Local lawmakers' response to State of the Union

By: NewsCenter 16 staff Email
By: NewsCenter 16 staff Email
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President Barack Obama is asking members of Congress to create jobs, overhaul immigration laws, combat climate change and more. If they won’t compromise, he promises to act unilaterally where possible. In his State of the Union speech, Obama told Congress, "America does not stand still, and neither will I."

Below are responses from Indiana and Michigan lawmakers

Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.)
“Rather than use this speech to unite our country, the president turned to more political division and even vowed to circumvent the people’s representatives to change existing law with the stroke of his pen. President Obama again demonstrated tonight that he is good at making promises, but Hoosiers know that promises don’t matter, actions do. The actions taken by his administration have led to increased spending, more taxes, job losses and a shrinking workforce. After five years of this failed strategy, it’s time for a new game plan and new ideas.

I have put forward a 10-point plan – The Indiana Way – based on bipartisan ideas I gathered from Hoosiers that will strengthen Indiana and our country. Rather than ignore Republican solutions, the president must recognize that in a divided government our country needs a leader that will work with both parties to create the opportunities Americans deserve.”

(Click for video statement)

Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.)
“The president tonight made an uplifting call for action to support American families by promoting job growth and raising wages. He spoke eloquently of the need for Congress to act quickly to increase the minimum wage. The president was surely right to call for urgent action to restore emergency unemployment benefits; it is shocking that we have not yet restored this lifeline for more than 1.5 million Americans. And he is right that the growing income chasm between the wealthiest Americans and working families is a problem that requires urgent attention. The president is right to act on these problems where he can, and to call on Congress to act where legislation is required. He is fulfilling his obligations, and now we must fulfill ours.”

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.)
“President Obama is right about the importance of agriculture to our economy. Congress can help American farmers, ranchers and businesses further boost Agriculture exports and create more jobs by passing our bipartisan Farm Bill in the coming days.

It’s very encouraging the President remains focused on manufacturing, which is making a comeback and helping to drive our economic recovery. I was glad to hear his call for legislation like my Bring Jobs Home Act, to end tax breaks for companies that send jobs overseas and cut taxes for businesses bringing jobs home.

The President told the story of Detroit entrepreneur Andra Rush to illustrate the importance of closing the skills gap. Businesses want to hire but can’t find workers with the right skills to match the jobs available. Legislation like my New Skills for New Jobs Act will help pair people with community colleges to get the training they need for cutting-edge, advanced manufacturing jobs.

While the economy continues to recover, Congress must extend unemployment insurance for families still looking for work so they can keep the heat on and a roof over their heads. And we must raise the minimum wage so that people in Michigan who work full time aren’t living in poverty.

It is critical that Members of Congress continue to work across the aisle, like we did on the Farm bill, to help businesses create jobs and ensure families working hard have opportunities for themselves and their children.”

Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.)
“I was pleased with the President’s tone, which did not take the heavy partisan line that some expected. Yes, we can build on some of the bipartisan successes we have seen over the last couple months on the budget and farm bill as we look to immigration and real tax reform. I was encouraged to hear the President again talk about his commitment to lower tax rates and promote job growth and innovation here at home. We need a year of action – not dysfunction.”

Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.)
“Washington must agree on policies to reduce reckless spending and address the real drivers of our national debt—which stands at a catastrophic $17.3 trillion and counting. Hoosier families know that a budget that balances creates jobs. Each month, our families sit around the kitchen table and make tough choices to keep a budget, and Washington must do the same. That’s why I introduced a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution as my first sponsored resolution in Congress, and I intend to keep working toward this goal in 2014.

As I have said before, Washington truly needs a dose of Hoosier common sense. I share your frustration with partisan politics and stall tactics that have rammed large bills through Congress at the last minute –jeopardizing certainty for the American people. Instead, I will focus on working across the aisle on smart, straightforward legislation to solve our fiscal problems and strengthen the workforce.”

Congress still needs to pass a comprehensive farm bill, approve construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline, invest in energy independence, reduce taxes on small businesses, and continue to request oversight and accountability from government agencies to cut waste and maximize your tax-dollars. I know that Hoosiers are eager for Congress to find common ground and agree on balanced policies to advance energy independence, lower taxes, and strengthen the workforce. Please know that I will be at the table to help all Americans get their fair shot at the American dream, complete with the chance to work hard, do well, and pass on better opportunities to our children.”

(Click for video statement)

No other lawmakers released statements ahead of publish date


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