Des Moines Register Chief Political Reporter Jennifer Jacobs joins us to discuss yesterday’s Iowa Freedom Summit, which featured 23 prominent Republicans, seven of which who have expressed interest in running for President in 2016.
Steve Scheffler, President of the Iowa Fairth and Freedom Coalition and the National Committeeman for the Iowa Republican State Committee, and Fergus Cullen, former Chair of the New Hampshire Republican Party, join us to discuss how the 2016 Republican presidential contests are shaping up nationally and in the early contests of Iowa and New Hapshire. We’ll also discuss yesterday’s Iowa Freedom Summit and what to look for in the months ahead.
In his annual State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress, President Obama outlined his priorities for legislative action and the American people. While citing improvements in the economy, employment, the housing market, energy costs, and health care coverage, he emphasized the need for continued progress. Among the topics he addressed were gender income inequality and raising the ??minimum wage, infrastructure improvements, providing paid sick leave and child care, and providing free community college. He also talked about the crime rate, racial relations, and reforming policing. On foreign policy and national security, the president renewed his commitment to both anti-terrorism and diplomatic efforts such as reestablishing relations with Cuba and calling again for the closing of the Guantanamo detention facilities.
Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) delivered the Republican response to President Obama’s 2015 State of the Union address from the Armed Services Committee Room in the Russell Senate Office Building. In her remarks she focused on the efforts of the new Republican-controlled Congress to respond to the priorities of the American people. She talked about her background as a mother and soldier and her parents' struggles. Topics included fighting terrorism, tax reform, and the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew spoke about the state of the U.S. economy and outlined President Obama’s business tax code proposals the day after President Obama’s State of the Union address. Secretary Lew said the current tax code made it hard for U.S. businesses to grow and invest but that he was optimistic there was bipartisan support for achieving tax reform.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang addressed the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. He spoke about China’s economic structure and plans for development, saying China had no intention of competing for supremacy over other countries. He also spoke about some of the crises around the world, and responded to questions on currency and exchange rates.
The World Economic Forum is an annual event attended by world leaders in politics, economics, philanthropy and business.
U.S. Conference of Mayors President Kevin Johnson (D) gave the State of the Cities address at the annual winter conference in Washington, D.C. He said the State of the Union was strong because the State of Cities was strong. He also said mayors could no longer wait for directives from the federal government but needed to generate new ideas to keep cities thriving. Pollster Frank Luntz then outlined public opinions on mayoral issues. He said that people trust mayors more than other elected leaders, expecting efficient, effective, and accountable leadership. New mayors were also introduced. A video was shown from a Wells Fargo Neighborhood Lift program in New Orleans as a new grant program was announced.
This was the opening plenary luncheon during the 83rd Conference of Mayors Winter Meeting, held at the Capitol Hilton.
Michelle Flounoy, CEO of Center for a New American Security and former Defense Undersecretary for the Obama Administration, joins us to discuss her recent piece in the Washington Post, which addressed the issue of U.S. national security and the need for bipartisan support. She will also discuss the current situation in Yemen, ISIS, and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
In her annual report to Congress, Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson says that budget cuts have produced problems with the IRS' customer service. She will discuss the areas most affected by these cuts and what the IRS is doing to resolve the issues.