President Barack Obama will challenge the Republican-led Congress to back his tax-raising ideas for helping middle-class Americans in a State of the Union speech on Tuesday that will set up a tough debate and may impact the 2016 campaign to replace him.
Looking to burnish his legacy with two years left in office, Obama will appear before a joint session of Congress in the well of the House of Representatives at 9 p.m. The speech will be his best opportunity of the year to command the attention of millions of Americans watching on television.
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Obama will push a plan to increase taxes by $320 billion over 10 years on the wealthy by closing tax loopholes and imposing a fee on big financial firms. The money would be used to pay for an increase in benefits for the middle class.
Obama's aim is to help those left behind by an economic revival taking hold six years into his tenure, which began with the Democrat facing a crippling financial crisis.