“President Obama plans to tell Congress Tuesday night he is taking executive action to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour for some federal contract workers, administration officials said ahead of his State of the Union Address,” USA Today writes. “Obama will also pledge to work with Congress on legislation to increase the federal minimum wage for all workers from its current $7.25 to $10.10, said the administration officials who disclosed the plan on condition of anonymity so as not to preempt the president's speech.”
AP: “The measure affects only future contracts, not existing ones, and would only apply to contract renewals if other terms of the agreement changed. As a result, the order would benefit far fewer workers than the number foreseen by advocates of federal contract employees.”
The LA Times looks back at some themes from previous Obama State of the Union addresses.
“Gabby Giffords's gun control group will air a television ad demanding action on background checks during Tuesday's State of the Union address,” The Hill writes. “Americans for Responsible Solutions, the group founded by Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly after Giffords left Congress to lobby for legislation on gun control, will air the ad nationally during President Obama's speech.”
Fort Lee, NJ, mayor Mark Sokolich will attend the State of the Union address as a guest of Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ).
Charlie Cook’s down on the State of the Union addresses: “By the end of the process, despite the best of intentions, it will very likely sound like all of the others. Journalists will solemnly pronounce that this speech is critical for President Obama because of blah, blah, and blah, proclaiming that this State of the Union address is everything but life or death. Then, as soon as the speech is finished, media sycophants, members of the president’s party, and ideological brethren will say that it was a momentous address, one that truly rivaled Lincoln’s at Gettysburg, while the opposition party and its toadies will declare it so wrongheaded and the delivery so bad that they wonder if something might be wrong with the president.” More: “This is the way it always goes, regardless of who the president is, whether he is a Democrat or a Republican, or whether Congress is of the same party, in opposition hands, or divided. It is inevitable. On my deathbed—hopefully many, many years from now—this will be on the long list of hours that I will wish I could retrieve and spend doing almost anything else, even watching old television reruns.”
George Condon: “As grand as any State of the Union is, as commanding as he may be, as loud as he can make his voice, presidents rarely are able to set the legislative agenda in this annual event. Only a handful of times in the last half-century have presidents been able to impose their will on Congress.” He notes, “The presidents who have been best at setting the congressional agenda in the past 60 years have been Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964, George W. Bush in 2002, Dwight Eisenhower in 1956, Ronald Reagan in 1985 and 1986, Richard Nixon in 1970, and Bill Clinton in 1997.”
Folk singer Pete Seeger died at the age of 94.