The president is currently on vacation in Hawaii, but his plans for 2014 indicate he expects it to be quite a busy year.
“The bottom line is 2014 needs to be a year of action,” he said during a news conference in Hawaii.
In a few days Obama and Congress can finally bid farewell to 2013 – a year that saw an unsuccessful launch of the Affordable Care Act, the government shut down for 16 days, failed attempts to pass policies to reform gun control, proposals to overhaul the immigration system, and NSA leaks by Edward Snowden.
Preparing for 2014 means the president has a few important dates to keep in mind that will determine how much progress will be made.
Toward the end of January, Obama will deliver his State of the Union address but experts aren’t sure if a speech will restore America’s faith in Congress.
“The State of the Union address is obviously important; it gets the most attention from the news media and from citizens,” said Jeffrey Cohen, a political scientist at Fordham University. “People really have their minds made up and the people who don’t have their minds made up are fed up.”
Despite the divided Congress, the president will be expected to follow through on his call for action and address concerns over the development of nuclear weapons by Iran, and his promise to get U.S. soldiers out of Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, most Americans have a positive outlook on the upcoming year, although that is not a direct reflection of their views on political issues.
According to a poll by the Associated Press, 49 percent of Americans have positive expectations for 2014, while only 14 percent are expecting 2014 to be even worse than 2013. Another 34 percent of Americans feel 2014 won’t bring forth much change at all.
Those percentages changed, however, when Americans were asked about the world-at-large, rather than their own personal lives.
When comparing 2013 to 2012, Americans felt that this year was certainly a downgrade, with 30 percent saying the world-at-large was much worse this year than it was last year, and only 20 percent saying the world saw substantial improvements.