01.20.15

Gardner Responds to President Obama’s State of the Union Address

Washington, DC – Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) released a video today responding to President Barack Obama’s annual State of the Union Address. The text of the response, as prepared for delivery, is copied below.

Click HERE to watch the video.

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Hello! I'm Senator Cory Gardner from the great state of Colorado. Tonight, we heard from the president as he presented his State of the Union speech. I'd like to share with you some thoughts on what the president said, but more importantly, what actions I think leaders in Washington can take to really improve life for working Americans.

Over the past few years, we have had some improvements in our economy. Some parts, such as corporate earnings and stock prices, have even recovered to their pre-recession levels. But these gains can mask the fact that middle class Coloradans and Americans are still feeling pinched. Measures like labor force participation and workers hourly earnings are either flat or going in the wrong direction, indicating that we still have a long ways to go until the middle class feels like there’s a recovery. I’ve called this our “veneered economy”, and you don’t have to scratch too far below the surface to see many Americans struggling. When you read the news, it can seem like the haves and the have-nots in America are living in completely different economies.

The president’s reaction to this reality has been to put forward yet another package of tax increases and new government spending rather than trying to lift up those hard working middle class Americans who are struggling.

This is the wrong approach. We should be focused on solutions which empower the middle class and grow the economy, not just another tax increase or another government program that causes more problems than it solves.

There are many bipartisan areas of agreement that could help move our country forward, and energy is a great place to start. Recently, the New York Times reported that the federal Energy Information Administration estimated that American households will save roughly 750 dollars this year due to lower gas prices. And that’s not even counting any additional savings on your monthly gas bill. I’ve worked closely with Representative Peter Welch, a Democrat in the House, on energy savings performance contracts – which have the potential to save the taxpayer billions of dollars a year and create private sector jobs.

Rather than trying to slow down American energy production, we should be doing even more to encourage it. Increasing our supply of energy here at home keeps prices low, creates American jobs, and provides a boost to every sector of our economy.

This is the kind of issue I hope we in Congress can work together on. While the President has already signaled hostility toward some projects, like the Keystone XL pipeline, which would create thousands of jobs, I am encouraged by the bipartisan majorities in Congress that have come together to support them. It's Congress's job to govern responsibly, and that means putting bills on the president's desk which address big issues. And hopefully, when congress does, the president will sign them.

Our workers are more productive than ever, and America contains the most innovative entrepreneurs, gifted artists, and brilliant inventors in the world. If we can combine them with a government that knows how to set a clear framework for growth and then get out of the way, there’s no limit to what we can accomplish together.

That’s the agenda I hope to set in the new Congress. Accomplishing these goals, governing responsibly, and keeping an eye on the middle class will give Americans one of the few things that our Union is missing: a government it can be proud of again.

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