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December 25, 2014
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New York & Pennsylvania officials react to the State of the Union Address


Below are statements issued by Congressman Tom Marino, Congressman Maurice Hinchey, Senator Pat Toomey, Senator Bob Casey and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.

U.S. Rep. Tom Marino,
PA-10, issued this response to President Obama’s State of the Union Address:

Tonight President Obama delivered a campaign speech and once again, tried again to convince the American people that he is committed to helping America’s middle class.

Unfortunately, the president’s words never seem to match his actions.

Since taking office three years ago, the president has contributed more to the deterioration of this nation’s middle class than any other president.

The things that matter most to the average American – good-paying jobs, maintaining a small business, owning a home, paying for health care and using a vehicle – are slipping beyond their reach.
More people are dependent on the federal government than ever before.

Sadly, this president’s words and actions are dividing, not uniting. He has become a master of the politics of envy and division.

If the president wants to help the middle class, he should
look no further than Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s desk to find the 27 job-creating bills that the House has passed within the last year.

This address was just another campaign speech, more of the same; more blame and more division. This time around the president cannot hide from his record.

President Obama may continue to blame the previous
administration for the weak economy he inherited. However, he has to take responsibility for the rapid deterioration that took place since he took office.

Congressman Maurice Hinchey
(D-NY) tonight released the following statement on President Obama's State of the Union Address.

President Obama has articulated a vision for an economy that lifts up all Americans - not just the wealthiest 1 percent. This path forward recognizes that we face a make or break moment for the middle class and those trying to reach the middle class. While our economy has shown encouraging signs of recovery since 2008, the underlying economic problems, which have been evident for decades, continue to hinder our ability to ensure economic security and the promise of America for those who work hard and play by the rules.

We simply cannot afford to settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do extremely well, while a growing number of Americans can barely get by. Since 1979, the top 1 percent of Americans have seen their incomes grow by 275 percent, and in recent years the top one-fifth of income earners raked in more than the rest of the country combined. To address this crisis we must take bold action to reform our tax code so that millionaires and billionaires no longer pay a smaller percent of their income in taxes than their secretaries and personal drivers.

We must also invest in rebuilding American infrastructure so that it can sustain a 21st century economy, and restore our manufacturing sector so that we make things in America again. Our schools need to be well funded so that we can retain and hire good teachers who can educate a skilled workforce, and we must shift away from a fossil fuel based economy and towards a sustainable and renewable energy future.

The path forward set forth by President Obama is a prescription for a stronger America where the dreams we have for our children can come true. It is a sharp departure from the picture of austerity and decline painted by those who are focused on winning the next election instead of winning our future.

Sen. Pat Toomey
(R-Pa.) issued the following statement tonight on the president's State of the Union address:

The president did suggest his willingness to work with Congress on a few pro-economic growth policies, and I will always welcome working with the president and anyone who wants to pursue ideas that will grow the economy and create jobs. However, the majority of the president's speech was just business as usual for this administration and a retread of ideas that have already failed.

Massive spending, tax increases, new additional regulations, and special-interest giveaways - these are the things that have helped to get us to where we are now - a weak economy without the kind of job growth that we need.

What we need is for the president to unite Americans - not divide them - and to focus on opportunities - a growing economy that will create the jobs that we need. With unemployment at more than 8 percent and our nation's debt at more than $15 trillion, we need to work together and pass meaningful solutions. I'm still going to fight for those policies, and I hope the president will come along with us on at least some of them.

U.S. Senator Bob Casey
(D-PA) released the following statement on the President’s State of the Union address:

We face many challenges as the country recovers from the great recession - many of which were highlighted tonight. One thing, however, is clear: we need to keep the focus on jobs. I just spent several weeks back home, talking with Pennsylvanians. Everywhere I went I heard two things: create jobs and work together. We owe it to those we serve to make that our focus as well. I am grateful to have the opportunity to work with my colleagues from both chambers and from both sides of the aisle to extend the middle-class tax cuts and continue to strengthen the economy.

I also look forward to more attention on the critical issue of manufacturing. Pennsylvania manufacturers have been hit hard by unfair trade practices by countries like China. The Senate has passed legislation to crack down on China’s currency manipulation. The House must follow suit and the Administration must do more to use its existing powers to level the playing field for U.S. workers.

I hope that we build on the spirit of bipartisanship seen in the Chamber tonight as Democrats and Republicans sat together to create jobs and grow the economy.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
(D-NY)issued the following statement, including a renewed call to make insider trading by members of Congress, their staff and family members clearly and expressly illegal by passing the bipartisan STOCK Act.

Our economy can’t afford another year of governing through brinkmanship that we’ve seen too much of from this Congress. We need to set our politics aside, and find the common core values we can agree on to create jobs and set economic opportunity for the middle class in motion – by giving everyone a fair chance to succeed, rewarding hard work, and investing in ‘Made In America’ again.

We’re not lacking the tools it takes for a thriving economy. We have it all in New York State: the hardest workers you can ask for, bright and innovative minds, world-class universities and research institutions, a thriving high-tech sector to rival Silicon Valley, and manufacturers to power our economy with new sources of clean energy that’s made right here. What we’re lacking is the political will to unleash all of its potential.

Just as President Obama showed us his leadership by supporting the 9/11 health bill, and just as he declared his commitment to fairness by repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ in his State of the Union two years ago, tonight we’re seeing his leadership again by urging Congress to play by the exact same rules as everyone else in America by making insider trading on Capitol Hill clearly and expressly illegal by passing the bipartisan STOCK Act I’ve been fighting for.

Guided by our sense of common purpose and bipartisanship, I know we can do what’s right, change the way Washington works, and foster the environment for a growing economy and a thriving middle class.”