January 28, 2014
Congressman Smith (WA-09) released the following statement after President Obama gave the 2014 State of the Union:
"Tonight, the President laid out some great ideas about how to reduce income inequality, grow the economy, and ensure every American has equal economic opportunities.
"We need to raise the minimum wage. Over the last few decades, cost of living has continued to rise while the minimum wage has been stagnant. As a result, working full-time at minimum wage is no longer enough to keep families out of poverty. My father, who worked as a baggage handler for United Airlines decades ago, made more money than someone doing the same job today.
"We need to ensure that hard-working Americans earn enough to support their families and make ends meet. I have supported federal and local initiatives to increase the minimum wage, and was pleased to see the President institute an executive order that will raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour for those working on new federal contracts. Now it's Congress' turn.
"We also need to support Americans with policies that get everyone who needs a job back to work. After the largest economic crisis since the Great Depression, many Americans have been squeezed out of the economy because they can't find a job or have one that doesn't provide enough to pay the bills.
"We need supports like unemployment insurance, job training, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Head Start, and other programs that enable hard-working Americans to provide for their families while still struggling to recover from the economic downturn.
"As we focus on these critical issues, there is reason for optimism. The economy continues its recovery and has created 8 million jobs in less than 4 years. As this growth continues, however, we need to ensure that all Americans are sharing in this prosperity. Additionally, Congress has come together in bipartisan fashion to pass an appropriations bill that I am hopeful will spur further bipartisanship and stability in our government.
"I look forward to working with the President, his administration, and all my colleagues to advance the goals the President laid out tonight of reducing income inequality, promoting equal economic opportunities, and growing the economy."