Stony Brook University Government Relations Stony Brook University Government Relations

Highlights of President Obama's 2013 State of the Union Address

President Barack Obama delivered the annual State of the Union Address on February 12. It included items of interest to the Stony Brook University community. Further details will come in the President’s budget in late March or early April. Highlights of the State of the Union include:

Research
The President called research investment “job-creating”, citing the economic benefits of medical and other research. He said American energy research holds great promise. And, he supported investment in environmental research, following the recent series of heat waves, floods, droughts and storms. He said the goal should be to “reach a level of research and development not seen since the height of the Space Race.” He also emphasized the need for more research in cyber security to help protect the nation.

Education
The President called for education improvements in early childhood education and in experiential learning at the high school and collegiate level. He suggested rewarding high schools that develop partnerships with universities and to invest more in the STEM fields: science, technology, engineering and mathematics to meet the challenges of a high-tech economy.

Higher Education
The President called on Congress to include affordability and value in determining federal aid in Higher Education Act reauthorization this year. He also released a new College Scorecard on the White House web site to help families decide which schools provide the greatest value. 

Sequestration
The President stressed the importance of coming to an agreement on the automatic $85 billion in spending cuts that will be triggered March 1 without an agreement on deficit reduction. The cuts would result in the loss of $10 billion in research and development (R&D) funding this year and $90 billion through 2021. The projected loss of R&D jobs that would result from the cuts would be 200,000 over the next four years.

Medicare
Of concern was the President’s support for Medicare savings proposed by the Simpson-Bowles Commission. That proposal called for $60 billion in reductions to Medicare Graduate Medical Education and the loss of Medicare funds for patient bad debt, both of which would be harmful to Stony Brook Medicine. The hospital and health care industry has already agreed to Medicare savings over the next decade through the Affordable Care Act (ACA). As the industry prepares for ACA implementation, it is the wrong time to layer on more damaging cuts.

Immigration
The President reiterated his desire for immigration reform. Already, bills have been introduced in Congress that would include a path to citizenship for both individuals brought illegally to this country as children and for PhD candidates.  

Please contact the Office of External Relations at 631-632-3225 with questions.