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Highlights from the State of the Union address

SOTU-600Whether you missed President Barack Obama's State of the Union Address Tuesday evening or just need a refresher, here are some of his main points:

- Noting that more than 1,000 people have died from gun violence since the Connecticut school massacre, President Obama said proposals ranging from expanded background checks to limiting the size of ammunition magazines should receive a vote in Congress. "They deserve a simple vote," Obama repeated to sustained applause in what was the evening's most emotional moment with the families of gun violence victims in attendance.

- Congress should raise the federal minimum wage to $9, so that it "finally becomes a wage you can live on."

- Saying "colleges must do their part to keep costs down," President Obama said he wanted Congress to revise federal law to make affordability and value part of the criteria determining whether schools get certain types of federal aid.

- President Obama said he'd work with states "to make high-quality preschool available to every child" in the United States.

- Proposals he offered to bolster the economy would not add "a single dime" to the budget deficit," said the President. "It's not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government."

- President Obama called for a "bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change," one which he said would drive "economic growth." "If Congress won't act soon to protect future generations, I will," Obama said, noting that he's prepared to "come up with executive actions" in place of legislation.

- President Obama called for "bipartisan, comprehensive tax reform that encourages job creation and helps bring down the deficit" – one that he said could include closing "tax loopholes and deductions for the well-off and well-connected," making the tax code simpler for small business owners and diminishing incentives for businesses to move jobs overseas, among other proposals.

- Sounding an optimistic tone after years of economic struggles and partisan battles, President Obama said that "together, we have cleared away the rubble of crisis and can say with renewed confidence that the state of our union is stronger."

- Another 34,000 U.S. troops will leave Afghanistan this year, President Obama said. "And by the end of next year, our war in Afghanistan will be over."

Source: CNN

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