Gwen Moore responds to President’s State of the Union Address to Congress

Gwen Moore

Gwen Moore

Congresswoman Gwen Moore (WI-4) released this statement following President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address to Congress.

“Tonight President Obama delivered a thoughtful address, outlining our nation’s priorities for 2014. From education reform and college affordability to job training and retirement security, there were many noteworthy items in his speech under the overall theme of opportunity, action and optimism.

“I am pleased that he used this moment, not simply as a messaging platform, but as a means to highlight how he intends to address some key legislative items this year. His speech focused on the notion of ‘opportunity for all.’

In other words, we must work to create opportunity for the middle class and those striving for the middle class. There is no doubt that our economy continues to grow; however, let us recognize that our work is far from over.

The scourge of income inequality plagues our communities, and low-wage jobs threaten the financial security of families all across America.

“Tonight President Obama decided to take the first step in working to ensure that hardworking Americans earn living wages.

Those who are working on new federal contracts will now have more funds to provide for their basic needs.

The second step is raising the federal minimum wage in its entirety by passing the Harkin-Miller bill.

“While we support struggling Americans in the workforce, we must not forget the 1.6 million people and counting who have already lost vital unemployment benefits.

In Wisconsin, approximately 1,608 people are losing their benefits each week in the first half of 2014. I join President Obama in calling on Congress to act.

I also look forward to learning more about the President’s CEO initiative to hire the long-term unemployed.

“It was clear, however, that the President does not seek to turn his back on Congress.

Rather, he has decided to act when Congress has not. As Members, it is essential that we work with him to expand economic opportunity to all Americans.

As we do so, we must work to ensure that Americans are not discriminated against in the workplace through pay discrepancies, sexual orientation or gender identity.

“In America, success should not be guaranteed for a few and an unattainable idea for most. In the same vein, I am pleased that the President spoke on the importance of our manufacturing sector. Companies like Master Lock, in my district, help to support millions of jobs each year.

In fact, the manufacturing sector employed over 12 million people this past December, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

We must work to sustain and bolster this vital aspect of our economy.

I look forward to President Obama’s Wisconsin visit to discuss the significance of manufacturing jobs.

“From preserving the integrity of the Voting Rights Act, to passing comprehensive immigration reform, gun violence prevention legislation and more, we have many other items left on the legislative table.

It is my hope that President Obama and Congress are able to work together to positively address our most pressing issues.”