Republicans, Democrats suggest priorities ahead of State of the Union
Murkowski outlines energy plan, Obama discusses sequester
President Barack Obama and Sen. Lisa Murkowski suggested where their policy priorities may lie in their weekly addresses on the eve of Tuesday's State of the Union.
Obama spoke about the federal government's financial situation - including a passed deadline for him to submit a budget and the across-the-board spending cuts set to take effect this spring. Should Republicans and Democrats be unable to resolve their differences, he said "our economic progress could be put at risk."
Murkowski, R-Alaska, pitched an energy plan in her address.
"Energy provides the basis of modern society and allows us to lead comfortable and productive lives," she said. "As we found out during the power outage at the Super Bowl, it's also pretty important to professional football."
"My blueprint offers some 200 recommendations. These span the spectrum of resources and reforms, from the immediate approval of the Keystone XL pipeline to a trust fund for energy research that is paid for with the revenues from new production," she said.
She is the top Republican on the Senate committee responsible for energy regulations and titled her proposal "Energy 20/20: A Vision for America's Energy Future."
Her proposal is for the U.S. to gain a level of energy independence, increase the viability of renewable energy in the marketplace, and further research in the field between now and 2020.
Her proposal includes some points which Democrats generally oppose, including the Keystone oil pipeline.
But Murkowski argued her plan would benefit the U.S. economy.
Obama turned his attention to a subject which has dominated many recent weekly addresses: the federal purse.
He argued for what he calls a "balanced approach" to handling the upcoming sequester - the spending cuts Obama and the legislature imposed upon the budget.
"I believe we can finish the job the same way we've started it -- with a balanced mix of more spending cuts and more tax reform," he said.
A deal which included both spending cuts and tax increases reached at the beginning of the year temporarily delayed the deeper cuts from taking effect.
Obama repeated his argument that Republicans' opposition to further tax increases puts the "burden of avoiding those (scheduled) cuts mainly on seniors and middle-class families."
Neither party made significant progress towards resolving either issue in their weekly addresses.
But they did set out their positions ahead of the State of the Union. In his address on Tuesday, Obama is expected to go into more detail on his proposals. Republicans have selected Sen. Marco Rubio, seen as a rising star in their party and potential 2016 presidential candidate, to deliver their response.
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