January 20, 2015
Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) released the following statement after the President’s State of the Union speech:
“Tonight, the President laid out a forward-looking plan to improve our economy by investing in the middle class and the American worker. Our economy and job growth continue to rise to levels not seen since the 1990s, but that growth is not being shared with the majority of our country. Incomes for the top one percent have grown rapidly, while incomes for lower earners have been stagnant. This has eroded opportunities for hard-working families, which has negative impacts on our economy and society as a whole. We can do better.
“The President’s plan is focused on policies that will make paychecks go further, ensure upward mobility, and create and maintain good paying jobs at home. Reforming our tax code to expand tax relief for working and middle class families is critical to helping families who are struggling to cover essential costs. Through the President’s America’s College Promise plan, more programs like South Seattle College’s 13th Year Promise Scholarship will be created to help improve access to good-paying jobs. Additionally, investments will be made in clean energy and healthcare to ensure that good-paying jobs stay in the United States. This plan will go a long way to support strong working and middle class families, and in turn improve our economy. I will do all I can in Congress to advance this agenda.
“I was also pleased to hear the President reiterate the need for comprehensive immigration reform (CIR). His recent executive action was a huge step in fixing our broken system, but this was a first step, not the last step. Congress must pass full CIR to make lasting reforms.
“The President also spoke about our national security agenda. As we have seen over the last year, the world is a dangerous and complicated place. Combating ISIL presents a number of challenges. Russia is attempting to reassert itself in Europe. North Korea’s recent actions underscore the challenges we face with regard to nuclear non-proliferation and cybersecurity. Negotiations with Iran continue to be difficult. Congressional Republicans continue to do everything they can to prevent the Administration from closing the costly detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and developing a rational detention policy that the world can respect.
“These are just some of the challenges that we face on the foreign policy front. None of these challenges were sought out by the American people but in order to ensure our national security, we must work together to confront them. Managing all of these challenges to perfection would be impossible for any President, but President Obama has been consistent and steadfast in leveraging the full arsenal of U.S. power. And we have seen some successes.
“Leveling sanctions against Russia has had a significant impact on the Russian economy. While Russia continues to be a menace to its neighbors, Putin now fully understands that there are significant costs to his actions. Additionally, sanctions have brought and kept Iran at the negotiating table. There is now a possibility for a deal on Iran’s nuclear program later this year.
"While we have decimated Al Qaeda’s core leadership, new challenges, such as ISIL, have emerged. The President has brought an unprecedented coalition together to confront this barbaric and troubling threat and I support his call for Congress pass a resolution authorizing the use of force. It will be difficult to find agreement on the specifics, but it is important for Congress to weigh in.
“Tonight, the President discussed a world that presents a lot of challenges both at home and around the world. Moving forward, I look forward to continuing to work with the Administration and my colleagues in Congress as we work to confront these challenges.”