Hoyer Discusses State of the Union Address with Roll Call

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“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 We’ve withdrawn troops from Iraq….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.”