The economy and unity were the key themes tonight as President Obama gave his annual State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress. The mood was somber with the memory of the Tucson shootings fresh in lawmakers’ minds and many crossed party lines to sit together, but when it comes to policy the divisions are still there.
There was a new sense of unity on Capitol Hill as lawmakers welcomed President Obama for the State of the Union address.
“What comes of this moment will be determined not by whether we can sit together tonight, but whether we can work together tomorrow,” he said.
The president spoke to a divided Congress, but many Republicans and Democrats sat together in the wake of the shooting that wounded their colleague, Gabriel Giffords.
Ribbons honored the Tucson victims. The family of the youngest victim and some of the tragedy's heroes sat next to the First Lady.
“We will move forward together, or not at all for the challenges we face are bigger than party, and bigger than politics,” President Obama said.
In prodding Congress to work with him, the president focused on the economy.
He proposed targeted spending in education, technology and infrastructure.
“At stake is whether new jobs and industries take root in this country or somewhere else.”
President Obama tried to balance what he calls new investments, with a five-year budget freeze on everything but defense and entitlement programs like Social Security.
Republicans who now control the House say the president’s plan doesn’t go far enough to get spending under control.
“The American people know that we can’t continue to borrow and spend our way to prosperity,” said House Speaker John Boehner.
Republicans picked the head of The House Budget Committee to offer their official response while Minnesota Republican Michele Bachmann said she would speak on behalf of the Tea Party
So while both sides did manage to sit together, they still find themselves far apart on most issues.