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Reaction from Oregon’s Congressional Delegation to President Trumps SOTU speech

Sen. Jeff Merkley
D-Oregon

Senator Merkley, (D):
“President Trump delivered a speech tonight that was virtually devoid of substance.

“There was the long-awaited infrastructure plan which, instead of truly investing in our nation’s future and its infrastructure, leaves rural America behind, puts local taxpayers on the hook, and leaves our communities hostage to highway robbery from Wall Street. If the President has his way, instead of the Eisenhower Interstate System, Americans should get ready for ‘Trump Tolls.’

“And Trump’s remarks did little to allay the concerns of our nation’s 800,000 DREAMers. Instead of recognizing the real human toll of his actions against DACA recipients, Trump has turned the lives of DREAMers into bargaining chips for a $25 billion slush fund to build his border wall, and extreme right-wing immigration ideas that would cut legal immigration in half.

“I was honored to have Leonardo Reyes, an Oregon DREAMer, as my guest in the House Chamber tonight. Leo came to America when he was ten. He grew up here, went to school here, built a life here, and now works for the state of Oregon trying to give back to the community he calls home. He is an inspiration to me and should be to all Americans. Americans support restoring legal status to our DREAMers. We have a bipartisan bill on the table. President Trump just needs to get to ‘yes.’

“America was founded as a nation for ‘We the People,’ not ‘We the Powerful.’ Under Trump, the state of our union is moving further and further from this founding vision—but each of us has the power to help our country change course, to reembrace our founding ideals of equality and opportunity, and create an economy that works for working Americans. Trump’s speech tonight made it even clearer than ever before: It’s time for ‘We the People’ grassroots America to rise up, get involved, and take our country back in 2018.”

Sen. Ron Wyden
D-Oregon

Senator Ron Wyden: (D)
“Trump has spent the past two years making grandiose promises to put workers and families first, but he and congressional Republicans are frantically working to reward corporations and the politically powerful,” Wyden said.

“No amount of rhetoric can mask the reality that Trump’s agenda is all about giving more power and influence to special interests by making life harder for the middle class in Oregon and nationwide.”

Rep. Earl Blumenauer
D-Oregon

Congressman Earl Blumenauer: (D)
“Tonight’s State of the Union Speech failed to provide real leadership to unite the Congress and the American public. The President covered a lot of issues tonight, most of them likely to trigger divisive battles in Congress. Unfortunately, he failed to mention some of the most important things we can do that could unite this Congress.

“The President has repeated his pattern of putting a positive, political spin on issues of importance, and not addressing the difficulties or costs ahead. Not a single word was included about the environment, or the opportunity to put millions of Americans to work rebuilding our roads and infrastructure. We have bipartisan transportation legislation in the House that, with a little assistance from the President, could move through Congress and be on his desk in a matter of weeks, putting millions of Americans to work this year, while reducing congestion, decreasing air pollution and revitalizing our sluggish economy.

“Sadly, the President has missed the opportunity to ask that the country and Congress work together in a more constructive fashion. Rather than providing a political blueprint, our nation needs leadership to make this country safer, healthier and more economically secure.”

Rep. Suzanne Bonimici
D-Oregon

Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici: (D)
This evening the President talked about working together and uniting the country, but to date he has created division. Now he must put his new words tonight into action. Trump needs to leave behind the days of hateful, racist rhetoric, and start setting a positive example for the country. I stand ready to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass good policies that grow our economy and enacts comprehensive immigration reform that will protect Dreamers.”

Rep. Greg Walden
R-Hood River


Congressman Greg Walden: (R)

“As a small business owner for nearly 22 years, I know that you can’t borrow and spend your way into prosperity.

“Because of years of record deficits, the national debt has ballooned to a staggering $14 trillion while unemployment hovers near 10 percent nationwide and far higher in many parts of rural Oregon.

“The formula of ‘spend now and bill the grandkids later’ hasn’t worked. If nothing is done to rein in spending, CBO predicts the national debt will reach $23 trillion by 2020.

“The freeze in spending suggested by the President locks in record spending increases and amounts to a less than 2 percent cut in deficits over 10 years. We must do better.

“In just the first few weeks of the new Congress, House Republicans have acted on their pledge to repeal the health care law, roll back spending to 2008 levels, and approve with an overwhelming bipartisan majority my bill to cut Congress’ own budget.

“That’s just a start. Much more needs to be done to control spending and curtail job-destroying government rules and regulations.

“The country faces daunting challenges and difficult decisions, so I appreciate the President’s call for a bipartisan way forward. In November, voters delivered a divided government full of checks and balances. While we will have philosophical differences and principled debates, I welcome the opportunity to work with anyone — Republican, Democrat, or Independent — who is serious about really reducing wasteful Washington deficit spending and putting this country back to work again.”

Congressman Peter DeFazio: (D)
“Tonight, President Trump declared that, after his first year in office, his administration has made our nation a safer, stronger, and prouder America. Instead, I heard a speech short on policy and long on platitudes and props, one that outlined the many ways that the Trump administration and their irresponsible policies are hurting American workers, seniors, children, and families.

“Over the past year, President Trump has made it harder for millions of working families to get ahead. While Republicans tout their recently-passed tax bill as a win for middle class families, it is in actuality a massive giveaway to corporations and America’s very wealthiest. Meanwhile, in 2019 more than 9 million middle class families will face a tax increase because of this bill. The tax plan also blows a colossal hole in our national debt in order to pay for the enormous tax breaks for corporations and wealthy investors, which puts critical entitlement programs at risk—Speaker Ryan has already said that in order to balance the deficit created by the tax plan, Republicans will seek to make drastic cuts to Medicare and Social Security, putting millions of senior’s livelihoods in jeopardy and endangering the futures of millions who will one day benefit from these programs.

“To add insult to injury, this bill encourages major corporations to outsource their jobs to our foreign competitors—despite President Trump calling himself the ultimate job creator. Since passage of the Republican tax plan, more than 30,000 layoffs have been announced from major companies across the nation.

“This is not the only instance of President Trump failing the American worker—prior to taking office, he repeatedly promised to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the disastrous trade deal that has decimated American manufacturing and sent hundreds of thousands of middle-class jobs overseas. While the Trump administration has taken steps to improve our nation’s unfair trade policies with our partners, in particular Chinese and Canadian subsidies into our hardwood and softwood industries, we have not seen enough commitment from this administration to push for a new NAFTA agreement that protects not only our workers but our environment, consumer safety, and U.S. sovereignty.

“Tonight we heard President Trump applaud the repeal of a critical pillar of the Affordable Care Act–a move expected to leave more than 13 million Americans without health insurance coverage and raise premiums by ten percent. I have never said that the Affordable Care Act was a perfect bill, but these heartless cuts to coverage will do nothing but take our country back to the days when the number one cause of bankruptcy for Americans was medical costs from catastrophic injury or unexpected illness. While Republicans spent endless hours laser-focused on undoing President Obama’s signature achievement, they left critical safety net programs including the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Community Health Centers (CHCs), unfunded for months. Their obsession with repealing the Affordable Care Act has created tremendous instability in the health insurance marketplace, causing premiums to skyrocket, yet they offer no solutions to provide relief to the American families impacted by their partisanship.”

“Tonight, I had hoped that President Trump would provide Congress with his vision for a real, robust plan to invest at least $1 trillion to rebuild our nation’s crumbling roads, bridges, ports, airports, water infrastructure and transit systems. Unfortunately, the President once again delivered a nothing burger, providing only generic talking points without any specific details about how he plans to address our infrastructure crisis.

“As I have repeatedly said, if the Administration wants bipartisan support they must offer an infrastructure plan that strengthens the Federal commitment to our national transportation network by providing sustainable, long-term funding, and filling the crater in the Highway Trust Fund. President Trump cannot pretend to solve our infrastructure woes by slashing real investments to States and local governments, pushing the responsibility off Federal balance sheets, cutting existing transportation programs to pay for Wall Street and foreign investors to toll our roads, and gutting bedrock environmental protections. Regrettably, the Administration’s plan will likely do just that.

“We need to invest in rebuilding America, not sell it off. If the President is serious about developing a bipartisan plan to invest in infrastructure, he needs to forward a plan that both Democrats and Republicans can support.”

“I invited as my guest tonight Jesus Narvaez, a young man from Eugene who is a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program recipient and attends Lane Community College, where he is studying to become a teacher. Jesus is one of millions of immigrants who were brought into the United States through no fault of their own by their parents at a young age and have only known this country as their home. President Trump’s decision to terminate the DACA program is not only heartless, it has thrown millions of lives into turmoil, and if the President does not work with Congress to resolve the issue, young people across the country will be forced to leave behind their families and the only life they have ever known.

“However, there is no question that our current immigration system is broken and that Congress and the president must act to effectively reform the system and secure our borders. Throughout my time in Congress, I have continually fought to restrict individuals from entering the United States who would do our citizens harm—whether it be through terrorist attacks, drug smuggling, or gang violence.While we need smart investments in our border security efforts, a multi-billion dollar wall on our southern border will not stop migrants from entering our country, and it will not stop criminals from smuggling drugs across the border. As new ideas on how to best repair our broken immigration system are put forward in the coming weeks, I will be sure to look carefully at each proposal to ensure that it is both a wise use of our taxpayer dollars and will be a true solution to keep our nation safe from terrorists, drug runners, and gang violence.

“As members of Congress, our number one priority in the coming weeks must be to avert another government shutdown. We cannot run our country on a month-to-month budget—it is not only reckless, but it puts our nation at risk and degrades our military readiness. Defense Secretary Mattis has repeatedly warned against operating our government under a near-constant continuing resolution, saying ‘no enemy in the field has done more to harm the readiness of the U.S. military than…operating in nine of the last 10 years under continuing resolutions.’ President Trump and Speaker Ryan must put forth truly bipartisan solutions that both Republicans and Democrats can rally behind in order to keep our government running smoothly.”

Rep. Kurt Schrader
D-Oregon

Congressman Kurt Schrader: (D)
Rep. Kurt Schrader, who represents Oregon’s 5th Congressional District, in a statement to Facebook called Trump’s speech “continued vague promises, campaign style one-liners and outright lies about our country.”

“He lied and fear mongered around immigration. And his promises for Medicaid completely contradict the plan he currently supports,” he wrote. “But I refuse to give up hope that this Congress and this Presidency will find common ground on something.”

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