Washington: President Barack Obama is urging a divided Congress to boost job creation and strengthen the middle class through a package of government-backed proposals.
In his State of the Union address, Obama is calling for increasing the federal minimum wage, spending more to fix the nation's roads and bridges, and expanding early childhood education.
The president is also pledging to cut the number of US troops in Afghanistan in half within a year.
Obama says his proposals would not increase the deficit "by a single dime." But with unemployment persistently high and consumer confidence falling, he is pressing a progressive case for Washington's role in reigniting the economy.