January 28, 2014
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Angus King (I-ME) released the following statement in response to President Obama’s State of the Union address:
“The President delivered an eloquent State of the Union address tonight that I believe properly identified many of the central issues that continue to ail our nation and our economy, chief among them, a struggling middle class.
“It is well-known that the middle class is, as it has been for generations, the mainstay of the U.S. economy, which is why I particularly appreciated the President’s focus on expanding economic opportunity for hard-working Americans. As the costs of living continue to climb and wage levels remain largely stagnant, I welcome the President’s call to raise the federal minimum wage and agree that it will help to provide greater economic security and spending power to families in Maine and across the country.
“As the President rightly noted, though, giving America a raise is only a single piece to a larger and more complicated economic puzzle. We must also work to provide our children with better and more affordable educational opportunities and give people of all ages the chance to learn new skills, which will enable them to compete for good-paying jobs in today’s ever-evolving economy. Ensuring that Americans have access to quality and affordable healthcare coverage remains critical and finding ways to strengthen options for retirement savings plans will allow people to retire with financial security.
“I am pleased the President also touched upon several other important issues tonight, like improving our nation’s advanced manufacturing base, revitalizing the country’s deteriorating infrastructure and transportation network, and safeguarding our environment while pursuing renewable energy sources – all of which are keys to unlocking a new, innovative economy that will move our country forward and put Americans to work doing it.
“While I appreciated hearing the President speak about possible tax reform efforts like closing loopholes and lowering rates for businesses, I would have also liked to hear more about other ways in which government can foster a more hospitable environment for economic growth, such as regulatory reform, which has been one of my priorities. We all understand that most rules and regulations protect Americans, but there are also many that are outdated and ineffective, and as a result, only stifle economic growth. I authored legislation with Republican Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri that would create a commission to identify those ineffectual rules and then recommend them to Congress for elimination. That would be a valuable step in helping to lift a burden on businesses across the country and give them greater freedom to expand their enterprise and hire more people.
“Lastly, while I am not opposed to the executive order power in principle, and even believe such orders can be appropriate and necessary at times, I want to ensure that Congress does not become an afterthought. I understand the President’s desire to utilize his executive order authority, but I urge him to exercise it carefully moving forward.
“As Congress enters this new legislative session, I fully welcome the opportunity to work with my colleagues and with the President to improve our economy. It is my hope that we can continue to embrace the spirit of bipartisanship that resulted in last year’s budget agreement and the recent appropriations bill. Congress has demonstrated that it can indeed work together on behalf of the country. Moving forward, the two parties will most certainly disagree on many of the issues discussed tonight, but it is imperative that we negotiate with one another, find common ground, and strike compromises for the betterment of the country.”