WASHINGTON (AP) -
Declaring that upward economic mobility has stalled for millions of Americans, President Barack Obama is challenging a deeply divided Congress to restore the nation's belief in "opportunity for all" -- while telling lawmakers that he will act on his own "wherever and whenever" he can.
"America does not stand still and neither will I," Obama was saying in his State of the Union address Tuesday night. Excerpts of his remarks were released in advance.
In the address to a joint session of Congress and millions of Americans watching on television, the president planned to announce an array of executive actions to raise the minimum wage for new federal contracts, help the long-term unemployed find work and expand job-training programs. He also planned to renew his calls for Congress to expand the minimum wage increase to all workers, pass a sweeping immigration overhaul and increase access to early childhood education programs -- all initiatives that stalled after Obama first announced them in last year's State of the Union address.
While unemployment is falling and financial markets are soaring, Obama acknowledged that many Americans have yet to see effects of any broader economic recovery.
"The cold, hard fact is that even in the midst of recovery, too many Americans are working more than ever just to get by, let alone get ahead," Obama says. "And too many still aren't working at all."
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