In a State of the Union address filled with references to HR and benefit issues, President Obama called for the creation of a government-backed retirement account, acknowledged the student loan crisis and wage inequality, outlined his efforts to close the skills gap and called on employers to raise wages.

The president also touched briefly on the Affordable Care Act, challenging Republicans to let Americans know what their “specific plans [are] to cut costs, cover more people, and increase choice.” In the official GOP response, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) acknowledged “we shouldn’t go back to the way things were, but this law is not working. Republicans believe health care choices should be yours, not the government’s.”

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