welcome to al jazeera america. i'm del walters. these are the stories we are following for you. the year in review, president obama set to speak shortly. we'll carry his comments lye when the president takes to this podium. the senate getting ready to wrap things up as well. we'll talk about some loose ends they have to wrap up. and robot games a challenge to create some helpful androids. ♪ for the white house it has been a very long year from gay rights to healthcare and even
that secret spy program by the nsa. last year the president taking office reelected to serve another term, but has he delivered on the change he promised. this is live right now, where any moment the president will come to the podium and talk to reporters in his year-end address. mike any hint as to what we might hear? >> i think you will see two things. you will see the president give an opening statement where he doubts the achievements of his administration this year. the economy seems to be improving. gdp grew at a 3.6% rate, that's breakneck compared to what we have seen in the last five years. on the foreign policy front you may hear taught the agreement with get rid of syrian
chemical weapons, but now a splittering within the opposition there. non-lethal aide to the opposition suspended by the administration. immigration, another domestic issue. stuck here in washington comprehensive reform has passed the senate earlier in this the year, it is languishing in the house. you can expect to see the president push for movement on that next of course.
but we expect to see him in about an hour here taking questions for reporters. >> i want to apologize to you. when the president takes to the podium, you may be speaking and may have to sit down to the president can speak, but as we wait for the president to come in to the briefing room this is a time that politicians in washington like, because it's almost like a reset. as they go home for the holidays
people are more focused on christmas and new years rather than the situation in washington. so even if things don't go welld chance he gets to reset in the new year. >> one item i forgot to mention is the affordable care act. last night they really had a startling retreat from a basic principle. the controversy where the president offered an apology about being able to keep your insurance if you like. it has made that repeatedly in the three and a half years since it was passed congress and was signed by the president. but now it turns out if you have lost your insurance and been kicked off of your policy because it does not meet the
minimum standards of the affordable care act, now the president is saying well, you don't have to have insurance at least temporarily or in transition. that could effectment some 4 million people, the estimated number who lost their policy because it did not meet the minimum standards of obamacare. that is probably going to be one of the first questions, as a matter of fact, del, but i think you'll see the president taught all of the positive things as he sees it as it concerns the affordable care act. and i'm sure he'll talk about the preconditions, you have heard it all before many times, and we're likely to hear it again today. this could be an opportunity for
the president to get one last ore in the water, washington. >> mike thank you very much. as we stand by and await word from the president. now we're going to capitol hill. the senate will be wrapping up business for 2013, but ttable. libby casey on capitol hill right now, and w some democrats want to keep americans focused on business they think is left undone. long-term unemployment benefits. expect to see ads hitting the airways right after christmas, telling americans they want to see these benefits reinstated. democrats say one of their first items of business when they get back january 6th and 7th will be to try to get republicans
onboard. they also have tax extenders aimed for january that can be retroactive. and the nomination of janet yellen. there is some wiggle room, because ben bernanke doesn't believe until the end of january, but the white house wants to make sure that confirmation does go through as soon as the senate comes back into session. things justnow. no more roll call votes for the day. >> libby a reminder to our audience that this image of the empty podium was from the white house. but before we leave you on capitol hill what did the senate finish? >> they did get through some nominations. they took care of the second in command at the department of
homeland security, and we saw them figure out who the new irs chief will be. they did confirm him into that position. a big job, del, because that job also has to do with seeing the rollout and enforcement of obamacare. and we saw the senate pass a defense spending bill. 52 years congress has been able to come to terms and pass that bill. defense spending package, huge, over $500 billion in spending and that contains a number of things, including some provisions dealing with sexual assault in the military. there are some amendments defen
spending bill. >> libby as strange as it seems, 2013 would wind up being the yeardo-nothing congress do something. >> they did manage to get a modest budget proposal hammered out. it set spending levels for two years, so now the hard work hits for the appropriators. so even though we talk about washington emptying out for the holiday, there will be many appropriators and staffers working very hard to get through that it ine gritty stuff. but there is still a bit of work to do. and we saw party murray yesterday and talk about how it was an exemplary moment of what congress can do if they work
together, but that's because all of the parties were able to get a little and give a little, and they didn't have to give too much. so as we look at the bigger battles from immigration to alteration to the health air law, the sides may not be able to come together so well, because they have so much more invested. >> libby we go back to mike viqueira, because libby did mention immigration reform that thing being the sticky wicket. it is the item still level on the table, mike. >> and there is some hope for that issue if you are in favor of comprehensive immigration reform. the path for citizenship. now is there reason for hope if you pa-- favor reform.