State of the Union Reactions

CONGRESSWOMAN LOUISE SLAUGHTER

WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (NY-28) today released the following statement following President Obama’s State of the Union address to Congress responding specifically to two tenants of his speech that she has worked on for years: rebuilding America’s manufacturing sector through trade enforcement and passing legislation that would end insider trading among Members of Congress.

“I was delighted to hear the President’s enthusiasm to sign legislation that ends insider trading in Congress and finally reigns in the political intelligence industry that’s been lurking in the shadows of the halls of Congress. I’ve been working on the STOCK Act since 2006 and I say that if the President wants to sign the STOCK Act, let’s get it through the House and send it to him!,” said Slaughter. “It is my hope that the bill that we send to the President is the same bill that has received overwhelming support. The STOCK Act is bipartisan, has enough support to pass the House and is what we should make the law of the land.”

“I was also encouraged that the President shares my desire to strengthen the American economy by rebuilding the American manufacturing sector. For too long American manufacturers have had to compete against illegal trade practices from international competitors and now is the time for bold trade enforcement policies.”

On Insider Trading in Congress

Tonight President Obama said in his State of the Union address, “Some of this has to do with the corrosive influence of money in politics.  So together, let’s take some steps to fix that.  Send me a bill that bans insider trading by Members of Congress, and I will sign it tomorrow.  Let’s limit any elected official from owning stocks in industries they impact.  Let’s make sure people who bundle campaign contributions for Congress can’t lobby Congress, and vice versa – an idea that has bipartisan support, at least outside of Washington.”

In 2006, Slaughter joined with former Rep. Brian Baird to introduce the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act, or STOCK Act, which would finally ban insider trading amongst members of Congress and their staffs, and shed sunlight on the political intelligence industry.

Following media attention in November, momentum for the bill increased co-sponsors from nine to 247 bipartisan supporters including 87 Republicans. It also enjoys the support of eight good government groups and one political intelligence firm including: Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), Campaign Legal Center, Common Cause, Democracy 21, Project on Government Oversight, Public Citizen, U.S. PIRG, the Sunlight Foundation, and JNK Securities Corp.

For more on the STOCK Act, click here: http://www.louise.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=90&Itemid=139

On Rebuilding America’s Manufacturing Sector

Tonight President Obama said, “We have a huge opportunity, at this moment, to bring manufacturing back.  But we have to seize it.  Tonight, my message to business leaders is simple:  Ask yourselves what you can do to bring jobs back to your country, and your country will do everything we can to help you succeed…It’s not fair when foreign manufacturers have a leg up on ours only because they’re heavily subsidized.”

Slaughter is the author of the Reciprocal Market Access Act, H.R. 1749, bipartisan legislation which instructs U.S. trade negotiators to eliminate foreign market barriers before reducing U.S. tariffs and provide enforcement authority to reinstate the tariff if the foreign government does not honor its commitment to remove its barriers. It enjoys the support of corporations like Corning, Inc, Globe Specialty Metals and Hart Schaffner Marx, and unions alike including the United Steel Workers, United Auto Workers, AFL-CIO, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, and the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition (AMTAC). For more on Slaughter’s work to protect American workers and end unfair labor practices, click here: http://www.louise.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=86&Itemid=131

CONGRESSMAN BRIAN HIGGINS

“Tonight we heard the President discuss plans for an America “Built To Last” with a renewed focus on many of the very things historically that made this Nation great – opportunity for an affordable education, the encouragement of discovery and innovation, and for those who work hard the promise for a better tomorrow.

“Many of the points hold great opportunity for Western New York.  Our region has a strong manufacturing base, is home to dozens of quality higher education institutions and our residents have a work ethic like none other.  A focus on the next generation of high-tech manufacturing is already creating jobs at the Ford Stamping Plant in Woodlawn and GM in Tonawanda.  The continuation of this effort to advance products “Made in America,” educate the next generation of thinkers and train our workers will help more local business grow and thrive.

“One of the steepest costs for companies small and large alike is energy.  Over 50 years ago our community found a way to harness our natural resources and create the Niagara Power Project, one of the cleanest and cheapest energy producers in the nation.  The President’s proposal to advance responsible domestic oil production and the development of alternative energy can help with the ever increasing expense of electricity and challenge of high gasoline prices for consumers and entrepreneurs.

“A major component of building America, one I hope to hear more about, is rebuilding America’s foundation; the infrastructure that holds our neighborhoods, businesses and people.  The idea is as old as Lincoln; he called them ‘land improvements.’  Over the next year I hope to make those old ideas new again and working with our President and Congress achieve an aggressive infrastructure agenda that promises to create the quality jobs Americans need and deserve.

“Tonight the President spoke about people who work hard every day and play by the rules. It sounds to me like the people of Western New York.  The people I go to Washington, DC to fight for and the people I can’t wait to come home to each and every week.  I have great hope and optimism about the future of our community and our country.  Working together we can make great things happen.”

Additional Background:

Earlier today Congressman Higgins spoke about the human and economic rewards of research and development citing Roswell Park Cancer Institute’s clinical study on a breakthrough cancer vaccine.

Yesterday the Congressman outlined the actions he would like to see Congress take in the year ahead.

Breaking from traditional partisan seating, Congressman Higgins joined members from the New York Congressional delegation representing both sides of the aisle to listen to the President’s address. Included in the group with Higgins were Ann Marie Buerkle (R, NY 25), Chris Gibson (R, NY 20), Richard Hanna (R, NY 24), and Kathy Hochul (D-NY 26), Rep. Bill Owens (D, NY-23), Tom Reed (R, NY 29), and Paul Tonko (D, NY 21).

CONGRESSWOMAN KATHY HOCHUL

Tonight, President Obama reported on the state of the nation and laid out his plan to move our economy forward.  While we’ve seen some progress, we need to continue to invest in America, ensuring Americans have good jobs to go to every day.

“The President’s proposal to revitalize our manufacturing community, invest in American infrastructure, and focus on job training at community colleges, like ECC, NCC, and MCC, will keep America competitive and bring jobs back to the United States.  It’s time we stop rewarding those companies that ship jobs overseas, and start rewarding companies that create jobs right here in America.

“I, however, would have liked to hear more about the President’s plan to cut the deficit and reduce our national debt.  This is why I supported the Balanced Budget Amendment that requires Congress to balance its finances in the same way Western New York families do every day; and why I support efforts to streamline government, eliminate waste, and be more responsive to the needs of American businesses.

“Right now is the time for us to come together and work with one another to strengthen our nation and give Americans the chance to get back to work.  We have the best ideas, the finest universities, and the hardest working people in the world – now we must create an economy that benefits the working families of America.

“Like the President said, every American just wants a fair shot at achieving the basic American promise; having a good paying job, buying a home, and raising a family.  Our country is strongest when every American is contributing their fair share, but this can only happen when we’re all given that fair shot.”

THE NEW YORK REPUBLICAN PARTY

Last September, Barack Obama became the first President in history to deliver a purely partisan political speech in front of a joint session of Congress.

Tonight, he did it again.

It is abundantly clear that this President has given up on governing and is focusing his efforts on riling up his base and raising the money necessary to run the most negative campaign in history against the eventual Republican nominee.

Lost amidst all of the empty promises and high-flying rhetoric were the promises that Obama and Senate Democrats, especially Kirstin Gillibrand, failed to keep. On the economy, jobs, health care, energy, the deficit, the debt, housing, lobbyists, ethics, and energy policy — all of these issues – Obama and Gillibrand have broken their promises to New Yorkers.

Chief amongst Kirstin Gillibrand’s failed initiatives and broken promises are nearly a dozen jobs bills, each of which was trumpeted to her constituents as the solution to New York’s economic woes, only to stall in the Senate.   While Kirsten Gillibrand spent three years striking out in Washington, the unemployment rate in New York State rose from 7% to 8%.

In 2012, New Yorkers will finally have their chance to show both Barack Obama and Kirstin Gillibrand the door.

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