Comments from U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader:
“I was pleased that the President’s speech led with the need to reduce our nation’s debt and deficits using a balanced, comprehensive approach—including tax and entitlement reform and spending cuts. That is the best way for us to create the economic certainty necessary for our private industries to want to invest and create American jobs.
“I share the President’s call for the funding of early childhood education, college affordability initiatives and workforce training programs and believe they are integral steps in generating a workforce that is able to out-research, out-innovate and out-compete the rest of the world. Comprehensive immigration reform, an all-of-the-above energy policy and investments in our nation’s transportation infrastructure are other areas of vital importance if our country is to flourish in the twenty-first century global economy.
“I was disappointed that the President failed to mention how Congress must solve the problems of America’s rural communities, who have been hit harder and longer during our economic recovery. Passing a twenty-first century farm bill, promoting coherent forest policy that preserves healthy forests and rural communities and reforming our guest worker programs are all issues that Congress must address.
“I applaud the President’s announcement of an accelerated withdrawal of our troops from Afghanistan. Now, we should use that money for nation building here at home. That means making sure that our heroes come home to the jobs and investing in the middle class of the future.
“Tonight, the President laid a broad framework for long-term, long-lasting economic prosperity. Only by working together with colleagues on both sides of the aisle, and bipartisan organizations like No Labels, can Congress trust each other, produce results and ensure that our children and grandchildren are left with a better, stronger nation than we inherited.”
Comments from U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley:
“President Obama was absolutely right when he said, ‘A growing economy that creates good, middle-class jobs – that must be the North Star that guides our efforts.’ There is no better program of any kind than a good, living-wage job as a foundation for a successful family.
“The President mentioned many strategies to spur job creation, now and for the future. Let’s have that discussion right now on how we can get our economy back on track. Let’s invest in our infrastructure and put people back to work rebuilding America’s crumbling roads and bridges. Let’s offer low-cost loans for homeowners to make their homes energy-efficient. Let’s hire back the teachers that were laid off during this terrible depression, and help prepare our children for the jobs of the future. And let’s do more to make sure that anyone who works hard can make ends meet, by raising the minimum wage.
“We won’t make America stronger, create jobs, or build for the future by making life tougher for seniors or turning our back on the hungry and hurting. Businesses won’t invest while we’re lurching from cliff to cliff, with uncertainty looming over government policy every few months. It’s time to end the manufactured crises and focus on making this country work for the middle class.
“I look forward to working with my colleagues to move our country forward. Let’s heed the President’s call to work together to focus on creating good jobs now and growth for the future.”
Comments from U.S. Senator Ron Wyden:
“President Obama laid out an economic vision that includes rebuilding our infrastructure, strengthening American manufacturing and overhauling the tax code. If Congress is serious about creating jobs, there is no better place to start than tax reform. Bipartisan tax reforms like the ones I have been working on would create a simpler, more business-friendly tax code that would increase tax revenue without raising tax rates. In fact, we would lower corporate tax rates to make American businesses more competitive – helping businesses to create jobs that pay middle class wages.
I am also pleased that the President supports the principles behind the Student Right to Know Before You Go initiative I’ve drafted with Senator Marco Rubio, R-Fla. We need to work together to ensure that parents and students get the most bang for their educational buck. We will soon be reintroducing the legislation to make sure this happens.
President Obama also got it right tonight by highlighting the importance of national infrastructure as a way to create jobs and rebuild our crumbling bridges and highways. You can’t have big league economic growth with a little league transportation system. I have always believed that private investment follows public investment. That is why I’ve teamed up with Senator John Hoeven, R-N.D., to champion the Transportation Regional Infrastructure Project bonds. These bonds, like their predecessors, Build America Bonds, will save local government millions of dollars in financing public works projects. It is time for Congress to build on that success.
It is past time for Congress to take action to address the issue of climate change and the associated health and environmental impacts. Only Congress has sufficient tools to address the global nature of the problem and pursue a solution that will reduce domestic emissions while also keeping us competitive in the world market. I will continue to work to pass laws to address climate change by increasing clean energy use and reducing America’s carbon footprint.”
Comments from Governor John Kitzhaber
“The President delivered a compelling vision for America and a comprehensive plan to grow the middle class. I am proud to be a part of it, and Oregon stands ready to do our part. Our partnership with the administration on health care and education innovations offers a model for federal flexibility and local accountability that can help lead the way to a more prosperous future.”