- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 17, 2015

President Obama on Saturday hyped next week’s State of the Union address and said he’ll use the once-a-year speech to tout America’s economic progress over the last six years while also putting pressure on Republicans to end their “political games.”

The president will deliver his State of the Union address on Tuesday night to a joint session of Congress. Over the past several weeks, the White House has offered previews of that speech by announcing action to limit methane emissions in the oil-and-gas industry, enhance cybersecurity, promote paid-leave policies in the federal government and in the private sector, and in other areas.

The president said Americans should tune in Tuesday to hear more about his agenda for the next two years.

“Our job now is to make sure that every American feels that they’re a part of our country’s comeback. That’s what I’ll focus on in my State of the Union — how to build on our momentum, with rising wages, growing incomes, and a stronger middle class,” Mr. Obama said in his weekly address. “And I’ll call on this new Congress to join me in putting aside the political games and finding areas where we agree so we can deliver for the American people.”

But Republicans fired back and charged that it is the president who is stopping progress and playing political. Mr. Obama has issued six veto threats in less than two weeks, including on legislation to build the popular Keystone XL oil pipeline.

“Now President Obama doesn’t agree with our direction, the one that you, the voters, asked us to take, and he has threatened to block your progress,” said Rep. Steve Russell, Oklahoma Republican, in the GOP weekly address. “But we challenge him to listen to the people instead of standing in the way of your future.”

While the two sides already are engaged in political battles, Tuesday’s address will mark the unofficial beginning of Mr. Obama’s final two years in office. During those two years, he will for the first time clash with a Congress under full Republican control.

“All of us have a right to be proud of the progress America has made,” he said of his record during the past six years. “And I hope you’ll tune in on Tuesday to hear about the steps we can take to build on this progress, and to seize this moment together.”

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