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Obama to Discuss Economy, Foreign Policy in State of the Union


President Barack Obama arrives on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington on Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Barack Obama arrives on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington on Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Barack Obama is preparing to speak to the American people on Tuesday. The leader has traveled around the United States discussing issues he is likely to include in the annual State of the Union. The address is held before both houses of Congress and televised live for the nation.

Mr. Obama is expected to center the speech on his administration’s successes at home. The president’s popularity ratings have increased recently with U.S. economic improvements and lower unemployment.

However, experts say the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and Americans’ concerns about threats from extremists give him reason to discuss foreign policy as well.

The attacks against the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris have shown that there is still much to do in the fight against terrorism.

In 2014, Mr. Obama launched a bombing campaign and sent military advisors to help train allied forces to fight Islamic State militants. But that battle, the president has said, will take years. President Obama is also expected to discuss his effort for a deal to prevent Iran from having nuclear weapons.

Larry Korb served as Mr. Obama’s campaign foreign policy adviser. He says the president will see more of a reason to discuss domestic issues rather than international ones.

Among the foreign policy issues facing the administration are U.S. relations with Russia. They have been at a low point because of Russia's involvement in Ukraine. However, Mr. Korb says it is unlikely the president will speak too much about the complex relationship. He says that is especially the case after Russians assisted U.S. astronauts during an emergency on the International space station.

Mr. Obama is also expected to note his deal with China on climate change, and the deployment of U.S. troops to West Africa to help contain the Ebola virus outbreak.

At home, falling unemployment and increasing manufacturing has been good news.

Some manufacturers are reporting improved business conditions. Drew Greenblatt is the Chief of Marlin Steel Wire Products in Baltimore. The company uses American steel and robotic machinery to manufacture products for export. Drew Greenblatt says his company pays competitive wages, benefits and performance incentives.

Mr. Greenblatt says American businesses need more trade deals, a better system of taxation and intellectual property protections to continue to grow.

President Obama noted American manufacturing gains while visiting a factory in Tennessee earlier this month. Mr. Obama said the economy had added 786,000 manufacturing jobs in the last 58 months. He also announced a new program to bring government, companies and colleges together to create more high-technology jobs.

President Obama will give the State of the Union address on January 20th.

I’m Mario Ritter.

Luis Ramirez and Aru Pande reported this story for VOA. Mario Ritter adapted for Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.

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Words in This Story

annual – adj. happening once a year

address – n. a formal or official speech

benefits – n. extra things that a company or government pays for as part of what a worker receives in return for the labor

incentives - n. extra pay or other things paid to a worker

intellectual property - n. property that is an idea, invention or process that comes from a person’s mind

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