WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama will deliver his annual State of the Union address tonight in Washington and many expect that during the speech, he’ll challenge the Republican-led Congress to back his tax-raising ideas for helping middle-class Americans.
Obama will push a plan to increase taxes by $320 billion over 10 years on the wealthy by closing tax loopholes and imposing a fee on big financial firms. The money would be used to pay for an increase in benefits for the middle class.
Obama’s aim is to help those left behind by an economic revival taking hold six years into his tenure and which began with the Democrat facing a crippling financial crisis.
Obama’s proposals are already being viewed skeptically by Republicans who control both houses of Congress and who are in no mood to raise taxes on anyone.
But White House officials are betting that Republicans, also under pressure to help the middle class and needing to prove they can govern, will be willing to compromise on some aspects of the plan.
The proposals are also likely to be the subject of a debate among potential candidates to replace him in 2016, a campaign that is just now getting started.
The speech will also allow Obama to update Americans on the struggle against Islamic extremists, two weeks after 17 people were killed in Paris attacks.
He will also defend his decision to seek to normalize diplomatic relations with Cuba.
The state of the union will be delivered before congress and will be broadcast at 9 p.m. tonight on most major network television stations.