Stephanie Young, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC – Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) discussed the President’s State of the Union Address on C-SPAN2 and Roll Call last night. See excerpts of the interviews and links to the videos below.
Click here to watch Whip Hoyer's interview on C-SPAN2
Click here to watch Whip Hoyer's interview on Roll Call.
“I think what the President said [was] we want to work together. But if you don't work, I’m not going to be immobilized, I’m not going to forget that I’m elected by all the people to do things. And I’m going to do things. I’m going to do things that try to create jobs, grow our economy, invest in the education of our kids, [and] in the job training of our workers. I’m going to do things. And I think that is what the American people expect all of us to do. And his message was, let's do it together. Let's work together to make America better. And I think that’s a message the American public are going to respond to and say, yes, that's what I want to do. And they also don't want -- if the Congress won't help, if the Congress won’t participate -- for the President to just sit there while the country does not make the progress the people know it needs.”
“I think there is common ground in that everybody says they want to grow the economy. For instance, the President said he wanted to see taxes reduced on businesses that were doing and growing jobs here in America, and didn’t want to advantage those who were taking jobs overseas and wanted to make sure that people could bring profits home. So from that standpoint, I think we can reach common ground there. I think we ought to be able to reach common ground on comprehensive immigration reform. Seventy percent of the American people thinks that makes sense. The Chamber of Commerce thinks this makes sense. AFL-CIO thinks it makes sense. Farm owners think it makes sense. Farm workers think it makes sense. Evangelicals think it makes sense. Certainly the Congress of the United States ought to agree with the overwhelming majority of the American people and interest groups on both sides that it makes sense to do – it grows jobs, grows our economy and it is the right thing to do from a moral standpoint in any event. So I would hope we can reach common ground and, frankly, Speaker Boehner is taking steps to address immigration. Majority Leader Cantor says the immigration system is broken. So we certainly have a consensus that it needs change. Certainly we ought to be able to reach consensus on how to do that.”
“I thought the President’s speech was an excellent speech... A lot has happened in the last 4 years, 5 years. Jobs have been created. The economy is growing. We’re becoming more energy independent. We’ve withdrawn troops from Iraq…. So are we better off than where we were 5 years ago? The answer is absolutely yes. But he said we haven’t done enough. We need to do more. He talked about the investments in health care. We ought to be proud of the Affordable Care Act. The millions and millions of people that have been helped. The young people that have been helped. Seniors that have been helped. But then he said but we need to do more because we need to make sure those who are not being advantaged in this economy, those that can’t find a job, those who are struggling, need our help. They not only need our help in the short term with unemployment insurance, which we ought to restore now, they not only need help with raising the minimum wage, to a wage in which they won’t be in poverty although they are working hard a full week. But they also need training, they need education, they need to be given the skills that are necessary in a competitive economy. And then he said at the end let’s work together. Let’s work together to get this done. And I think that’s what the American people clearly want us to do. But he also said this, and I think this is very important: ‘look, I was elected President of the United States. And I want to work with you, I want to work together. But very frankly, I am not going to sit on the sidelines and try to get some of the things done that I think need to get done if you aren’t going to act and work with me. I’m going to act.’ So he talked about optimism, he talked about opportunity, and he talked about action.”
“[President Obama] talked about immigration reform, which we think is broadly supported by so many different groups – labor, Chamber of Commerce, farmers, farm workers, the faith community – but 70% of the American public as well…. Hopefully, those of us who serve in the Congress of the United States will hear the sentiments of our public and represent them. That doesn’t mean we’ll agree with every part of the constituency. It does mean, however, that when the American public by 7 out of 10 say this is something we ought to get done, and they say, with over 60% that we ought to raise the minimum wage so workers who work hard aren’t living in poverty – we ought to listen. I think that’s what he was saying.… I don’t think he was saying I’m going to do it without you. He was saying, all of us were elected. He was elected by all the people, we were elected by districts. He was saying I’m not going to be immobilized from addressing the problems that the American people want addressed just because you don’t work with me. But the best way for us to do it is to work together.”