In his inaugural speech as president before Congress tonight, Barack Obama is expected to tell the American people how he plans to jolt his country out of its deepest recession in decades.
Seeking to build momentum, the president hosted a bipartisan summit on fiscal responsibility on Monday, vowing to halve his country’s massive budget deficit. “That is why today I am pledging to cut the deficit we inherited by half by the end of my first term in office,” he told lawmakers. “This will not be easy. It will require us to make difficult decisions and face challenges but I refuse to leave our children with a debt that we cannot repay. And that means taking responsibility right now, in this administration, for getting our spending under control,” said Obama. With the recession forecast to worsen, unemployment – which is already at its highest rate in more than 16 years – is expected to hit a peak of nine percent this year. Tonight’s speech is expected to be the president’s most closely-watched performance since his inauguration in January. A State of the Union-style address which will also touch on foreign policy, it will be followed by Obama’s first ever budget proposal on Thursday.