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Responding to the State of the Union

January 21, 2015
Blog Post
Responding to the State of the Union

The State of the Union address is as old as our Constitution, and it is still an important means of interaction between the President and Congress, especially in times of divided leadership. The pomp and ceremony may seem a little old-fashioned in the era of iPhones and 24-hour news, but I think most of my colleagues – and many Americans – look forward to this opportunity to hear the President’s policy priorities for the coming year.

Last night, President Obama laid out a clear vision for the 2015 and beyond. I am pleased that he has confirmed his commitment to the middle class and to those who aspire to the American Dream, offering a new pathway to affordable higher education with his community college proposal and protecting incomes with a major tax overhaul.  The President recognizes that growing and strengthening the middle class is the best way to ensure that the historic economic growth of the past couple of years continues and that the positive benefits of that growth are felt by all Americans, not just the wealthy.

I also applaud the President for giving us a sober assessment of the foreign policy challenges we face and a credible plan for confronting them. In particular, I want to underscore his warning that rash congressional action on Iran could threaten the diplomatic balance in the nuclear negotiations. A comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran is an urgent matter of national security, and we have to give our negotiators the ability to finish the job.

I hope that the leadership of both parties in the House and Senate will heed President Obama’s call for bipartisan cooperation. Important priorities like infrastructure and immigration reform have broad public support and must not again fall victim to the politics of division.