President Barack Obama gives his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio listens at right as President Barack Obama gives his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)
  • House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of Calif. left, and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor listen during President Barack Obama's State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of Calif. left, and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor listen during President Barack Obama's State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
  • President Barack Obama, flanked by Vice President John Biden and House Speaker John Boehner smiles as he gives his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)President Barack Obama, flanked by Vice President John Biden and House Speaker John Boehner smiles as he gives his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)
  • Vice President Joe Biden applauds as President Barack Obama gives his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio sits at right. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)Vice President Joe Biden applauds as President Barack Obama gives his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio sits at right. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)
  • From left, Attorney General Eric Holder, outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Secretary of State John Kerry applaud  during President Barack Obama's State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)From left, Attorney General Eric Holder, outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Secretary of State John Kerry applaud during President Barack Obama's State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
  • President Barack Obama gestures as he gives his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)President Barack Obama gestures as he gives his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)
  • President Barack Obama gives his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)President Barack Obama gives his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)
  • President Barack Obama gestures as he gives his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)President Barack Obama gestures as he gives his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)

It was one of the best one-liners of any recent State of the Union address: President Obama, joking about government waste, said the Commerce Department is in charge of salmon fishing in saltwater, the Interior Department handles them when they’re in freshwater — “and I hear it gets even more complicated once they’re smoked.”

The quip drew guffaws from lawmakers assembled for the 2011 speech. But two years later, it is one of the many State of the Union promises that got away.


SEE ALSO: Obama outlines activist second term in State of the Union


Presidents of both parties regularly use these addresses to deliver what one scholar called a “policy garbage can” — the sorts of things that a chief executive would do if he were king.

Of 20 policies Mr. Obama called for in last year’s address and reviewed by The Washington Times, he has checked off eight, and two others are still in the works. But most of those he was able to accomplish through administration actions.

Three of his accomplishments involved congressional action: extending the payroll-tax cut through 2012, enacting a ban on insider trading for members of Congress, and halting an interest-rate hike for student loans. Of those, only the insider-trading bill is permanent.

Analysts said he likely will renew his call this year for some of the 10 other proposals he didn’t get finished — but will make clear he also is willing to take executive action if Congress doesn’t cooperate.

“I’ve seen a lot of State of the Unions, and usually they’re a wish list, and a president doesn’t get half of what he wishes for, but he keeps plugging on those he thinks are important,” said Donald Wolfensberger, a senior scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars who studies Congress. “My understanding is tonight [the president] will be making reference to a number of executive orders he will be taking initiative on, rather than waiting for Congress.”

Indeed, that’s the route he took in 2012, when he used his speech to highlight orders he issued calling for more leasing of offshore lands for oil and gas exploration, clearing up what he said was red tape holding up federal construction projects, and pushing for more clean-energy production on federal lands.

He also established a financial crimes unit designed to go after big Wall Street players the administration suspects of fraud, and created a trade-enforcement branch to push back against what the U.S. thinks are unfair practices by foreign trading partners.

Many federal agencies clammed up when asked whether Mr. Obama followed through on pledges. The Justice, Commerce and Education departments, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, all failed to return messages asking about 2012 wish-list items within their purviews.

But the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office said the enforcement branch Mr. Obama set up last year has made great strides, providing analysis and research that bolstered U.S. filings with the World Trade Organization on some of China’s export controls and import licensing by Argentina and Indonesia.

In the case of China’s automobile exports, the unit analyzed provincial government actions to see if they counted as illegal subsidies, said Carol J. Guthrie, assistant U.S. trade representative for public affairs.

The government’s deep deficits repeatedly have helped sink the president’s calls for more stimulus and infrastructure spending, which is why on Tuesday he was expected to pointedly note that his new round of job-creation plans is paid for by taxes elsewhere.

“Let me repeat — nothing I’m proposing tonight should increase our deficit by a single dime,” he said in his prepared remarks. “It’s not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government that sets priorities and invests in broad-based growth.”

But his calls for tax increases also have met with resistance in the past. His 2012 State of the Union push for a minimum corporate tax, his demand for a new transaction fee on Wall Street deals, and the “Buffett rule” minimum tax rate for the wealthy all failed.

Story Continues →

View Entire Story

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
TWT Video Picks