• State of the Union Primer
  • January 20, 2016
  • Law Firm: McDonald Hopkins LLC - Cleveland Office
  • Tonight, President Barack Obama is delivering his final State of the Union address. The President’s final State of the Union is expected to be broader and less specific than in years past. Here is a quick look at what the key components of the speech are expected to be:


    President Obama will speak at length about education. He will praise the bipartisan reforms of No Child Left Behind as an important starting point. President Obama will point to efforts on his watch that have increased early childhood education, lifted high school graduation rates to new highs, and boosted graduates in fields like engineering.

    The President will call for Pre-K for all children, will say that we should be offering every student hands-on computer science and math classes, and he will call on the nation to recruit and support more highly qualified teachers.

    Additionally, President Obama is expected to tackle the issue of college student loans as well as the rising costs of a college education. He will also renew his call to provide two years of community college at no cost to every student in the country.

    Trans-Pacific Partnership

    Trade, once an issue that united Republicans, has become an increasingly divisive one - even among GOPers. The 11-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will be one of the top legislative items that President Obama will hope to tick off before he leaves office in January of 2017. President Obama will call for Congress pass the TPP - claiming it will raise labor standards, raise environmental standards, and increase jobs at home and abroad.

    Closing Guantanamo

    Seeking to make good on a campaign promise from 2008 before he leaves office next January, President Obama will announce he is continuing his efforts to close the American base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

    Climate change

    On the heels of the Paris climate change summit, President Obama will once again call attention to climate change and the impacts of it. Additionally, the President will urge that the country make investments in next generation technologies and move away from our dependence on fossil fuels.


    In the wake of the death of the son of Vice President Joe Biden, President Obama will use tonight’s State of the Union to call for a concerted effort to find a cure for cancer similar to the effort the nation mounted to put a man on the moon.

    President Obama will say that he is “putting Joe Biden in charge of Mission Control” on this “moonshot” effort.

    Unfinished business

    While most of President Obama’s speech tonight focuses more on the big picture - and what he says is not the next year but the next five or ten years - he does list a number of items that he says he will continue to fight for in his final year in office including: “Fixing a broken immigration system. Protecting our kids from gun violence. Equal pay for equal work, paid leave, raising the minimum wage.”