Alabama reps react to President Obama's State of the Union Address
The following are official statements from Alabama's representatives following President Obama's State of the Union Address Tuesday evening.
U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama)
"President Obama says he is concerned about low wages and chronic unemployment for American workers. Yet his signature second-term legislative item is an immigration bill that would immediately and permanently double the flow of new immigrant workers competing against unemployed Americans—reducing wages, increasing unemployment, and further shrinking the middle class. Experts tell us that the current, very high immigration flow is already a factor in declining wages.
His other policy proposals—more government spending, public assistance, and wage controls—are a continued attempt to deal with the symptoms of an economy that is failing and stagnant, rather than with the causes. This agenda will not only do little for those it is designed to assist in the short run, but will actually do harm to many in the long run.
With a record 1 in 5 households on food stamps, and with 92 million Americans outside the work force, it is clear what we must do: a focused national effort to help transition millions of Americans off of welfare, off of unemployment, and into good-paying jobs. This must be done without adding to the debt. Such an effort would include more American energy; better trade and immigration enforcement; welfare and tax reform; a leaner, more productive government; the elimination of regulations that destroy jobs; and the growth and confidence created by balancing the federal budget."
U.S. Representative Martha Roby (R-District 2)
"Everyone knows President Obama is a gifted speaker, but too often his rhetoric doesn't match reality. He brags about the unemployment rate, but fails to mention that participation in the labor force is at its lowest level since the 70s. He talks about income inequality, but won't acknowledge that his immigration and minimum wage proposals would undermine the middle class and working poor. He calls for 'action' on jobs, but ignores the more than 30 bi-partisan, House-passed jobs bills still stuck in the Senate.
"I was pleased to hear the President mention problems with our nation's surveillance activities. There is no question reforms are needed to ensure we can gather vital intelligence to stop terrorists while also protecting the privacy of law-abiding Americans. And those reforms need to be enacted into law, not ordered by presidential pen stroke.
"It should concern all Americans – Republicans and Democrats – that the president is promising more unilateral executive actions that circumvent the Legislative Branch. Our system of checks and balances may not be convenient for President Obama's political agenda, but they exist to protect Americans from an encroaching federal government. I will not stand by and watch President Obama erode this country's constitutional separation of powers, and that's why I'm supporting the STOP Resolution to rein in executive overreaches."
U.S. Representative Mike Rogers (R-District 3)
"President Obama's plans to further expand the Federal government via regulation and executive orders are deeply troubling. Americans need jobs, not a bigger government.
"He is advocating making 2014 a Year of Action, and I would hope one of his first actions would be to help support the common sense jobs bills passed by the House of Representatives.
"Hard working families across East Alabama and the nation are suffering in these uncertain economic times, and deserve a government that works for everyone."
U.S. Representative Spencer Bachus (R-District 6)
"The best anti-poverty program is a job. What I'd like to see after tonight is a determined effort to remove barriers to private sector job creation. There are many pending bills with bipartisan support that would reduce the enormous number of federal regulations that are raising costs and creating uncertainty for employers. In the construction industry alone, tens of thousands of good-paying jobs could be created almost immediately by building the Keystone Pipeline and reforming the lengthy and often duplicative permitting process for infrastructure projects that need to be done. We should make the private sector bigger, not the federal government.
"It is also my hope that the President will work with Congress in a serious way to achieve results, rather than do an end-run through executive orders. The way to build lasting support and success for a policy is to use the legislative process as our Founders intended."
U.S. Representative Terry Sewell (D-District 7)
"I am encouraged by the President's message tonight of economic empowerment by providing ladders of opportunity for all Americans. I share President Obama's belief that we must invest in America's future by providing a livable wage, promoting education and investing in skills training and job readiness. Tonight, the President outlined a powerful vision of this nation and provided a concrete plan to grow the economy, strengthen the middle class, and enhance opportunities for all Americans. His agenda is rooted in the American Dream and fueled by the ideal that if you work hard and take responsibility, you can make it in America.
President Obama challenged Congress to join him in taking action on the most pressing issues we face as a nation. Together we must work to close the opportunity gap that exists in this country. I stand ready to do my part and hope my Republican colleagues will too. The state of this union is made stronger when we focus on our common interest and put partisanship aside."
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