Delegation has high hopes for president’s speech

Washington — Connecticut’s congressional delegation will watch President Obama’s State of the Union speech tonight with an eye on how it will help the state.

According to high administration officials, Obama will  lay out his vision for the nation through four “pillars.”

One pillar is the boosting of manufacturing jobs. Another is the promotion of more technical training and education. A third is the promotion of renewable and green energy sources. The fourth pillar will talk about “values” and will be Obama’s most populist pitch calling for the rich to pay more taxes.

Members of Connecticut’s congressional delegation — who already have an inkling of what Obama will say — have their own expectations of the speech.

Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., hopes the president talks about the need to rein in the federal budget deficit and the need to take a hard line toward Iran.

Like many Democrats, Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3rd District, hopes the president will make a convincing argument about his plans for the economy.

“I hope that the president will continue to call for smart, targeted investments in infrastructure, education and job training, as well as the need to revive our manufacturing base,” DeLauro said.

Rep. Jim Himes, D-4th District, also wants the president to “outline a smart plan to create jobs immediately.”

Obama has rolled out a jobs plan that calls for a national infrastructure bank to repair and replace the nation’s crumbling roads and bridges. But congressional Republicans have blocked his plan.

“He needs to keep talking about that plan,” Himes said. “The American people understand that we need this investment.”

As part of his push to keep manufacturing jobs in the United States, Obama is expected to announce a new tax on companies that outsource jobs overseas. That initiative is also likely to be blocked by the GOP.

The president will also talk about the need for more partnerships between businesses and community colleges — and warn colleges and universities they could lose federal funding it they increase their tuitions too much.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn. said he hopes the president will also promote technical school training.

The senator also wants the president to emphasize fairness and “everybody playing by the same rules” when it comes to taxes.

Obama is also going to use his third State of the Union address as a campaign speech, highlighting differences between himself and opposition Republicans and outlining the reasons he deserves a second term

He is also expected to bash Congress for the gridlock in Washington.

“That criticism is well-deserved,” Blumenthal said.