Pre-school is one example of how President Obama says the government can play a constructive role in the U.S. economy. In his State of the Union speech, President Obama tried to refocus a debate that, for two years, has been all about cutting. The president is highlighting government programs that even many Republicans support.
Here's NPR's Scott Horsley.
SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: The U.S. economy is slowly recovering from the Great Recession, but President Obama says the government could be doing more to help.
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Today, the Senate took its first formal step toward overhauling immigration laws. The Judiciary Committee held a hearing to discuss what new legislation should look like. And while changing immigration law has become a bipartisan cause since the 2012 election, Republicans still presented some stiff resistance.
After more than five years of recession and painfully slow recovery, President Obama has sent a powerful signal that he thinks the U.S. economy is now in much better shape — good enough, at least, to provide workers with raises.
In his State of the Union address Tuesday night, Obama called upon Congress to boost the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour by 2015, up from the current $7.25. The wage would rise in steps, and after hitting the maximum in two years, would thereafter be indexed to inflation.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. First of all, you might be noticing that the program sounds a little bit different today. We are having some technical difficulties that are not allowing us to play some of the music and other elements you're used to hearing. But we're still going to have great conversations.