NEWS AND ISSUES, POLITICS

State of the Union preview

January 24, 2014

President Obama is set to deliver his fifth State of the Union address on Tuesday, January 28 at 9 pm ET. This week, Jared Rizzi, host of the POTUS channel’s Week at the White House, looked at some of the relevant issues that he will likely address, including privacy laws, education, gun control, immigration and unemployment benefits. Here is a preview of where we stand with each issue going into Tuesday’s speech.

1) The NSA and Privacy Law

After American computer specialist and former CIA employee Edward Snowden leaked top secret documents to the media detailing the NSA’s global surveillance measures, privacy and intelligence gathering laws came to the forefront in the United States. Geoffery Stone, law professor at the university of Chicago and one of five legal minds President Obama tapped to be part of the review group on signals intelligence, reveals some of the biggest changes we can expect.

“The government will not be allowed to hold the metadata, that’s huge. [President Obama] also accepted the recommendation that the NSA would not be able to access that information without a court order, which is also a dramatic change and makes a huge difference. I was also very pleased with his embrace of the idea of an independent privacy advocate who would represent privacy and civil liberty issues before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance court,” Stone said.

Listen for more changes the president agreed to.

2) Education and Gun Violence

Two areas where the president has gone far with executive actions and executive orders, according to Rizzi, are education and combating gun violence.

3) Immigration

Immigration reform has been a big part of President Obama’s past State of the Union speeches, says Rizzi. And this year should be no different. The senate did pass a bill recently that met the president’s standards of fairness, but The House has let it languish. Listen to what Rizzi’s guest Ted Alden, senior fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations, thinks might pass The House.

4) Unemployment Insurance Benefits

Unemployment insurance benefits expired for over a million Americans just after Christmas 2013, and that number has continued to grow in the following weeks. “I meet a lot of people as president of the united states… I meet a lot of people. And I can’t name a time where I met an American who would rather have an unemployment check than the pride of having a job,” President Obama said in a recent speech in which he cited a number of reasons to extend the benefits.

Rep. Sandy Levin (D-MI 9th) Ranking Member, House Ways & Means Committee has led the house on this issue, insisting that the president will push for extended unemployment insurancance benefits in his speech. Listen below to him talk about these “invisible” citizens.

Hear the State of the Union on Tuesday, January 28 at 9 pm ET on POTUS, Ch. 124, SiriusXM Progress, Ch. 127 and SiriusXM Patriot, Ch. 125 with commentary from hosts and expert guests immediately following the speech.

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