Wednesday, January 25, 2012

State of the Union response

Rep. Eliot Engel issued the following statement after President Obama’s State of the Union address. Make the jump to read U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's statement. 
“The President’s speech tonight was essentially a strategic plan to bolster the American Dream – which is slipping out of reach for far too many Americans.  President Obama cited the fear of losing out on the American Dream for low- to middle-income families as the reason he sought public office.  As the son of an ironworker growing up in public housing, and educated in New York City Public Schools and at the City University of New York, this struck close to home for me.  I was afforded the opportunity to one day serve my country in the United States Congress.  As a parent, we always seek better opportunities for our children than we had ourselves.  That should be the case for all American families.
“Our economy has come a long way since the dark days back in 2007-08 when we were losing hundreds of thousands of jobs each month.  We cannot ignore 22 consecutive months of growth, and over three million private sector jobs added since the President’s first State of the Union address.  Recovery has been slower than anyone wants, but the fact remains our economy is getting better.

“We must return to the days where both parties worked together for the good of the country.  Compromise cannot continue to be a dirty word.  Our challenges are far too great for us to continue self-defeating partisanship.  Our goals should be for the betterment of the American people, not cold-hearted electoral politics. 

“I was pleased to hear the President sees energy as one of the main avenues for shoring up the American Dream.  Clean energy investments created tens of thousands of good paying jobs in recent years. Reducing pollution will also protect the health of all Americans by, cutting down the rates of serious diseases.  Promoting alternative fuel sources will help lead our country to a future free from dependence on foreign governments, many of which are hostile to our interests.  Oil production has never been higher, and Democrats must remember we must avoid saying no all of the time and find other ways to produce domestic energy sources. 

“Far too many families can barely keep pace with their mortgage payments and household expenses.  Our focus must remain on jobs and the economy, and rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure.  However, we are sadly mistaken if we lose sight of the crisis our public education system faces.  We must reform No Child Left Behind, or every American will be left behind.   We must fix our borders and reform our immigration system.  We cannot forget that immigration done correctly has made our country the successful melting pot it is today.  We must also finally come to grips that health care in this nation is a right and not a privilege. We have much more that needs to be accomplished to keep America great, and enable more people to take part in the American Dream. 

“I am hopeful that 2012 will be more productive than 2011, when manufactured crises dominated our national rhetoric.  Americans expect more from their government, and we should demand it of ourselves.  We must show that we can still come together to preserve and expand the American Dream.”
After President Obama delivered his State of the Union address, Gillibrand issued the following statement, including a renewed call to make insider trading by members of Congress, their staff and family members clearly and expressly illegal by passing the bipartisan STOCK Act:

“Our economy can’t afford another year of governing through brinkmanship that we’ve seen too much of from this Congress. We need to set our politics aside, and find the common core values we can agree on to create jobs and set economic opportunity for the middle class in motion – by giving everyone a fair chance to succeed, rewarding hard work, and investing in ‘Made In America’ again.

“We’re not lacking the tools it takes for a thriving economy. We have it all in New York State: the hardest workers you can ask for, bright and innovative minds, world-class universities and research institutions, a thriving high-tech sector to rival Silicon Valley, and manufacturers to power our economy with new sources of clean energy that’s made right here. What we’re lacking is the political will to unleash all of its potential.

“Just as President Obama showed us his leadership by supporting the 9/11 health bill, and just as he declared his commitment to fairness by repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ in his State of the Union two years ago, tonight we’re seeing his leadership again by urging Congress to play by the exact same rules as everyone else in America by making insider trading on Capitol Hill clearly and expressly illegal by passing the bipartisan STOCK Act I’ve been fighting for.

“Guided by our sense of common purpose and bipartisanship, I know we can do what’s right, change the way Washington works, and foster the environment for a growing economy and a thriving middle class.”

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