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Harkin Statement on President Obama’s Fourth State of the Union Address

February 13, 2013

Harkin Statement on President Obama’s Fourth State of the Union Address

Pro-job, pro-growth agenda will rebuild a strong middle class


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today issued the following statement in response to President Obama’s fourth State of the Union address.  Harkin chairs the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, as well as the Senate Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee.

“Tonight the President outlined a pro-job, pro-growth agenda that will rebuild America’s middle class and continue our path to economic recovery.  The President’s plan is designed to help Americans across the full spectrum: from creating jobs to ensuring that all Americans, including individuals with disabilities, have the skills to compete in a 21st-century global economy.  The President’s agenda is aimed at restoring the promise of the American middle class—that if you work hard and play by the rules, you will be able to earn a fair wage, send your kids to college, and build a nest egg for retirement.  

“I was encouraged by his proposals to promote manufacturing and a modern, efficient infrastructure.  Both efforts are immediate job creators.  In education, modern science teaches us that learning starts at birth, and preparation for learning starts before birth.  We know that investing in early childhood education has a high rate of return, so I was heartened by the President’s plan.  His focus on higher education, including the college scorecard, will help increase affordability and accessibility for our nation’s students.  I plan to work closely with the President and his Administration on efforts to reduce the burden of student debt.   His proposals on clean energy will help states like Iowa continue to lead our green economy into the future.   

“With a deadline looming, the President outlined a balanced approach to deficit reduction.  I could not agree more.  For too long, many in Washington have been pushing not just misguided budgets, but a dangerously misguided premise – that America is broke, and that we can no longer afford the investments that make possible a strong middle class and a world-class economy.  The fact is, we cannot simply cut our way out of this mess.  

“In his inaugural address, President Obama said we can invest in a new generation without pitting it against the generation who built so much of the freedom, security and prosperity we already enjoy as a nation.  In his speech tonight, the President laid out a vision for doing just that – a vision that Iowans and all Americans broadly support.”