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Chad’s Morning Brief: State of the Union Address Tonight, Republicans and Immigration, and Other Top Stories

Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of January 28, 2014. Give me your feedback below and tune in to The Chad Hasty Show for these and many more topics from 8:30 to 11am. Remember, you can listen online at KFYO.com or on your iPhone/Android with the radioPup App.

Mark Wilson, Getty Images

SOTU

President Obama will deliver the State of the Union Address tonight around 8pm. If you are driving around during that time, 790AM KFYO will carry the President’s speech live. According to FOX News, the President will spend some time talking about immigration and income equality.

President Obama is expected in his annual address Tuesday to detail what he calls “practical” proposals to advance the country in 2014, including ones to address “income inequality” and the nation’s immigration system.

But Obama will also make clear his intentions to use his executive powers to achieve his goals when Congress fails to pass legislation.

“The Republican Congress is not going to rubber-stamp the president’s agenda,” White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer told “Fox News Sunday.” “And the president is not going to sign the Republican Congress’ agenda.”

Obama, in an effort to avoid the appearance of being a lame duck president, is also expected in his State of the Union address to press Congress to extend long-term unemployment benefits and to assure Americans that they are better off with ObamaCare, despite a rocky start to the website rollout.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told ABC’s “This Week” that 2014 will be an “action year” and that the president’s signature health care law is a success — “expanding access to quality and affordable health insurance to millions of Americans and reducing the growth in health care costs.”

Still, the president will have to convince Americans, considering a recent ABC poll shows that 59 percent of them disapprove of how ObamaCare has been implemented, and to counter Republicans’ midterm election strategy of singling out and defeating Democrats who backed the law. A Fox News poll last week also showed 59 percent of voters surveyed oppose the law itself, a record high.

“If all [Obama] has to offer is more of the same, or if he refuses to acknowledge that his own policies have failed to work, the president is simply doing what many failed leaders have done before him: trying to set one group of Americans against another group of Americans,” Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said Saturday.

He also suggested the 2014 GOP agenda will continue to include efforts to replace ObamaCare, which he called “a law that’s fundamentally flawed.”

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., told CNN’s “State of the Union” that the White House’s vow to use executive power “sounds vaguely like a threat.”

“And I think it also has a certain amount of arrogance,” he added.

A lot is riding on the president’s prime time remarks this year, expected to be seen by roughly 30 million TV viewers.

He has little time to reach his goals, considering members of Congress are in part already focused on their campaigns outside of Washington. And Republicans are looking to wrest control of the Senate and keep their majority in the House.

Obama is expected to once again push for an increase in the federal minimum wage, part of his larger plan to close the country’s income-inequality gap.

The White House is backing a Democratic congressional proposal to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 over three years and index it to inflation thereafter.

Obama will probably again address his proposed reforms to the government’s surveillance efforts. Earlier this month, following former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaking U.S. surveillance secrets, he proposed new measures to overhaul the government’s sweeping program.

He is also expected to try again to get free pre kindergarten for all 4-year-olds and call attention to bipartisan legislation that would reduce criminal penalties for some drug offenders.

If you are on Twitter, you can follow me as I will be live-tweeting during the State of the Union. Today on the show I want to hear what you think the state of the country is.

House GOP and Immigration

As was mentioned above, immigration will be a big talking point in the State of the Union. Pressure will be on House Republicans to do something when it comes to immigration and amnesty. The question is, what will House Republicans and House Leadership do on the subject of immigration. The editors at National Review are urging House Republicans to do… nothing.

The House Republican leadership has been confronted by devilishly difficult tactical choices over the years. But what to do on the issue of immigration right now isn’t one of them. The correct course is easy and eminently achievable: Do nothing.

The old Reagan catchphrase calling for non-action — don’t just do something, stand there — has never been more apt. Yet the House leadership is about to roll out a set of immigration principles reportedly including an amnesty for illegal aliens, and presumably will follow up with a push to pass them through the House. This is legislative strategy as unforced error.

The basic tactical reason not to act now is that the last thing the party needs is a brutal intramural fight when it has been dealt a winning hand on Obamacare. It is not as though the public is clamoring for an immigration bill. Only 3 percent cited immigration as the biggest problem facing the country in a Gallup poll earlier this month. In the key contests that will decide partisan control of the Senate, Republican candidates are much more likely to be helped than hurt by refusing to sign onto any form of amnesty.

The other prudential reason not to act is that President Obama obviously can’t be trusted. Any immigration deal would have to trade enhanced enforcement for an amnesty. Since the president refuses to enforce key provisions of his own health-care law, let alone provisions of immigration law he finds uncongenial, he obviously can’t be relied on to follow up on his end of any bargain. It is hard to fathom how any Republican can possibly believe otherwise.

Finally, the path set out by the House leadership will — if the early reports are to be believed — represent bad policy. Unfortunately, many Republicans have convinced themselves that the key question is whether or not illegal immigrants eventually get citizenship, and insist that only a law that creates a “path to citizenship” is amnesty. They are wrong on both counts. The central question is whether illegal immigrants are allowed to work and live here legally. As soon as they are, that’s the amnesty. For most of these immigrants, eventual citizenship will be an afterthought.

The leadership is also likely to sign on to increased levels of legal immigration. In this it reflects the obsession of the business establishment, for which the answer to the dire employment crisis among low-skilled workers is always to import more low-skilled workers. We salute Senator Jeff Sessions for blowing the whistle on this folly and relentlessly making the pro-worker case against ever-higher levels of immigration.

We believe in incremental immigration reform, but pace the Republican House leadership, that doesn’t mean simply chopping up the Gang of Eight bill and passing its constituent parts piecemeal. It means insisting on real enforcement, including an E-Verify system to confirm the legal status of workers and an exit-entry system to track foreign visitors, that is up and running before anything else passes. Then there can be the grand bargain of the sort outlined by Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies in our latest issue, trading an amnesty for lower levels of legal immigration.

For now, nothing worth having can pass the Democratic Senate or get signed into law by President Obama. Rank-and-file conservatives in the House should firmly reject the course that their leadership wants to take, and convince it to reconsider. We hope, in short, that they make a clarion call for inaction.

Can’t say I disagree with this at all. The President will claim that he is compromising, but we’ve heard that before and know that all it means is that Republicans have caved. Will the GOP stand strong? They should, but I’m not holding my breath.

Other Top Stories:

Frank Gutierrez Running for City Council

Lt. Governor GOP Debate

Wendy Davis and Guns

Texas Tribune Polling on Privacy

63% Lack Confidence in Obama

NSA and Cell Phone Data

Hillary Talks Benghazi

Bloomberg Says America Must Have Amnesty 

Boehner and Immigration 

The New Face of Food Stamps 

CONTEST: KK Video Throwback Thursday Photo Contest

These and many more topics coming up on today’s edition of The Chad Hasty Show. Tune in mornings 8:30-11am on News/Talk 790 KFYO, streaming online at kfyo.com, and now on your iPhone and Android device with the radioPup App. All guest interviews can be heard online in our podcast section after the show at kfyo.com.

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