WASHINGTON - Liberal icon Bernie Sanders is blasting President Donald Trump for what he did not say during his State of the Union address.
The 2016 presidential candidate used his Facebook page to broadcast his own retort to Trump at the same time Massachusetts Rep. Joseph Kennedy III offered the Democratic Party's official response.
Sanders notes Trump didn't mention Social Security or Medicare, despite promises as a candidate to protect the popular programs.
The Vermont senator also cites wealth inequality and climate change as fundamental threats Trump failed to address.
Sanders recalls Trump touting his commitment to clean air and clean water. The senator says he struggled ``not to laugh out loud'' in the House chamber.
Sanders is still deciding whether to run for president again in 2020.
President Donald Trump's first State of the Union address clocked in at one hour and 20 minutes.
According to the American Presidency Project, that makes Trump's speech one of the longest State of the Union addresses in recent presidential hitory.
President Bill Clinton's final State of the Union speech in January 2000 ran longer than Trump's at just over an hour and 28 minutes.
Clinton delivered another lengthy State of the Union address _ an hour and 24 minutes _ in January 1995.
Trump spoke for exactly one hour last year when he addressed a joint session of Congress, but that was not a State of the Union address.
President Donald Trump says his administration is waging a ``maximum pressure'' campaign to prevent North Korea's ``reckless pursuit of nuclear missiles'' from threatening the U.S. homeland.
Trump says that threat could be a reality soon. He says past U.S. experience with North Korea shows that ``complacency and concessions only invite aggression and provocation.''
Trump is praising Ji Seong-ho, who is attending the State of the Union speech. Ji was born in North Korea and lost limbs in a train accident before defecting to South Korea, where he helps other defectors. Trump says his ``great sacrifice is an inspiration to us all.''
President Donald Trump is commemorating Otto Warmbier as makes the point about the dangers posed by North Korea.
Warmbier was sentenced to 15 years in prison with hard labor after being convicted of subversion. He tearfully confessed he had tried to steal a propaganda banner.
The University of Virginia student was held for more than 17 months and medically evacuated from North Korea. He returned with severe brain damage and died shortly after his return.
Trump recognized Warmbier's parents during his State of the Union address. As he did so, Fred and Cindy Warmbier were moved to tears.
Trump calls them ``powerful witnesses to a menace that threatens our world.''
President Donald Trump says his administration is waging a ``maximum pressure'' campaign to prevent North Korea's ``reckless pursuit of nuclear missiles'' from threatening the U.S. homeland.
Trump says that threat could be a reality soon. He says past U.S. experience with North Korea shows that ``complacency and concessions only invite aggression and provocation.''
Trump is praising the parents of American college student Otto Warmbier, who died shortly after being released from detention in North Korea. His parents are attending Trump's State of the Union address.
Also attending is Ji Seong-ho, who was born in North Korea and lost limbs in a train accident before defecting to South Korea, where he helps other defectors. Trump says his ``great sacrifice is an inspiration to us all.''
Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi is extending her hands to try quieting Democratic colleagues as they groan after President Donald Trump's call for ending ``chain migration.''
For many lawmakers, the reference is offensive. They say it discredits an immigration system that is family-centric, one in which immigrants are allowed family members to the country.
Trump is calling his immigration proposals a ``down-the-middle compromise,'' prompting brief laughter from Democratic lawmakers.
Trump has prefaced his calls for an immigration overhaul by highlighting the threat posed by MS-13, the violent street gang with Central American ties.
He is capping his immigration remarks by saying, ``let us come together, set politics aside, and finally get the job done.''
President Donald Trump says ``unmatched power'' is the surest defense against threats from rogue regimes, terrorist groups and rivals like China and Russia.
He says that's why he's asking Congress to remove budget caps on defense spending and fully fund the U.S. military.
The president says the U.S. defense must also include a nuclear weapons arsenal so strong and powerful that it will deter any acts of aggresion.
Trump says that maybe someday will come a ``magical moment'' when nations of the world will unite and eliminate their nuclear weapons.
But he says, ``We are not there yet.''
Trump has threatened to use military force to deter North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons. He also has boasted that he has a bigger nuclear ``button'' than North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
President Donald Trump says his government needs ``all necessary power'' to detain terrorists ``wherever we chase them down.''
Trump signed an order earlier Tuesday directing his defense secretary to re-examine the U.S. military detention policy and to keep the detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, open.
Trump says that ``In the past, we have foolishly released hundreds and hundreds of dangerous terrorists, only to meet them again on the battlefield.''
He adds: ``Terrorists are not merely criminals. They are unlawful enemy combatants.'' He says that when they are captured overseas, they should be treated like ``the terrorists they are.''
President Donald Trump is calling on Congress to ``set politics aside'' and overhaul the nation's immigration system during his State of the Union speech.
Trump is blaming ``deadly loopholes'' and ``open borders'' for allowing drugs and gangs ``to pour into our most vulnerable communities''
He's highlighting his case with the stories of two families whose daughters were killed by members of the MS-13 gang.
Trump tells the families that ``320 million hearts'' are breaking as he shares their stories with the nation.
Trump's plan would provide a path to citizenship for nearly 2 million young immigrants living in the country illegally. It would also severely limit legal immigration and provide $25 billion for his promised border wall.
Trump says his plan ``will create a safe, modern and lawful immigation system.''
President Donald Trump says he's committed to the ``long and difficult'' fight against the epidemic of opioid and drug addiction.
He is predicting in his State of the Union address that America ultimately will prevail over a crisis that claims 174 lives daily.
Trump campaigned on the opioid issue and created a presidential advisory commission upon taking office. He recently declared the crisis a public health emergency, but the declaration did not come with additional funding.
Trump also recognized special guest Ryan Holets, an Albuquerque, New Mexico, police officer who was seated in first lady Melania Trump's guest box.
Holets and his wife adopted the baby of a pregnant, homeless woman he saw preparing to inject herself with heroin.
President Donald Trump is calling on Congress to pass legislation to generate at least $1.5 trillion to upgrade the nation's roads, bridges and other infrastructure.
Trump is using his State of the Union address to appeal to Republicans and Democrats to come together to provide the safe, fast, reliable and modern infrastructure that he says the economy needs to thrive and Americans deserve.
The president says every federal dollar should be leveraged by partnering with state and local governments, and tapping private-sector investment where appropriate.
Trump says an infrastructure bill must also streamline the permitting and approval process, getting it down to no more than two years and perhaps even one.
President Donald Trump is taking a softer approach to a highly charged issue in his State of the Union speech.
Trump is using the story of 12-year-old Preston Sharp to drive home his case that Americans should stand for the national anthem.
Sharp organized a campaign to put flags on fallen veterans' graves.
Trump says, ``Preson's reverence for those who have served our Nation reminds us why we salute our flag, why we put our hands on our hearts for the pledge of allegiance, and why we proudly stand for the national anthem.''
Trump has hurled harsh rhetoric against football players who knelt during the national anthem to protest racism and police brutality.
Trump has said those players should be fired and called on fans to boycott their games.
Half the House chamber is boisterous and bouncing up and down for standing ovations during President Donald Trump's State of the Union address. The other half is somber and still, amid a sea of black clothes.
It is as if Republicans and Democrats are attending two separate events.
Republicans are applauding and cheering as Trump talks about making America great again, and his late 2017 victory revamping the tax code.
Democrats are barely reacting to Trump's remarks, though they did join in the applause for emergency responders and veterans.
As Trump entered the chamber before his speech, nearly all Democrats were seated and quiet in less than 20 seconds. Democratic Rep. Bill Pascrell of New Jersey waved a pocket copy of the Constitution.
President Donald Trump is telling the stories of ordinary people to help illustrate themes in his State of the Union address.
Trump opened by highlighting Ashlee Leppert, a U.S. Coast Guard petty officer who was aboard one of the first helicopters on the scene in Houston during Hurricane Harvey. He mentioned firefighter David Dahlberg, who rescued dozens of children trapped in a California summer camp threatened by wildfires.
Trump illustrated the tax cuts he signed into law last year by introducing small-business owners from Ohio. Trump said Steve Staub and Sandy Keplinger are giving out raises, hiring workers and expanding their business because of tax code changes.
An then there's Preston Sharp from California. Trump lauded the 12-year-old for starting an effort to place U.S. flags on veterans' graves.
President Donald Trump is celebrating a booming economy in his State of the Union address.
Trump says 2.4 million jobs have been created since his election and says wages are going up.
He's talking up the unemployment rate and says the stock market ``has smashed one record after another, gaining $8 trillion in value.''
Trump is also promising that millions of Americans will be taking home more pay starting next month thanks to the ``massive'' tax cuts he signed into law at the end of 2017.
Republicans are looking for Trump to help convince the country that they've made progress while in charge ahead of the upcoming 2018 midterm elections.
President Donald Trump says the state of the union is strong ``because our people are strong.''
And he adds that together ``we are building a safe, strong and proud America.''
Trump opened his first State of the Union address Tuesday night by recognizing the bravery of Americans who helped each other through a series of devastating hurricanes, wildfires and mass shootings during his first year in office.
He also paid tribute to House Majority Whip Steve Scalise. The Louisiana Republican was severely wounded last year when a gunman opened fire on Republican lawmakers as they practiced for an upcoming congressional baseball game.
President Donald Trump is kicking off his State of the Union speech with recollections of the year past.
Trump is talking about the hurricanes that devastated states including Florida and Texas, and the wildfires that ripped through Texas.
He says, ``We have shared in the heights of victory and the pains of hardship.''
He's telling those affected by the devastation that ``we ae with you'' and ``we will pull through together.''
The parents of Otto Warmbier, the American student who died of injuries suffered in North Korean custody, are in the audience at the State of the Union.
That's according to a congressional source who requested anonymity because the invitation hadn't been announced.
Trump was expected to pay tribute to Warmbier's parents, Fred and Cindy, during Tuesday's speech.
Trump is trying to prevent North Korea from obtaining a nuclear weapon and the means to deliver one.
Warmbier was imprisoned in North Korea for 17 months and died shortly after being returned to the U.S. He visited North Korea with a Chinese tourist company.
The White House says President Donald Trump has signed a new executive order to keep the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay open.
Trump said during his campaign that he wanted to keep Guantanamo open and ``load it up with some bad dudes.'' But the White House announcement just before Tuesday's State of the Union address marks a formal reversal of President Barack Obama's eight-year effort to close the detention center.
The order preserves military detention as a counterterrorism tool by keeping the prison open.
President George W. Bush opened Guantanamo after Sept. 11 to hold and interrogate suspected enemy combatants. At its peak in 2003, it held about 680 detainees.
Bush transferred about 500 out before leaving office. Obama transferred 197 detainees out, leaving 41.
President Donald Trump has arrived in the House chamber to deliver his first State of the Union address.
Cheers and applause rang out as Trump was introduced by the Sergeant at Arms.
Trump shook hands with lawmakers, waved and pointed at some as he inched his way down the center aisle.
Nearly every Democratic lawmaker stopped clapping seconds after the president entered the chamber. Many remained seated.
Trump accented his dark suit with a bright blue tie for the occasion.
President Donald Trump's motorcade passed a group of protesters near the U.S. Capitol as the president traveled to the annual State of the Union address.
About 100 protesters chanted near a location by the U.S. Botanical Gardens on Independence Avenue, a few blocks from the Capitol. Demonstrators held signs that said ``You're Fired,'' and the word L-I-A-R lit up in yellow lights.
Trump's short motorcade ride took him around the Washington Monument and near the Tidal Basin with a view of the Jefferson Memorial in the distance.
Melania Trump received a standing ovation as she entered the House chamber to take her seat for the State of the Union address.
The first lady _ wearing a white Dior pantsuit _ arrived at the Capitol before President Donald Trump, a change from last year, when they rode together in the limousine.
Mrs. Trump's spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, says the first lady went early to accompany guests whose stories amplify the president's agenda and who will sit in her guest box.
The first lady hadn't been seen in public with Trump since The Wall Street Journal reported this month that, in 2016, Trump's lawyer paid porn star Stormy Daniels $130,000 to keep quiet about an affair she had with Trump. Daniels issued a statement Tuesday denying the affair.
Democrats crowding the House chamber are letting buttons _ and the color of their clothes _ send messages.
Many are wearing rectangular lapel buttons that say ``TIME'S UP,'' a statement against workplace sexual harassment. Several members of Congress have ended their careers lately over harassment allegations, and the buttons were distributed at a morning meeting of Democratic lawmakers.
Some are wearing red buttons that say ``RECY.'' That is a tribute to Recy Taylor, a black woman from a rural Alabama sharecropping family who was gang-raped by six white men in 1944. No charges were brought despite confessions, but her case became a galvanizing force for the civil rights movement.
Virtually all Democratic women are dressed in black, a show of support for the (hash)MeToo movement.
First lady Melania Trump has traveled to Capitol Hill separately from her husband, President Donald Trump, ahead of his State of the Union speech.
That's a change from last year when the first couple made the trip up Pennsylvania Avenue in the same vehicle.
Mrs. Trump's spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, says the first lady went early, accompanying a group of guests for the speech whose stories amplify the president's agenda. Grisham says the first lady and Karen Pence held an ``intimate meet-and-greet'' at the Capitol for the guests. A White House official says Mrs. Trump is expected to ride back to the White House with her husband after the speech.
Mrs. Trump hadn't been seen in public with her husband since The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month that in 2016, Trump's lawyer paid porn star Stormy Daniels $130,000 to keep quiet about an affair she said she had with the future president. Daniels on Tuesday issued a statement denying the affair happened.
An hour before President Donald Trump's big speech, the House chamber is beginning to fill with lawmakers eying prime seats and making small talk.
Republicans seem more intent on arriving early. The GOP side is filling steadily while Democrats are taking a bit more time getting to their posts. Indeed, about a dozen Democratic lawmakers have announced they won't be attending the speech.
Early arrivals include Republican Reps. Mark Walker of North Carolina, Gregg Harper of Mississippi and Louie Gohmert f Texas, all intent on securing an aisle seat and a chance to greet the president when he enters the House chamber and makes his way to the podium.
Massachusetts Rep. Joe Kennedy III says it would be easy to dismiss the first year of President Donald Trump's presidency as ``chaos'' marked by partisanship and politics.
But Kennedy says Trump has caused serious problems for the American people, including proposals that target Muslims, transgendered people and others.
Kennedy is delivering the Democratic response to Trump's State of the Union address.
In excerpts released early, Kennedy says the Trump administration ``isn't just targeting the laws that protect us _ they are targeting the very idea that we are all worthy of protection.''
In an apparent reference to Trump, Kennedy says ``bullies may land a punch'' and leave a mark but have ``never managed to match the strength and spirit of a people united in defense of their future.''
President Donald Trump is declaring a ``new American moment'' in his State of the Union address _ but his former campaign foe, Hillary Clinton, declared one first.
``This is our New American Moment,'' Trump will say, touting the state of the economy, according to excerpts released by the White House. ``There has never been a better time to start living the American dream.''
In a 2010 speech, then-Secretary of State Clinton told the Council on Foreign Relations that ``a new American moment'' was taking shape on the global stage, ``a moment when our global leadership is essential, even if we must often lead in new ways.''
It's hardly the first time Trump has appropriated a slogan. ``Let's Make America Great Again'' was popularized in 1980 by Ronald Reagan's presidential campaign.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue will skip Tuesday's State of the Union address, serving as the s-called ``designated survivor.''
A member of the presidential line of succession traditionally skips the address to the joint session of Congress and is safeguarded at an undisclosed location to ensure continuity of government in the event of a catastrophe. Usually, a lesser-known member of the president's Cabinet is selected _ with higher-profile officials retained to applaud the president's speech from the floor of the House.
The Cold War-era ritual took on new significance after the attacks of September 11, 2001, as fears of terrorism replaced nuclear war as a top threat facing the nation.
A designated high-ranking member of Congress also traditionally skips the speech to maintain the legislative branch's continuity plans.
President Donald Trump will tell the American people that it is ``our new American moment'' and call on Republicans and Democrats to come together in his State of the Union speech.
That's according to excerpts released Tuesday evening by the White House.
Trump will strike an optimistic and bipartisan tone, telling Americans he is ``extending an open hand to work with members of both parties, Democrats, and Republicans, to protect our citizens, of every background, color and creed. ``
He'll also discuss the impact of the Republican tax overhaul, explain his administration's efforts to combat the Islamic State group and call on Congress to pass a major infrastructure investment plan.
A handful of immigrants who have legally lived in the U.S. since disasters struck their countries years ago will attend President Donald Trump's State of the Union address as guests of Democratic lawmakers.
The immigrants benefit from temporary protections granted to people from countries ravaged by natural disasters or war.
The Trump administration has ended the temporary protection for El Salvador, Haiti, and Nicaragua and willmake a decision later this year for Honduras.
Democratic lawmakers want to put a face on immigration policy.
Nery Martinez, a guest of Nevada Rep. Jacky Rosen, fled civil war in El Salvador and now lives in Las Vegas. Martinez says he'll be at the address to remind the president that temporary protection recipients are ``here to make this already great nation even greater.''
What has President Donald Trump learned in his first year as president? That you have to lead with ``heart.''
That's what Trump told network news anchors during a pre-State of the Union lunch Tuesday.
Trump says, ``You govern with all of the instincts of a businessperson, but you have to add much more heart and soul into your decisions than you would ever have even thought of before.''
That's according to excerpts released by the White House.
Trump also says issues like immigration would be ``so simple'' to solve if they were pure business matters, but he says he realizes that ``millions and millions of people'' are affected by his actions.
He adds that ``it's much different, in that way, than I thought it would be.''
First lady Melania Trump is promoting the guests she'll be sitting with at her husband's first State of the Union address.
The first lady tweeted Tuesday that she'll be joined at the speech ``by an honorable group of Americans,'' including ``heroes who have served our nation in times of need, families who have suffered at the hands of evil, and citizens who have embraced the American dream.''
Mrs. Trump has been keeping a low profile following a report that adult film star Stormy Daniels had an affair with Donald Trump in 2006, shortly after he and the first lady wed.
Daniels released a statement Tuesday saying the affair never happened.
Many congressional Democrats are giving their guest passes for President Donald Trump's first State of the Union address to young immigrants known as ``Dreamers,'' who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children.
More than 20 Dreamers are expected in the House gallery Tuesday night to put a face on the toll of the congressional stalemate on immigration policy.
They are the guests of high-profile Democrats including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and potential 2020 presidential candidates including New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and California Sen. Kamala Harris.
Trump ended Obama-era protections for such immigrants. He now says he wants to grant them a path to citizenship, but Congress has been unable to come up with a legislative solution for an issue at the center of the recent government shutdown.
President Donald Trump has told news anchors from all the major TV networks at a White House lunch that he is striving to bring the country together.
Journalists from outlets including PBS, CNN, and Fox News say Trump told the group Tuesday that there is ``tremendous divisiveness'' in the country that has existed for years.
He says if he could unite the country, he would consider it a great achievement.
The lunch is an annual White House tradition ahead of the president's State of the Union address.
Fox News host Bret Baier said on the ``The Daily Briefing with Dana Perino'' that the lunch menu featured smoked tomato soup, thyme roasted chicken and orange merengue pudding. Baier says the rest of the lunch was off the record.
Four of the Supreme Court's nine justices are expected to attend the State of the Union address.
Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Neil Gorsuch are expected at the speech. Roberts, Breyer, and Kagan regularly attend, as do justices appointed by the president who is speaking. Trump nominated Gorsuch a year ago.
Among the justices who will not be in the audience, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito haven't attended a State of the Union speech in years. Alito last went in 2010, when he was captured on camera mouthing the words ``not true'' in response to President Barack Obama's criticism of the court's then-new ruling in the Citizens United campaign finance case.
Justice Anthony Kennedy's long-standing travel plans have him in California. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is in Rhode Island and Justice Sonia Sotomayor is in Panama.
President Donald Trump's top economic and national security advisers help with his State of the Union address.
A White House official says national security adviser H.R. McMaster and economic adviser Gary Cohn contributed to the speech Trump plans to deliver Tuesday night at the Capitol. The official says they were assisted by policy adviser Stephen Miller, staff secretary Rob Porter, and other speechwriters.
The official stressed that the speech is the president's and that Trump has spent months giving his aides ``tidbits'' on lines he wants to use.
The White House has said Trump will use the speech to discuss the economy and national security, as well as trade, immigration, and infrastructure.
The official was not authorized to discuss internal White House deliberations by name and spoke on condition of anonymity.
President Donald Trump will herald a robust economy and push for bipartisan congressional action on immigration in Tuesday's State of the Union address.
The speech marks the ceremonial kickoff of Trump's second year in office and is traditionally a president's biggest platform to speak to the nation. However, Trump has redefined presidential communications with his high-octane, filter-free Twitter account and there's no guarantee that the carefully crafted speech will resonate beyond his next tweet.
Still, WhiteHouse officials are hopeful the president can use the prime-time address to Congress and millions of Americans watching at home to take credit for a soaring economy. Trump argues that the tax overhaul he signed into law late last year has boosted business confidence and will lead companies to reinvest in the United States.
Full text of President Trump's State of the Union address:
Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, the First Lady of the United States, and my fellow Americans:
Less than 1 year has passed since I first stood at this podium, in this majestic chamber, to speak on behalf of the American People -- and to address their concerns, their hopes, and their dreams. That night, our new Administration had already taken swift action. A new tide of optimism was already sweeping across our land.
Show less each day since we have gone forward with a clear vision and a righteous mission -- to make America great again for all Americans.
Over the last year, we have made incredible progress and achieved extraordinary success. We have faced challenges we expected, and others we could never have imagined. We have shared in the heights of victory and the pains of hardship. We endured floods and fires and storms. But through it all, we have seen the beauty of America's soul, and the steel in America's spine.
Each test has forged new American heroes to remind us who we are, and show us what we can be.
We saw the volunteers of the "Cajun Navy," racing to the rescue with their fishing boats to save people in the aftermath of a devastating hurricane.
We saw strangers shielding strangers from a hail of gunfire on the Las Vegas strip.
We heard tales of Americans like Coast Guard Petty Officer Ashlee Leppert, who is here tonight in the gallery with Melania. Ashlee was aboard one of the first helicopters on the scene in Houston during Hurricane Harvey. Through 18 hours of wind and rain, Ashlee braved live power lines and deep water, to help save more than 40 lives. Thank you, Ashlee.
We heard about Americans like firefighter David Dahlberg. He is here with us too. David faced down walls of flame to rescue almost 60 children trapped at a California summer camp threatened by wildfires.
To everyone still recovering in Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, California, and everywhere else -- we are with you, we love you, and we will pull through together.
Some trials over the past year touched this chamber very personally. With us tonight is one of the toughest people ever to serve in this House -- a guy who took a bullet, almost died, and was back to work three and a half months later: the legend from Louisiana, Congressman Steve Scalise.
We are incredibly grateful for the heroic efforts of the Capitol Police Officers, the Alexandria Police, and the doctors, nurses, and paramedics who saved his life, and the lives of many others in this room.
In the aftermath of that terrible shooting, we came together, not as Republicans or Democrats, but as representatives of the people. But it is not enough to come together only in times of tragedy. Tonight, I call upon all of us to set aside our differences, to seek out common ground, and to summon the unity we need to deliver for the people we were elected to serve.
Over the last year, the world has seen what we always knew: that no people on Earth are so fearless, or daring, or determined as Americans. If there is a mountain, we climb it. If there is a frontier, we cross it. If there is a challenge, we tame it. If there is an opportunity, we seize it.
So, let us begin tonight by recognizing that the state of our Union is strong because our people are strong.
And together, we are building a safe, strong, and proud America.
Since the election, we have created 2.4 million new jobs, including 200,000 new jobs in manufacturing alone. After years of wage stagnation, we are finally seeing rising wages.
Unemployment claims have hit a 45-year low. African-American unemployment stands at the lowest rate ever recorded, and Hispanic American unemployment has also reached the lowest levels in history.
Small business confidence is at an all-time high. The stock market has smashed one record after another, gaining $8 trillion in value. That is great news for Americans' 401k, retirement, pension, and college savings accounts.
And just as I promised the American people from this podium 11 months ago, we enacted the biggest tax cuts and reforms in American history.
Our massive tax cuts provide tremendous relief for the middle class and small businesses.
To lower tax rates for hardworking Americans, we nearly doubled the standard deduction for everyone. Now, the first $24,000 earned by a married couple is completely tax-free. We also doubled the child tax credit.
A typical family of four making $75,000 will see their tax bill reduced by $2,000 -- slashing their tax bill in half.
This April will be the last time you ever file under the old broken system -- and millions of Americans will have more take-home pay starting next month.
We eliminated an especially cruel tax that fell mostly on Americans making less than $50,000 a year -- forcing them to pay tremendous penalties simply because they could not afford government-ordered health plans. We repealed the core of disastrous Obamacare -- the individual mandate is now gone.
We slashed the business tax rate from 35 percent all the way down to 21 percent, so American companies can compete and win against anyone in the world. These changes alone are estimated to increase average family income by more than $4,000.
Small businesses have also received a massive tax cut, and can now deduct 20 percent of their business income.
Here tonight are Steve Staub and Sandy Keplinger of Staub Manufacturing -- a small business in Ohio. They have just finished the best year in their 20-year history. Because of tax reform, they are handing out raises, hiring an additional 14 people, and expanding into the building next door.
One of Staub's employees, Corey Adams, is also with us tonight. Corey is an all-American worker. He supported himself through high school, lost his job during the 2008 recession, and was later hired by Staub, where he trained to become a welder. Like many hardworking Americans, Corey plans to invest his tax‑cut raise into his new home and his two daughters' education. Please join me in congratulating Corey.
Since we passed tax cuts, roughly 3 million workers have already gotten tax cut bonuses -- many of them thousands of dollars per worker. Apple has just announced it plans to invest a total of $350 billion in America, and hire another 20,000 workers.
This is our new American moment. There has never been a better time to start living the American Dream.
So, to every citizen watching at home tonight -- no matter where you have been, or where you come from, this is your time. If you work hard, if you believe in yourself, if you believe in America, then you can dream anything, you can be anything, and together, we can achieve anything.
Tonight, I want to talk about what kind of future we are going to have, and what kind of Nation we are going to be. All of us, together, as one team, one people, and one American family.
We all share the same home, the same heart, the same destiny, and the same great American flag.
Together, we are rediscovering the American way.
In America, we know that faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, are the center of the American life. Our motto is "in God we trust."
And we celebrate our police, our military, and our amazing veterans as heroes who deserve our total and unwavering support.
Here tonight is Preston Sharp, a 12-year-old boy from Redding, California, who noticed that veterans' graves were not marked with flags on Veterans Day. He decided to change that and started a movement that has now placed 40,000 flags at the graves of our great heroes. Preston: a job well done.
Young patriots like Preston teach all of us about our civic duty as Americans. Preston's reverence for those who have served our Nation reminds us why we salute our flag, why we put our hands on our hearts for the pledge of allegiance, and why we proudly stand for the national anthem.
Americans love their country. And they deserve a Government that shows them the same love and loyalty in return.
For the last year, we have sought to restore the bonds of trust between our citizens and their Government.
Working with the Senate, we are appointing judges who will interpret the Constitution as written, including a great new Supreme Court Justice, and more circuit court judges than any new administration in the history of our country.
We are defending our Second Amendment, and have taken historic actions to protect religious liberty.
And we are serving our brave veterans, including giving our veterans choice in their healthcare decisions. Last year, the Congress passed, and I signed the landmark VA Accountability Act. Since its passage, my Administration has already removed more than 1,500 VA employees who failed to give our veterans the care they deserve -- and we are hiring talented people who love our vets as much as we do.
I will not stop until our veterans are properly taken care of, which has been my promise to them from the very beginning of this great journey.
All Americans deserve accountability and respect -- and that is what we are giving them. So tonight, I call on the Congress to empower every Cabinet Secretary with the authority to reward good workers -- and to remove Federal employees who undermine the public trust or fail the American people.
In our drive to make Washington accountable, we have eliminated more regulations in our first year than any administration in history.
We have ended the war on American Energy -- and we have ended the war on clean coal. We are now an exporter of energy to the world.
In Detroit, I halted Government mandates that crippled America's autoworkers -- so we can get the Motor City revving its engines once again.
Many car companies are now building and expanding plants in the United States -- something we have not seen for decades. Chrysler is moving a major plant from Mexico to Michigan; Toyota and Mazda are opening up a plant in Alabama. Soon, plants will be opening up all over the country. This is all news Americans are unaccustomed to hearing -- for many years, companies and jobs were only leaving us. But now they are coming back.
Exciting progress is happening every day.
To speed access to breakthrough cures and affordable generic drugs, last year the FDA approved more new and generic drugs and medical devices than ever before in our history.
We also believe that patients with terminal conditions should have access to experimental treatments that could potentially save their lives.
People who are terminally ill should not have to go from country to country to seek a cure -- I want to give them a chance right here at home. It is time for the Congress to give these wonderful Americans the "right to try."
One of my greatest priorities is to reduce the price of prescription drugs. In many other countries, these drugs cost far less than what we pay in the United States. That is why I have directed my Administration to make fixing the injustice of high drug prices one of our top priorities. Prices will come down.
America has also finally turned the page on decades of unfair trade deals that sacrificed our prosperity and shipped away our companies, our jobs, and our Nation's wealth.
The era of economic surrender is over.
From now on, we expect trading relationships to be fair and to be reciprocal.
We will work to fix bad trade deals and negotiate new ones.
And we will protect American workers and American intellectual property, through strong enforcement of our trade rules.
As we rebuild our industries, it is also time to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure.
America is a nation of builders. We built the Empire State Building in just 1 year -- is it not a disgrace that it can now take 10 years just to get a permit approved for a simple road?
I am asking both parties to come together to give us the safe, fast, reliable, and modern infrastructure our economy needs and our people deserve.
Tonight, I am calling on the Congress to produce a bill that generates at least $1.5 trillion for the new infrastructure investment we need.
Every Federal dollar should be leveraged by partnering with State and local governments and, where appropriate, tapping into private sector investment -- to permanently fix the infrastructure deficit.
Any bill must also streamline the permitting and approval process -- getting it down to no more than two years, and perhaps even one.
Together, we can reclaim our building heritage. We will build gleaming new roads, bridges, highways, railways, and waterways across our land. And we will do it with American heart, American hands, and American grit.
We want every American to know the dignity of a hard day's work. We want every child to be safe in their home at night. And we want every citizen to be proud of this land that we love.
We can lift our citizens from welfare to work, from dependence to independence, and from poverty to prosperity.
As tax cuts create new jobs, let us invest in workforce development and job training. Let us open great vocational schools so our future workers can learn a craft and realize their full potential. And let us support working families by supporting paid family leave.
As America regains its strength, this opportunity must be extended to all citizens. That is why this year we will embark on reforming our prisons to help former inmates who have served their time get a second chance.
Struggling communities, especially immigrant communities, will also be helped by immigration policies that focus on the best interests of American workers and American families.
For decades, open borders have allowed drugs and gangs to pour into our most vulnerable communities. They have allowed millions of low-wage workers to compete for jobs and wages against the poorest Americans. Most tragically, they have caused the loss of many innocent lives.
Here tonight are two fathers and two mothers: Evelyn Rodriguez, Freddy Cuevas, Elizabeth Alvarado, and Robert Mickens. Their two teenage daughters -- Kayla Cuevas and Nisa Mickens -- were close friends on Long Island. But in September 2016, on the eve of Nisa's 16th Birthday, neither of them came home. These two precious girls were brutally murdered while walking together in their hometown. Six members of the savage gang MS-13 have been charged with Kayla and Nisa's murders. Many of these gang members took advantage of glaring loopholes in our laws to enter the country as unaccompanied alien minors ‑- and wound up in Kayla and Nisa's high school.
Evelyn, Elizabeth, Freddy, and Robert: Tonight, everyone in this chamber is praying for you. Everyone in America is grieving for you. And 320 million hearts are breaking for you. We cannot imagine the depth of your sorrow, but we can make sure that other families never have to endure this pain.
Tonight, I am calling on the Congress to finally close the deadly loopholes that have allowed MS-13, and other criminals, to break into our country. We have proposed new legislation that will fix our immigration laws, and support our ICE and Border Patrol Agents so that this cannot ever happen again.
The United States is a compassionate nation. We are proud that we do more than any other country to help the needy, the struggling, and the underprivileged all over the world. But as President of the United States, my highest loyalty, my greatest compassion, and my constant concern is for America's children, America's struggling workers, and America's forgotten communities. I want our youth to grow up to achieve great things. I want our poor to have their chance to rise.
So tonight, I am extending an open hand to work with members of both parties -- Democrats and Republicans -- to protect our citizens of every background, color, religion, and creed. My duty and the sacred duty of every elected official in this chamber is to defend Americans -- to protect their safety, their families, their communities, and their right to the American Dream. Because Americans are dreamers too.
Here tonight is one leader in the effort to defend our country: Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent Celestino Martinez -- he goes by CJ. CJ served 15 years in the Air Force before becoming an ICE agent and spending the last 15 years fighting gang violence and getting dangerous criminals off our streets. At one point, MS-13 leaders ordered CJ's murder. But he did not cave to threats or fear. Last May, he commanded an operation to track down gang members on Long Island. His team has arrested nearly 400, including more than 220 from MS-13.
CJ: Great work. Now let us get the Congress to send you some reinforcements.
Over the next few weeks, the House and Senate will be voting on an immigration reform package.
In recent months, my Administration has met extensively with both Democrats and Republicans to craft a bipartisan approach to immigration reform. Based on these discussions, we presented the Congress with a detailed proposal that should be supported by both parties as a fair compromise -- one where nobody gets everything they want, but where our country gets the critical reforms it needs.
Here are the four pillars of our plan:
The first pillar of our framework generously offers a path to citizenship for 1.8 million illegal immigrants who were brought here by their parents at a young age -- that covers almost three times more people than the previous administration. Under our plan, those who meet education and work requirements, and show good moral character, will be able to become full citizens of the United States.
The second pillar fully secures the border. That means building a wall on the Southern border, and it means hiring more heroes like CJ to keep our communities safe. Crucially, our plan closes the terrible loopholes exploited by criminals and terrorists to enter our country -- and it finally ends the dangerous practice of "catch and release."
The third pillar ends the visa lottery -- a program that randomly hands out green cards without any regard for skill, merit, or the safety of our people. It is time to begin moving towards a merit-based immigration system -- one that admits people who are skilled, who want to work, who will contribute to our society, and who will love and respect our country.
The fourth and final pillar protects the nuclear family by ending chain migration. Under the current broken system, a single immigrant can bring in virtually unlimited numbers of distant relatives. Under our plan, we focus on the immediate family by limiting sponsorships to spouses and minor children. This vital reform is necessary, not just for our economy, but for our security, and our future.
In recent weeks, two terrorist attacks in New York were made possible by the visa lottery and chain migration. In the age of terrorism, these programs present risks we can no longer afford.
It is time to reform these outdated immigration rules, and finally, bring our immigration system into the 21st century.
These four pillars represent a down-the-middle compromise and one that will create a safe, modern, and lawful immigration system.
For over 30 years, Washington has tried and failed to solve this problem. This Congress can be the one that finally makes it happen.
Most importantly, these four pillars will produce legislation that fulfills my ironclad pledge to only sign a bill that puts America first. So let us come together, set politics aside, and finally get the job done.
These reforms will also support our response to the terrible crisis of opioid and drug addiction.
In 2016, we lost 64,000 Americans to drug overdoses: 174 deaths per day. Seven per hour. We must get much tougher on drug dealers and pushers if we are going to succeed in stopping this scourge.
My Administration is committed to fighting the drug epidemic and helping get treatment for those in need. The struggle will be long and difficult -- but, as Americans always do, we will prevail.
As we have seen tonight, the most difficult challenges bring out the best in America.
We see a vivid expression of this truth in the story of the Holets family of New Mexico. Ryan Holets is 27 years old, and an officer with the Albuquerque Police Department. He is here tonight with his wife Rebecca. Last year, Ryan was on duty when he saw a pregnant, homeless woman preparing to inject heroin. When Ryan told her she was going to harm her unborn child, she began to weep. She told him she did not know where to turn, but badly wanted a safe home for her baby.
In that moment, Ryan said he felt God speak to him: "You will do it -- because you can." He took out a picture of his wife and their four kids. Then, he went home to tell his wife Rebecca. In an instant, she agreed to adopt. The Holets named their new daughter Hope.
Ryan and Rebecca: You embody the goodness of our Nation. Thank you, and congratulations.
As we rebuild America's strength and confidence at home, we are also restoring our strength and standing abroad.
Around the world, we face rogue regimes, terrorist groups, and rivals like China and Russia that challenge our interests, our economy, and our values. In confronting these dangers, we know that weakness is the surest path to conflict, and unmatched power is the surest means of our defense.
For this reason, I am asking the Congress to end the dangerous defense sequester and fully fund our great military.
As part of our defense, we must modernize and rebuild our nuclear arsenal, hopefully never having to use it, but making it so strong and powerful that it will deter any acts of aggression. Perhaps someday in the future, there will be a magical moment when the countries of the world will get together to eliminate their nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, we are not there yet.
Last year, I also pledged that we would work with our allies to extinguish ISIS from the face of the Earth. One year later, I am proud to report that the coalition to defeat ISIS has liberated almost 100 percent of the territory once held by these killers in Iraq and Syria. But there is much more work to be done. We will continue our fight until ISIS is defeated.
Army Staff Sergeant Justin Peck is here tonight. Near Raqqa last November, Justin and his comrade, Chief Petty Officer Kenton Stacy, were on a mission to clear buildings that ISIS had rigged with explosives so that civilians could return to the city.
Clearing the second floor of a vital hospital, Kenton Stacy was severely wounded by an explosion. Immediately, Justin bounded into the booby-trapped building and found Kenton in bad shape. He applied pressure to the wound and inserted a tube to reopen an airway. He then performed CPR for 20 straight minutes during the ground transport and maintained artificial respiration through 2 hours of emergency surgery.
Kenton Stacy would have died if not for Justin's selfless love for a fellow warrior. Tonight, Kenton is recovering in Texas. Raqqa is liberated. And Justin is wearing his new Bronze Star, with a "V" for "Valor." Staff Sergeant Peck: All of America salutes you.
Terrorists who do things like place bombs in civilian hospitals are evil. When possible, we annihilate them. When necessary, we must be able to detain and question them. But we must be clear: Terrorists are not merely criminals. They are unlawful enemy combatants. And when captured overseas, they should be treated like the terrorists they are.
In the past, we have foolishly released hundreds of dangerous terrorists, only to meet them again on the battlefield -- including the ISIS leader, al-Baghdadi.
So today, I am keeping another promise. I just signed an order directing Secretary Mattis to reexamine our military detention policy and to keep open the detention facilities at Guantánamo Bay.
I am also asking the Congress to ensure that, in the fight against ISIS and al-Qa'ida, we continue to have all necessary power to detain terrorists -- wherever we chase them down.
Our warriors in Afghanistan also have new rules of engagement. Along with their heroic Afghan partners, our military is no longer undermined by artificial timelines, and we no longer tell our enemies our plans.
Last month, I also took an action endorsed unanimously by the Senate just months before: I recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Shortly afterwards, dozens of countries voted in the United Nations General Assembly against America's sovereign right to make this recognition. American taxpayers generously send those same countries billions of dollars in aid every year.
That is why, tonight, I am asking the Congress to pass legislation to help ensure American foreign-assistance dollars always serve American interests and only go to America's friends.
As we strengthen friendships around the world, we are also restoring clarity about our adversaries.
When the people of Iran rose up against the crimes of their corrupt dictatorship, I did not stay silent. America stands with the people of Iran in their courageous struggle for freedom.
I am asking the Congress to address the fundamental flaws in the terrible Iran nuclear deal.
My Administration has also imposed tough sanctions on the communist and socialist dictatorships in Cuba and Venezuela.
But no regime has oppressed its own citizens more totally or brutally than the cruel dictatorship in North Korea.
North Korea's reckless pursuit of nuclear missiles could very soon threaten our homeland.
We are waging a campaign of maximum pressure to prevent that from happening.
Past experience has taught us that complacency and concessions only invite aggression and provocation. I will not repeat the mistakes of past administrations that got us into this dangerous position.
We need only look at the depraved character of the North Korean regime to understand the nature of the nuclear threat it could pose to America and our allies.
Otto Warmbier was a hardworking student at the University of Virginia. On his way to study abroad in Asia, Otto joined a tour to North Korea. At its conclusion, this wonderful young man was arrested and charged with crimes against the state. After a shameful trial, the dictatorship sentenced Otto to 15 years of hard labor, before returning him to America last June -- horribly injured and on the verge of death. He passed away just days after his return.
Otto's Parents, Fred and Cindy Warmbier, are with us tonight -- along with Otto's brother and sister, Austin and Greta. You are powerful witnesses to a menace that threatens our world, and your strength inspires us all. Tonight, we pledge to honor Otto's memory with American resolve.
Finally, we are joined by one more witness to the ominous nature of this regime. His name is Mr. Ji Seong-ho.
In 1996, Seong-ho was a starving boy in North Korea. One day, he tried to steal coal from a railroad car to barter for a few scraps of food. In the process, he passed out on the train tracks, exhausted from hunger. He woke up as a train ran over his limbs. He then endured multiple amputations without anything to dull the pain. His brother and sister gave what little food they had to help him recover and ate dirt themselves -- permanently stunting their own growth. Later, he was tortured by North Korean authorities after returning from a brief visit to China. His tormentors wanted to know if he had met any Christians. He had -- and he resolved to be free.
Seong-ho traveled thousands of miles on crutches across China and Southeast Asia to freedom. Most of his family followed. His father was caught trying to escape and was tortured to death.
Today he lives in Seoul, where he rescues other defectors, and broadcasts into North Korea what the regime fears the most ‑- the truth.
Today he has a new leg, but Seong-ho, I understand you still keep those crutches as a reminder of how far you have come. Your great sacrifice is an inspiration to us all.
Seong-ho's story is a testament to the yearning of every human soul to live in freedom.
It was that same yearning for freedom that nearly 250 years ago gave birth to a special place called America. It was a small cluster of colonies caught between a great ocean and a vast wilderness. But it was home to an incredible people with a revolutionary idea: that they could rule themselves. That they could chart their own destiny. And that, together, they could light up the world.
That is what our country has always been about. That is what Americans have always stood for, always strived for, and always done.
Atop the dome of this Capitol stands the Statue of Freedom. She stands tall and dignified among the monuments to our ancestors who fought and lived and died to protect her.
Monuments to Washington and Jefferson -- to Lincoln and King.
Memorials to the heroes of Yorktown and Saratoga -- to young Americans who shed their blood on the shores of Normandy, and the fields beyond. And others, who went down in the waters of the Pacific and the skies over Asia.
And freedom stands tall over one more monument: this one. This Capitol. This living monument to the American people.
A people whose heroes live not only in the past, but all around us -- defending hope, pride, and the American way.
They work in every trade. They sacrifice to raise a family. They care for our children at home. They defend our flag abroad. They are strong moms and brave kids. They are firefighters, police officers, border agents, medics, and Marines.
But above all else, they are Americans. And this Capitol, this city, and this Nation belong to them.
Our task is to respect them, to listen to them, to serve them, to protect them, and to always be worthy of them.
Americans fill the world with art and music. They push the bounds of science and discovery. And they forever remind us of what we should never forget: The people dreamed this country. The people built this country. And it is the people who are making America great again.
As long as we are proud of who we are, and what we are fighting for, there is nothing we cannot achieve.
As long as we have confidence in our values, faith in our citizens, and trust in our God, we will not fail.
Our families will thrive.
Our people will prosper.
And our Nation will forever be safe and strong and proud and mighty and free.
Thank you, and God bless America.