DURBIN REACTION TO PRESIDENT OBAMA'S STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS
[WASHINGTON, DC] - U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today released the following statement in reaction to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address.
"This evening, President Obama spoke of the challenges our nation faces and of his confidence in the American people to meet and overcome those challenges. He also laid out a vision for the future that focused on creating jobs and turning our economy around. That was the right message at the right time for America and for Illinois.
"The President talked about ideas to help small businesses - helping spur innovation, helping businesses that export do better and taking $30 billion of the money given to bail out Wall Street banks and using it to help community banks make small businesses loans on Main Street. These are ideas I hear that in Chicago and downstate as well; we need more help for small businesses. Focusing on these issues will begin turning the unemployment figure back to the positive side."
"The President also spoke of building the infrastructure of tomorrow. In the next few days, the Obama Administration will be announcing a major high-speed rail project for our state that will create thousands of jobs and greater opportunities for economic development."
BEAN RESPONDS TO STATE OF THE UNION
WASHINGTON - Congresswoman Melissa Bean (IL-08) released the following statement following the President's State of the Union address.
"I was glad to hear the President reflect the concerns of my constituents in the 8th District, who are worried about their economic security, given the recent decline in value of their homes and savings. The President and the Senate need to follow the House's lead by enacting comprehensive financial regulatory reform to protect consumers and their investments.
"We need to promote economic growth by focusing on access to credit and targeted tax incentives for small businesses, the drivers of our local economy.
"And lastly, we need to aggressively attack the deficit by reducing non-discretionary spending, as well as freezing discretionary spending as the President has proposed. Toward that end, I've proposed the SAFE Commission Act, which forces Congress to make hard decisions on entitlement reform and I continue to vote against excessive spending."
Statement from Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady on the State of the Union Address
Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady released the following statement in response to President Barack Obama's first State of the Union Address:
"After his agenda took a stunning defeat in Massachusetts, President Barack Obama claims he finally gets the message and has opted to join the American people in their anger. What he fails to understand is that the frustration stems directly from the leftward agenda he has tried to push through Congress despite the overwhelming protests of voters. They're furious because the Obama Administration promised that his so-called $787 billion economic stimulus experiment would keep employment under eight percent, but today the national unemployment rate is ten percent and Illinois has lost over 193,000 jobs since Obama took office. They're irate because rather than focusing on getting America back to work, his Administration has consistently tried to use the economic crisis as a means to pass his expensive liberal agenda of government-run health care and unsustainable budgets."
"It is clear that the President and his Democratic allies are playing politics, hoping that voters will have forgotten the billions of dollars that have been spent over the past year without any form of accountability. But personality is not enough to convince voters when the policies coming from this White House are so obviously flawed. But we have already seen that President Obama has no coattails in Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts; three states that the President won in the fall of 2008. Illinois is next. If Democrats like Melissa Bean, Debbie Halvorson, Bill Foster, and Phil Hare continue to embrace his big-government agenda then they will soon find themselves into a forced retirement."
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Reaction of U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert to State of the Union Address
Washington, DC - U.S. Representative Judy Biggert (R-IL-13) tonight issued the following statement regarding President Barack Obama's State of the Union Address:
"Tonight, President Obama had to show the American people that he has learned from 2009, and that the coming year would be less about Democrat priorities and more about turning this economy around. I think the President succeeded in articulating his new focus on the economy, but I was disappointed that he didn't say more to instill confidence and certainty in the marketplace and assure Americans that real recovery is on its way. He needed to unequivocally show potential job creators that he will work to promote growth and oppose new, burdensome taxes that raise the cost of health care, energy, and investment capitol. Unfortunately, he didn't accomplish that. I strongly support tax policies that will help ease the burden on middle-class families, those caring for the elderly, and those saving for retirement, but these ideas alone cannot return America to prosperity.
"I'm also wary that his aggressive new posturing against the financial industry will undermine any chance he has of working with banks, lenders, and investors to get credit flowing to the consumers and small businesses that need it. Too often, those in power underestimate how economically savvy their constituents are; I know my constituents understand well that punitive tax policies, permanent bailouts, and unchecked government intrusion in the financial markets aren't the kind of policies that create jobs.
"I also especially appreciate that he sought to renew America's commitment to scientific research and development. These advanced research programs underway at places like Argonne National Lab are the key to our long-term economic competitiveness. I also hope he is serious about pushing for more carbon-free nuclear plants.
"I applaud the President for taking a long-overdue step to control spending, albeit a small one. We cannot tackle any of the critical issues before us if we don't get spending under control. I just hope he can follow through with even tougher measures. Simply freezing spending at the same rates that gave us a record $1.5 trillion dollar deficit last year is not enough. Time and again, we've seen his good intentions - on everything from spending to transparency - simply vanish when Democrat leaders in Congress begin drafting legislation. The President needs to make good on his promises tonight, and demand that his own House and Senate leaders stop borrowing and spending like there's no tomorrow. The last thing our economy needs is more of the same double-digit budget increases and deficit spending on the backs of our children and grandchildren.
"I was extremely pleased to hear the President address something very dear to me - education. I serve on the Education and Labor Committee, and I agree with the President that we need to get to work on reauthorizing the nation's elementary and secondary education laws. I especially appreciate his focus on raising standards, inspiring excellence in math and science, and turning around underperforming schools. These are goals we share and I look forward to working with him to give our children the best education possible. I should add that I think that the President is jumping the gun in asking Congress to spend even more money on Race to the Top. That grant program was dropped into the stimulus with no Congressional oversight, and educators everywhere are demanding more local input.
"On health care, it's clear that the election in Massachusetts was a message from the American people that they do not want a health care bill that dramatically increases spending, slashes Medicare, and drives families into a government-run system that few believe will lower costs or improve the quality of care. But the President made clear that he will continue to make this bill a priority -- in whatever form he can get it. The President needs to stop pushing for the health care he wants and start pushing for the health reforms the American people are demanding. I hope he will come back to the table this time to work with Republicans on a bill that truly lowers costs, improves accessibility, and enhances the quality of care. This should start with covering preexisting conditions, enacting meaningful malpractice reform, and allowing small businesses to band together in association health plans.
"Finally, I had been very hopeful that the President would use this opportunity to chart a new path on homeland security that places the safety and security of American citizens above campaign promises. Unfortunately, it's clear the Administration has no intention to reverse course on closing Guantanamo Bay and bringing enemy combatants onto American soil and into civilian courtrooms. The President has yet to explain how closing GITMO and relocating the world's most dangerous terrorists to federal prison in some community in Illinois or New York will make 300 million Americans safer. And trying some of these enemy combatants in civilian courts while others are held indefinitely or shipped to unstable regions of the world carries with it a host of legal and security concerns that could be exploited by those whose goal is death and destruction to America and all things American. This was a lost opportunity, especially after the Christmas Day bombing attempt, to assure the American people and our enemies abroad that we treat terrorism as an act of war, and we will do everything it takes to keep our citizens safe."
Roskam: We Need Action on Creating Jobs and Restoring Fiscal Sanity
Roskam: "My constituents are tired of these failed liberal ideas and want Democrats to instead work with Republicans on creating jobs, restoring fiscal sanity and lowering our national debt."
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, Congressman Peter Roskam (R-Ill.), Deputy Whip and member of the Ways & Means Committee, issued the following statement after President Obama's State of the Union:
"Tonight, after a year of misplaced priorities and fiscal recklessness by Democratic leadership, we heard President Obama finally talk about job creation, restoring fiscal sanity and lowering our national debt - themes Republicans have been focused on since day one. With 10% national unemployment and $12 trillion in national debt, it's time for the rhetoric to start matching action.
Pelosi Democrats regrettably spent the last year focused on a trillion-dollar "stimulus" plan that brought us double-digit unemployment, a jobs-killing Cap & Trade Scheme, and a government takeover of healthcare that would only raise costs. My constituents are tired of these failed liberal ideas and want Democrats to instead work with Republicans on creating jobs, restoring fiscal sanity and lowering our national debt.
If President Obama and Congressional Democrats are serious about restoring fiscal responsibility, then I look forward to earnestly working with them on pro-growth legislation that encourages job growth and institutes fiscal sanity. Unfortunately, the current spending freeze proposal would only hold spending steady at an already unsustainable level, and ultimately would do little to ease the debt burden on our kids and grandkids.
SCHAKOWSKY STATEMENT ON STATE OF THE UNION
WASHINGTON, DC (January 27, 2010) - Following President Obama's State of the Union Address, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-IL, released the following statement in response to the speech.
"Barely a year into his presidency, while millions of Americans face hardships unlike any seen in generations, President Obama laid out a plan to restore faith in government and move the country further down the path of recovery. In this historic speech, President Obama pointed to investments in small business, clean energy, and infrastructure projects as the key components for jumpstarting private sector job creation. His call to prevent Wall Street greed from further hurting the middle class and request to hold overzealous executives accountable for their actions send a strong message that the practices of the last decade will no longer be tolerated. I share his goal to reform education so that American students receive the best academic, scientific, and technological instruction in the world. Finally, I am heartened that the President put the cause of human rights and social justice at the forefront by calling for an end to discrimination against homosexuals. Over the next year, I look forward to working with the President and my colleagues in Congress to achieve these goals."
U.S. Senator Roland W. Burris Statement on President Obama's State of the Union Address
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Roland W. Burris made the following statement following President Barack Obama's State of the Union Address:
"In the midst of an economic recovery, two wars and a divisive health care debate, we have immense challenges facing our nation at this critical juncture in our history. I wholly support the goals laid out tonight by President Obama. Our nation has taken great strides in the past year, but there is more work to be done.
"In these dire economic times, it is vital we continue to implement initiatives that will bolster our economy and spur growth. By focusing on economic improvement - like investing in our nation's small businesses, moving toward greener energy, improving infrastructure, and spurring the production of American-made products - our nation is taking crucial steps to permanently improve and sustain our economy.
"Middle class families hit hard by the financial crisis need to see relief. We need to work to restore their financial security, improve their futures, and move them towards economic recovery.
"Our nation is still in the midst of a health care crisis. Meaningful health care reform is within reach after months of contentious debate, and I am optimistic we will be able to pass health legislation. I support President Obama's pledge to revamp our nation's health care system--a commitment that is just as strong now as when he initially called on the House and Senate to pass health care reform in September of last year.
"We need to look forward to the future of health care reform and get health care reform passed to provide immediate relief and benefits for millions of Americans who lack health insurance. This year I am confident that health care reform will finally be achieved, and that it will usher in a health care industry that will extend coverage to millions of Americans, drive down health care costs, encourage accountability and increase competition in the insurance market.
"Our nation is still fighting two wars. While we initiate the drawdown of American forces in Iraq and focus attention on Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, it imperative to fulfill our obligation to our troops overseas, and to provide them with the care and support they've earned-- both at home and abroad.
"The United States has taken tremendous progressive steps over the last year, but there are still daunting challenges confronting our nation. President Obama's address tonight was a hopeful message of confidence in the American people and our determination and resolve in the face of great challenges. I look forward to working with my colleagues and the Administration to accomplish this agenda in 2010 and the years ahead."
WASHINGTON--U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) released the following statement Wednesday night at the conclusion of President Obama's State of the Union address:
"With Illinois' unemployment rate exceeding 11 percent, the president needs to focus on core economic issues and creating jobs. I was happy to see that he correctly prioritized heavy infrastructure investment as a way to create jobs. The $787 billion stimulus failed because it primarily funded social programs with little job creating potential. We need to invest in road, rail and river infrastructure to make sure Illinois can attract and retain high-quality jobs.
"As a fiscal conservative, I believe the president's proposed three-year non-defense discretionary spending 'freeze' is a good start. The problem is it only addresses about 1/8th of the total budget and would not apply to a trillion-dollar health care bill. We are already spending at an unsustainable rate - simply freezing spending is not fiscal restraint. We need to reduce the $12.3 trillion debt if we are serious about improving the U.S. economy. We can't spend our way into economic recovery.
"I also wish the president had called on Congress to start over on a bipartisan health care bill. Any health care bill should include lawsuit reform, interstate insurance competition and no new taxes or cuts to Medicare for seniors. I worry that congressional leaders will continue to keep the public in the dark about health care negotiations, despite the president's pledge to broadcast the meetings on C-SPAN."