Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) released this statement following President Obama’s State of the Union address this evening:
President Obama laid out a vision to bring more accountability and responsibility to our economic policy while strengthening our recovery at the same time. I agree with him when he called this a make or break moment. We need to put policies in place that grow the middle class and lead to more things being stamped ‘Made in America.’
I’m particularly pleased the President included a balanced look at our energy policy. Oil production in our country is the highest it’s been at any point in the last eight years. We need to also have a strong marketplace for renewables. South Dakota is particularly well suited to help lead the nation in renewable energy production. As a member of the Senate Energy Committee, I look forward to working with the President on this.
His message of asking all Americans to do their fair share is the kind of philosophy that will build a recovery that will last and bring an end to the boom and bust cycles we’ve seen in recent decades. Our policies shouldn’t allow the super rich to game the system and receive special tax breaks. There are holes in our tax code big enough to drive a truck through, and closing them should be part of the discussion as we get our deficit in line.
As chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, I’m glad the President recognized the need for strong consumer protections in the financial marketplace, as well as for policies to foster a sustainable recovery in the housing market. With Richard Cordray as Director, the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will help end abusive financial practices and level the playing field for community banks and credit unions. Our economy cannot thrive without a strong housing sector, and I look forward to working with the President and his Administration toward a robust recovery.
Over the last twenty two months, 3.2 million private sector jobs have been created. Congress and the President have also worked together to make $2 trillion in spending cuts. Imagine what we could accomplish if there was less brinksmanship and more collaboration.
There’s no doubt the President’s agenda is an ambitious one, but that doesn’t make acting on it impossible. Congress should not wait until after the next election to get something done. I’m ready to work with the Administration and Republicans and Democrats alike to keep making progress on our nation’s priorities.