Washington, D.C. — Congressman Charles B. Rangel released the following statement in response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union before Joint Session of the Congress where he discussed three key principles: opportunity, action, and optimism:
“Today the President has reminded the country that, with optimism for the future and action on all of our parts, we can expand economic opportunities for everyone in America. I look forward to advancing the set of concrete, practical proposals he has laid out to help more Americans find work, and more workers find the economic security they deserve.
In America, if you work hard and play by the rules, you should have the opportunity to succeed. When thousands of men and women work full time but need food stamps to put food on their tables, when they can’t get health benefits, when they can’t get paid sick days, then we must do whatever we can to stand up for them.
The current recovery process is an opportunity to prepare us as a country for the 21st century global economy. President Obama’s proposals tonight, such as raising the federal minimum wage, implementing new retirement savings account, launching manufacturing initiatives, empowering women, making college affordable, not only jump-start the economy in the short-term, but also invest in lasting opportunity for all—this means that recovery efforts must do more than simply return us to the conditions that existed at the beginning of this economic crisis.
The government has the obligation to help those most in need during times of need. It’s not only the right thing to do, but it’s in the best interest of our economic future. Immediately we must renew unemployment insurance and protect food stamps to put money into the pockets of the families who are struggling to make ends meet. We need an educated and healthy generation that will make America competitive. We must protect the Affordable Care Act, Social Security and Medicaid; we need to pass comprehensive immigration reform to create a more robust workforce; we must reduce gun violence to make our communities safer and continue to support our troops and veterans when they return home.
Each of these policies contributes to broader platforms of security for workers and their families that help to keep people in good economic standing and expand opportunities for all, and I fully support President Obama’s progressive and optimistic agenda.”