NAPO Washington Reports

State of the Union Address

February 13, 2013

Last night, Tuesday, February 12, President Obama gave his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress.  In a speech that covered some 6,000 words, the president urged additional “investment” in the economy, a non-partisan commission to address voting practices and eligibility, and called for government involvement in dealing with “climate change.”  He also urged Congress to vote on all of his firearms proposals, a call that many commentators this morning see as unlikely.  (They feel that some individual proposals, such as expanded background checks, will move forward, but that there does not appear to be much support for enacting all of the president’s proposals.) 

The president also spent much of his speech discussing the looming sequestration of federal government spending.  As the Washington Post noted this morning,  “[H]e urged Congress to avert the sequester and not shut the government down at the end of next month. But the devil, as always, is in the details and Obama didn’t offer many of them. With Republicans already on record as opposed to any attempt to bypass the sequester, it’s hard to see how the Congress finds a way to do so. Yes, President Obama talked about the economy. But it’s hard to say he moved the debate forward. ” 

The only references to law enforcement legislative issues were his noting of the Senate’s passage of a renewal of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), a bill that NAPO originally supported and was originally authored by then-Senator Joseph Biden, and the information that the president had earlier in the day issued an executive order dealing with cyber-security threats. 

The president did, however, take time at the very end of his speech to recognized NAPO and WPPA member Lt. Brian Murphy of the Oak Creek, Wisconsin police department, “We should follow the example of a police officer named Brian Murphy.  When a gunman opened fire on a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, and Brian was the first to arrive, he did not consider his own safety.  He fought back until help arrived, and ordered his fellow officers to protect the safety of the Americans worshiping inside – even as he lay bleeding from twelve bullet wounds.

When asked how he did that, Brian said, ‘That’s just the way we’re made.’”