President Barack Obama will use his State of the Union address Tuesday night to call for policies that create jobs and help the middle class to thrive without swelling the federal budget deficit.
In excerpts released by the White House, Obama called job creation and continued economic growth the "North Star that guides our efforts." He asked, "How do we attract more jobs to our shores? How do we equip our people with the skills needed to do those jobs? And how do we make sure that hard work leads to a decent living?'
In a nod to concern about the federal debt and mounting budget shortfalls, Obama insisted his initiatives would be fully paid for: "Nothing I'm proposing tonight should increase our deficit by a single dime. It's not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government that sets priorities and invests in broad-based growth."
Obama was set to address a joint meeting of Congress at 9 p.m. ET.