RXN Raw:
Reactions to the President's State of the Union Address

January 28-29, 2014
Potential Presidential Candidates
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)
Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX)
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)
Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA)
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Former Gov. Gary Johnson (L-NM)

Republican National Committee
Democratic National Committee
Libertarian National Committee
Green Party of the United States
National Republican Congressional Committee
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House Speaker John Boehner
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi
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National Association of Home Builders
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National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health
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Potential Presidential Candidates

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)

Cruz: President Obama Dodged Our Questions

He refused to provide answers about IRS scandal, Benghazi attacks, protecting our privacy, Obamacare, and the economy

WASHINGTON, DC -- U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, today highlighted the questions that President Obama failed to answer last night in his State of the Union address.

"Last night President Obama had the opportunity to answer critical questions that millions of Americans are asking all around the country, but he didn’t, which is precisely why so many Americans have lost trust in this President," Sen. Cruz said. "If President Obama truly wanted to restore credibility to his government, he would have announced meaningful action on a series of urgent matters that are of great importance to our safety and freedoms. He would have addressed the IRS’s illegal targeting of conservatives, announced action to bring terrorists to justice for the attacks on our embassy in Benghazi, taken steps to protect Americans from unjustifiable privacy violations by the federal government, provided Americans relief from Obamacare’s hurtful effects, and committed to pro-growth policies to get more Americans working. Instead, he showed that he refuses to hold himself or members of his Administration accountable to the American people. Rather, he intends to pursue more executive actions, in defiance of the separation of powers, the will of the American people, and their elected representatives."

Senator Cruz called on the President to answer five key questions on these topics before the State of the Union Address. The President failed to adequately do so on every count.

1) Regarding the IRS’s illegal targeting of conservatives, Senator Cruz asked:

Will the President allow the Department of Justice to appoint a special prosecutor to fully investigate the IRS's illegal targeting of conservatives? The President should be eager to prove he has clean hands on this issue. He professed to be angry and outraged by the IRS abuse. Will he pledge to stop new IRS rules that restrict the free speech of non-profit groups?

More than 250 days have passed since President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder professed outrage at the IRS’s wrongful conduct. President Obama pledged to work “hand in hand” with Congress to find out the truth and ordered the Department of Justice to conduct a criminal investigation. Since then, the Administration has stonewalled any meaningful investigation, no one has been indicted, and it has been reported that the FBI does not plan to file criminal charges. Even a top IRS official implicated in the targeting has been able to avoid testifying before Congress, temporarily received paid leave, and eventually quietly retired.

Meanwhile, the IRS is proposing new agency rules that would effectively legalize future scrutiny of conservative groups by forcing them to disclose its donors if they wished to engage in voter education. At the same time, the Department of Justice assigned a partisan Democrat, who has donated $6,570 to President Obama and the Democratic National Committee in recent years, to lead the investigation into actions at the IRS. This, on its face, is a conflict of interest.

2) Regarding the President’s promise to bring the terrorists responsible for the attacks on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Sen. Cruz asked:

Will the President call on Congress to form a Joint Select Committee to finally discover the truth of why four Americans perished in a preventable terrorist attack in Benghazi 16 months ago?

President Obama said nothing. More than 16 months after the September 11, 2012 attacks on Americans in Benghazi, we still do not know why our facilities were denied proper security, why no military assets were positioned near a known terrorist hotspot, why the attacks were immediately blamed on a non-existing protest by the highest levels of the Obama administration, and why no one in Washington or Libya has been held responsible for the attacks.

What we do know is four brave Americans were murdered in preventable terrorist attacks. Congress, the American people, and the families of the victims are still waiting for answers on Benghazi. President Obama, however, did not believe this subject merited a single word of his 7,000-word speech.

3) Regarding ongoing concerns about the federal government’s intrusion into our personal lives, Senator Cruz asked:

Will the President act to ensure that the privacy of law-abiding citizens is protected from unjustifiable violations by arms of the federal government such as the NSA, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Internal Revenue Service, and Department of Health and Human Services?

Although President Obama has previously created a task force to explore reforming practices by the National Security Agency, he didn’t offer any real action to protect the privacy of law-abiding citizens in his State of the Union Address.

He said nothing about the IRS targeting conservative groups seeking to exercise First Amendment rights. The fact that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) still has not put proper protections in place to safeguard personal information from security flaws that now exist on the Obamacare websites, or to restrain the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) from using its virtually unfettered authority to conduct financial surveillance should worry all Americans.

4) Regarding the pain Obamacare is causing millions of Americans all over the country, Senator Cruz asked:

Will the President finally recognize that it was a mistake to ram through Obamacare on a party-line vote and that, right now, it is hurting millions of Americans? Will he take real responsibility for misleading the American people when he falsely promised “if you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan” and “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor”? Will he acknowledge that he doesn’t have the power to unilaterally rewrite the health law for powerful favored interests such as big business and Congress? And will he finally work with Congress to repeal Obamacare and start over, adopting instead reforms that will make healthcare more personal, portable, and affordable?

President Obama offered no apology for the millions of Americans who have lost their insurance plans, or stand to lose their insurance plans due to Obamacare. He expressed no regrets for causing Americans to lose their doctors, either. He said in his speech he would “take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families” but every time he has done so to change Obamacare, it was to benefit the elites—big business and Members of Congress—at the expense of American families. And, instead of extending a hand to Republicans to pursue commonsense reforms to make healthcare more personal, portable, and affordable, he chastised them for opposing Obamacare.

5) Regarding the terrible Obama economy, Senator Cruz asked:

Will the President recognize that his economic policies have failed to create the millions of jobs that he promised and have, instead, reduced the labor force participation rate to its lowest level in decades? Will he commit to commonsense, job-creating policies such as the immediate authorization of the Keystone Pipeline, a moratorium on new regulations, and fundamental tax reform for every American?

President Obama claimed more than 8 million new jobs were created and that the unemployment rate is the lowest in the past five years, ignoring the fact that too many people are still unemployed and too many have given up hope of finding a job. The labor force participation rate is at its lowest point since 1978—an alarming 62.8 percent.

There is a 4.5 million jobs gap between the Obama Recovery and the average post-1960 average recovery. In comparison to President Reagan over the same comparable period, a Reagan Recovery would have produced 7 million more jobs.

If President Obama were truly committed to job creation, he would pursue commonsense, bipartisan proposals, such as authorization of the Keystone Pipeline. But, Keystone did not get a single mention.

Finally, President Obama admitted the need to cut red tape in some cases but promised more regulation in other cases. Americans don’t need more regulations to support special interests; they need a fair playing field in which the free market can create more jobs.


Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)

Video Transcript

Good evening.  President Reagan said "in the present crisis government is not the solution to our problems, government is the problem.  The crisis that existed when Reagan took office was very similar to the one we face today.  Large numbers of people unemployed and even more dropping out of the workforce, a stagnant economy, a growing federal government.

We solved these problems then by coming together, and by implementing the right ideas.  We can do it again, but we must look beyond the current debate in Washington.

Let me say from the outset, I'll work with the President, Democrats, Independents and anyone else who wants to get people back to work and alleviate poverty in our country.

That said, we must first understand what caused the mass unemployment and the poverty of the great recession.  The housing bubble and subsequent crash were caused by the Federal Reserve keeping interest rates too low for too long.  Too much government money was given out to too many borrowers who could not afford the payments.  Banks were encouraged by government to lend money on houses with no money down.  The demand for houses went up and so did their prices.  But it was unsustainable.  Millions of people lost their jobs.  If we don't understand the cause of joblessness, we'll have trouble fixing it.

As we entered into the great recession, Republicans and Democrats misdiagnosed the problem as too little government so they gave us more government in the form of bank bailouts and a government stimulus plan.  Nearly a trillion dollars later though, we find that government doesn't create jobs very well.  It turned out that it cost nearly $400,000 per job created.  Why?  Because government is inherently bad at picking winners and losers.

In the marketplace, most small businesses fail.  If government is to send money to certain people to create businesses, they will more often than not pick the wrong people and no jobs will be created.  Think of the half a billion dollars President Obama gave to Solyndra to build solar panels.  It turns out people didn't want to buy these solar panels and the taxpayers lost that money.  Think of the billions spent on the war on poverty over many decades. 

Government spending doesn't work; it doesn't create jobs.  Only the democracy of the marketplace can find those capable of creating jobs.  It's not that government's inherently stupid — although it's a debatable point —it's that government doens't get the same signals.  Milton Friedman recognized that when he wrote, "Nobody spends somebody else's money as wisely as they spend their own."  When it's your money, it's spent with a concern no government bureaucrat could ever duplicate. 

Every day though, someone through hard work does rise up out of poverty.  Star Parker was one who escaped poverty, drugs and a hellish life.  She described her story in Today's Christian Woman.  She was 23 when she quit her job at the L.A. Times so she could go on welfare.  By collecting $465 a month plus food stamps and by getting a part time job that paid cash under the table, she could rent a nice apartment and earn far more money than working an honest 40-hour week.  Later she said she had no trouble dropping her daughter off at a government-funded day care center, selling some free medical vouchers to buy drugs and hanging out at the beach all afternoon. 

Quitting welfare was a big hurdle for her because she'd become so dependent on government and had lost a sense of who she was.  So she wrote a letter the next day and told the county not to send her any more checks.  "I was trusting God," she said, and within three months she got a good job at a food distribution company.  Star Parker went on to become an nationally known author, speaker and ultimately a candidate for Congress.

I want Star Parker's story to be the rule, not the exception.  I have an idea that will empower Americans and give them the opportunity to thrive.  My plan is to create economic freedom zones in distressed areas all over the country, including my home state of Kentucky, which will leave more money in the hands of the people who earn it. 

In economic freedom zones we'll cut income and business taxes to a single flat rate of 5-percent.  We'll cut payroll taxes for employers and employees so folks will go home with more money in their paychecks.  Burdensome, job-killing regulations will be removed, and business will expand.  More money and more jobs will flow back to the areas that have suffered the most in this economic crisis.  School choice will be expanded.  Parents will receive an educational tax credit, because it's parents, not the government, who knows what's best for their kids.  Economic freedom zones won't pick winners and losers.  The money will go to businesses that consumers have already voted for. 

The president's Promise Zones also address poverty, but his plan recycles worn-out ideas that haven't worked in the past.  His idea is that we should make it easier to funnel federal dollars back to local governments.  I think it would be better not to take the money from the businesses in the first place.  We need real jobs created in the real world, not more empty government promises.

Under President Obama the percentage of people working is at it's lowest level since the days of Jimmy Carter.  Roughly 11 million people are unemployed, and millions more have given up looking for work.  Our debt has nearly doubled since President Obama entered office and is now over $17 trillion.  Our credit rating has been downgraded.  Spending continues at unsustainable levels and we're borrowing more than $1 million every minute.

But the numbers tell only half the story.  Parents worry about their children growing up in a country where good jobs are few and far between.  More than ever before Americans wonder how they'll afford to send their kids to college and what will happen if they lose their job. 

I believe in an America where people are free to make their own decisions, helping each other as they help themselves, and I believe in an America with a strong safety net, but one that doesn't suffocate our resolve to better ourselves and our country.

The ticket to the middle class is not higher taxes on the very businesses that must create the jobs.  A thriving middle class doesn't come from shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic.  Prosperity comes when more money is left in the private marketplace.

Families across America are worried.  Good jobs are hard to find.

Mr. President, where are the jobs?  You spent nearly a trillion dollars on make-work government jobs and still joblessness confronts the next generation.  As a country, all of us together must ask are we better off when we borrow money from China.  Are we better off when we print more money to pass around, hoping no one will notice that the emperor has no clothes.  The illusion wears thin.  It's time we choose another path.  Government spending sounds great, but what good is a welfare program that leaves people embittered, resentful and trapped, unable to climb into the middle class.  What is the virtue in making people feel hopeless, like they can build a good life in America any more.  Hope and change needs to be more than just a slogan.

Ronald Reagan once said that to love our country is to love our countrymen, and because we love them, we must provide them with the opportunities to make them equal in fact and not just in theory.  The war on poverty failed.  It has trapped us in multi-generational dependency.  The lesson should be that sending money to Washington and expecting central planners to send it back in a way that creates jobs is foolhardy.

Economic growth will come when we lower taxes for everyone, especially people who own businesses and create jobs.

If we allow ourselves to succomb to the politics of envy, we miss the fact that money and jobs flow to where they are welcome.  If you punish successful businessmen and women, their companies and the jobs these companies create will go overseas.  Lower taxes, less regulation will entice money and jobs to return home. 

Americans want opportunity.  A chance to work again.  I fully believe that most Americans hate the trap of government dependency but can't break free because big government gives them no exit.  I believe a better tomorrow is around the corner if we can see beyond those who entice us with the easy way out.  Hard work and sweat invigorate the spirit and provide a solace no government program will ever achieve.

We must choose a new way, a way that empowers the individual through education and responsibility to earn a place alongside their fellow Americans in the most prosperous nation ever conceived.  America has much greatness left in her.  We must believe in ourselves, believe in our founding documents, believe in our future, and then we will thrive again. 

Thank you and God bless America.

Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX)

Gov. Perry Response to State of the Union

Gov. Rick Perry today released the following statement in response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address:

"We didn't hear much tonight from President Obama that we haven't before, other than his intention to expand his own powers by bypassing Congress altogether. The strength of our Union is in our states, not Washington, and Texas has shown that the way to economic prosperity and significant job growth is through individual freedoms and the free market. Tonight, we saw a president with the same old agenda and no real idea on how to govern. Americans expect and deserve more from a president than continually broken promises and unfunded platitudes."

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)

Rubio Comments On Tonight’s State Of The Union Address

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) issued the following statement tonight regarding President Obama’s State of the Union Address:

“Americans deserve more opportunities to achieve a better life, and that’s going to require a free enterprise economy that’s creating more middle class jobs and a government with less debt. While the President discussed some areas of common interest, the heart of his 2014 agenda is clearly more about working alone than with the American people’s representatives on the major reforms we need.

“President Obama missed an opportunity on several fronts, especially by insisting that Washington keep spending more money than it takes in, keep dictating to entrepreneurs how to run their businesses, and failing to level with the American people about how we can save our retirement programs. We need a real opportunity agenda that helps people seize the enormous potential that the coming years hold.”

In addition, Rubio commented on the following issues the President addressed tonight:


“Washington is too dysfunctional and poorly suited to effectively manage America’s anti-poverty programs. A better approach is to empower states to determine how to set up their own safety nets to best deal with the unique problems of each state. We should replace the earned-income tax credit with a wage enhancement that would make a job a more enticing alternative to collecting unemployment insurance. We need a better-functioning safety net that helps people get back on their feet, along with an economy that’s creating more middle class jobs and an education system that helps people attain the skills to fill those better-paying jobs.”


“At no point did the President explain why American taxpayers should have to fund a bailout of health insurance companies when ObamaCare fails to sign up enough young and healthy people. The President won’t be able to ignore this problem much longer as the realities of ObamaCare’s failures put taxpayers at greater risk of bailing out health insurers. We should take this possibility completely off the table by approving legislation I’ve introduced with Congressman Tim Griffin.”


“President Obama claims credit for ending one war and winding down another, but the truth is that the global war against extremists will continue long past his presidency. America’s role in the world is as indispensable as it has ever been, yet President Obama glossed over the enormous challenges we face. The President failed to acknowledge the ongoing security threats we face in Afghanistan and Iraq or address bipartisan concerns about Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the bellicosity of North Korea, the instability in Egypt and the ongoing tragedy in Syria. I remain concerned that his proposals could weaken our intelligence capabilities and military preparedness at a moment when we face emerging new threats around the globe.”


“After five years of doing little to promote free trade, I’m glad President Obama talked about the importance of new trade agreements with Europe and Asia. Expanding free trade will open new markets to American exports, which will create thousands of new middle class jobs here at home. I am hopeful that the Administration will successfully conclude negotiations with our trade partners in Asia and Europe, and that Congress will approve these promising new trade agreements.”


“The U.S. has a broken immigration system that needs to be fixed, but it’s clear the President either fails to realize or is indifferent to the fact that his unilateral, executive power grabs and habit of ignoring parts of ObamaCare have made it harder to achieve meaningful progress on immigration. As he forges ahead with his unilateral agenda on a host of issues, he needs to recognize that a permanent solution to our immigration problems rests with Congress. The House of Representatives should be given the time and space to develop their own immigration reform proposals, and we should all recognize that incremental progress is better than nothing at all.”


“Raising the minimum wage may poll well, but having a job that pays $10 an hour is not the American Dream. The way our people will achieve the American Dream is by making it easier for those who are stuck in low-paying jobs to seize opportunities to move up to better paying jobs. To do this, we must focus on policies that help our economy create those jobs and that help people overcome the obstacles between them and better paying work.”

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)

Ryan Statement on President’s State of the Union Address

Washington – Following President Obama’s State of the Union address, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin issued the following statement:

“In tonight’s speech, President Obama missed an opportunity to lead.  Instead of putting forward bold solutions to tackle our most pressing challenges, the President offered more empty promises and recycled the same failed policies.  Instead of charting a new course for renewed opportunity, the President recommitted to the path to debt, doubt and decline.  Instead of working together to find common ground, the President continues to exploit the real anxieties of hard-working families by dividing Americans for political gain.  Pitting Americans against each other makes us weaker, not stronger.

The President stated his desire to ‘fight obstruction with action,’ yet his own party’s leaders in the U.S. Senate have failed to even propose a budget despite our looming fiscal crisis.  In fact, today marks 1,000 days without a budget from Senate Democrats – a legal and moral failure by elected leaders.  The economic and fiscal challenges before us require credible budget plans, and the President and his party’s leaders refuse to account for their reckless spending spree.  The speech offered little more than a laundry list of proposals to spend money we don't have without any serious solutions to dig us out of the hole we're in.  I invite the President and his party’s leaders to join our efforts to advance bipartisan solutions and principled reforms.  I’m proud to work across the aisle on reforms that save and strengthen Medicare and repair the broken budget process.  It is disappointing that the President continues to isolate himself from these efforts with false partisan attacks.

“The President rightly highlighted the need for a ‘renewal of American values.’  Yet the results of his failed policies and divisive rhetoric do just the opposite.  Centralizing more power in Washington is antithetical to the American Idea, which promotes economic freedom and upward mobility for each and every citizen.  It is critical we work together to advance a reform agenda that applies our timeless principles to the challenges of today.”

Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA)

For Immediate Release
January 28, 2014
Contact: Virginia Davis

Rick Santorum Responds to State of the Union Address

Dallas, TX - Former U.S. Senator, former Republican presidential candidate and Chairman of Patriot Voices Rick Santorum issued the following statement at the conclusion of President Obama's State of the Union address tonight:
"The state of our union is indeed strong, but it is because of the resilience of hardworking Americans, not because of the heavy-handed policies of this administration.
"President Obama's State of the Union address glossed over the failures of his administration: failure to improve the economy, failure in the implementation of his signature achievement ObamaCare, failure to address our national security challenges, and failure to compromise.
"The tool of the Executive Order, which President Obama said tonight he will again put into use, illustrates the vindictive way he chooses to govern.  Rather than finding areas of compromise, he bypasses Congress and acts unilaterally to ram through his agenda.
"We hear the media talk endlessly about a do-nothing Congress, but we can't ignore our do-nothing President, in part because of the atmosphere he has created that makes it impossible to get anything done.  He continues to harmfully expand the power of the presidency to the detriment of the American people. 
"If President Obama really wants to help hardworking American families achieve good-paying, stable jobs and live the American dream, he would stop pushing an agenda that is hurting small businesses, increasing healthcare costs and is overwhelmingly anti-family.   We must put in place an economic plan that revives our domestic manufacturing and energy potential, rolls back job-killing regulations and forces the federal government to shrink.
"Finally, I will say that on one point the President is right: Americans want to believe in opportunity for all.  But that can only be achieved if this President and this Congress begin to lift up hardworking families, protect our national security interests through a consistent foreign policy and ensure prosperity for this and future generations by building economic freedom," concluded Senator Santorum.


Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)

Sanders Statement on State of the Union

WASHINGTON, Jan. 28 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) issued the following statement tonight after President Barack Obama delivered his fifth State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress: 

“I welcome President Obama’s focus on reducing inequality and helping working families in America. The American economy is not sustainable when so few have so much and so many have so little. It’s a moral issue and it’s an economic issue.

“The American people, no matter what part of the country they are from or what political party they support, want us to put millions of people back to work. They want to deal with income and wealth inequality. They want us to raise the minimum wage. 

“I applaud the president’s decision to issue an executive order which will raise wages for hundreds of thousands of workers, an issue that I and other senators have been working on for months. The president has made it clear that employees working for government contractors should not be paid starvation wages. This executive order also gives us momentum for raising the minimum wage for every worker in this country to at least $10.10 an hour.”

Former Gov. Gary Johnson



28, 2014, New York, NY
-- Former New Mexico Governor and 2012 presidential candidate Gary Johnson released the following statement in response to President Obama’s State of the Union address:
“Since President Obama’s State of the Union speech last year, the national debt has increased by more than $700 billion.  Millions of Americans are or will soon see their insurance cancelled, altered or rendered substantially more expensive -- and their health care choices now made by the government.  And when it comes to civil liberties and fundamental freedoms, Americans are today more fearful of their own government than of outside threats.
“These are realities that no rhetoric can disguise. The President spoke of building “new ladders of opportunity”. As long as our President and the Congress continue to add to the burden of debt on every American and continue to make us less free, the ladder of opportunity will just become more and more difficult to climb.  
“Americans don’t need a speech to know that the state of the Union is precarious, and will remain so until politicians of both parties abandon the failed idea that the federal government can somehow spend and manipulate us into prosperity and real opportunity.
“We’ve tried the approach of addressing the nation’s challenges with more government, more programs, and dollars we don’t have.  The President’s speech tonight suggested more of the same. I believe America is ready to try something different, like less government, less debt and more freedom to build our own ladders of opportunity.”


Republican National Committee

RNC Response to State of the Union

WASHINGTON – This evening, Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus released the following response to President Obama’s lackluster State of the Union address. Chairman Priebus issued a call for fairness and for accountability in government.
See the transcript below and watch the response here.
Good evening. I’m RNC Chairman Reince Priebus. Tonight, we heard the same old promises from President Obama. Promises for a better economy. Promises for better healthcare. Promises for a better government.
But after five years of promises, what do we have to show for it?
There are more Americans living in poverty than ever before.
People are giving up on looking for work.
Incomes have fallen.
And under ObamaCare, healthcare has actually gotten far more expensive. Five million Americans have received notices that their insurance is cancelled.
Now that’s not fair. It’s not fair that Americans lost insurance they liked because the president lied to them. Now, not only are people losing their insurance, they’re losing their doctors too.
We deserve a government that treats people fairly—and lets people make decisions that are right for them.
As Republicans, we believe in putting individuals in charge. It’s time we put power in the hands of people—not in the hands of a big and intrusive bureaucratic government.
We believe in a pretty simple idea. We want every American to have the chance to make it in this country. Whatever your American Dream is, we want you to have the opportunity to achieve it.
So that means we need great schools. And parents should be able to choose the school that’s right for their kids.
And it means we need a healthcare system that’s more affordable and accessible—and not run by bureaucrats.
We’ve tried the Democrats’ way. And we all know it’s just not working.
Their way means fewer choices in healthcare.
It means fewer choices in education.
And it means fewer choices in the job market.
None of that’s fair to the American people. But it’s what Democratic leadership has produced.
So there’s only way one to change course. This November, Americans will once again go to the polls to elect leaders at all levels of government. And it will be our chance to cast a vote for fairness, opportunity, and freedom. It will be our chance to vote Republican.
Thank you – and God Bless you. 


Democratic National Committee

DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s Statement on President Obama’s 2014 State of the Union Address

Washington, DC – Following President Obama’s State of the Union Address, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz released the following statement:

“With tonight’s speech, President Obama has put forth a Democratic vision for a United States that is defined by opportunity, action and optimism. President Obama made clear that he hopes  to work with Congress to get things done in a bipartisan way, but will also use other tools and partners to ensure action and the meaningful changes that will help more Americans gain access to the middle class.

“The executive order the President announced to raise the minimum wage for new federal contracts is just one example. But we need to do more – Congress should act to raise the minimum wage and help lift nearly 5 million Americans out of poverty. They should extend unemployment benefits for more than a million Americans who lost their lifeline after the GOP let them expire. And it’s time to pass comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to citizenship for millions of immigrants who have been stuck in a broken system.

“Tonight the President reaffirmed his belief that if you work hard and play by the rules, you should have the opportunity to succeed. That’s a belief that Democrats and the vast majority of Americans stand by and it’s time for Republicans in Congress to end the gridlock and join with the President to get the economy working to help more Americans reach the middle class.”  

Libertarian National Committee

Libertarian Party response to 2014 State of the Union address

WASHINGTON — Libertarian Party Executive Director Wes Benedict issued the following statement today in response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address:

Thanks to unprecedented levels of government interference and government coercion, Americans' rights are violated like never before. We are harmed by taxes, regulations, prohibitions, and shocking privacy intrusions.

Unfortunately, most of the harm and injustice of government occurs because too many Americans support existing government policies. We're suffering under a tyranny of the majority. Our Libertarian hope is that we can convince enough Americans to change their minds. We hope voters will come to understand that government is force, and force is unjust.

Here are some of the problems we see.

The government debt situation is atrocious. Government debt is a terrible thing, because it forces future generations to pay off debts they never agreed to incur. From 2001 to 2008, George W. Bush doubled the debt, mostly with the support of a Republican Congress. Since 2009, Barack Obama and the Democrats (and Republicans) have nearly doubled it again. It doesn't matter whether Republicans or Democrats control the government. Libertarians would quickly balance the budget by cutting spending on everything, including entitlements and the military.

Thanks to the work of Republicans and Democrats, America has declined in the Economic Freedom Index. We've been sliding for years, and now we're down to #12. We're below Australia, Canada, and Denmark. Libertarian policies would get us back to #1.

Government should stop creating programs to fight economic inequality. Some economic inequality is natural and healthy in a free society. Actually, government often creates artificial inequality by granting special privileges to certain businesses or classes of people. Republicans and Democrats do that all the time. Libertarians prefer a level playing field.

The employment situation is still pretty bad. Why? Because government gets in between employers and employees, and tries to dictate everything. Minimum wage laws, hiring laws, firing laws, subsidies, and business taxes all make it harder to create jobs and find jobs. These laws are supported by both Republicans and Democrats. Libertarians would eliminate the minimum wage, employment red tape, and business subsidies and taxes.

Since 2001, the federal budget has exploded. Whenever the government spends money, it displaces it out of the private sector. That means the government is making more choices about how we use our resources, and free people are making fewer choices. That inevitably harms our economy. Libertarians would eliminate most programs, and cut spending on the rest.

If there's one thing we have learned since 2001, it's that we can't trust what government officials say. They lie. Bush and Cheney said there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. James Clapper (Director of National Intelligence) said under oath that the NSA does not collect data on Americans. Those are a couple of the most outrageous lies, but there have been many others. The more power government has, the more government officials will have the opportunity and incentive to lie. Libertarians would greatly reduce government power.

Government should not be trusted to tell the truth about global warming, or to create restrictions in the name of fighting it. Look at the waste and environmental damage caused by government ethanol subsidies!

It used to be that if you said the government was watching you, people thought you were paranoid. Now, partly thanks to the efforts of Edward Snowden, everyone knows it's true. Between the Patriot Act, the IRS, the FBI, and the NSA (and probably other agencies as well), Americans have no idea whether ANYTHING they do is private anymore. Government should respect people's privacy, not violate it. Libertarians would end foreign wars, and end the War on Drugs, which would take away most of the government's excuse for spying. Libertarians would also repeal the Patriot Act and other invasions of privacy.

What about Obamacare? The problems with American health care go far beyond Obamacare. The problem is the whole huge mess that government interference has created. For decades, the government has done nothing but undermine health care by interfering in the health care market, and creating mandates and prohibitions that override our choices. Obamacare took a bad situation and made it worse — but let's not forget that it was already very bad. And that's thanks to the efforts of both Democrats and Republicans. As stated in our platform, Libertarians would "recognize the freedom of individuals to determine the level of health insurance they want (if any), the level of health care they want, the care providers they want, the medicines and treatments they will use and all other aspects of their medical care, including end-of-life decisions."

Libertarians believe that government should have no involvement in education whatsoever. That goes double for the federal government. Unfortunately, the federal government massively interferes with education today: subsidies for preschool, subsidies for K–12 education, subsidies for higher education, and lots of mandates and regulations thanks to efforts like the Republicans' No Child Left Behind law. Our children would be much happier and better educated if government would get out of the way. Libertarians would eliminate the Department of Education and repeal No Child Left Behind.

Republicans and Democrats have also created a mess with immigration. The immigration debate has nothing to do with border security; it's all about employment. Currently, millions of foreigners work here illegally, because Republicans and Democrats have made it almost impossible to do legally. Libertarians would make it very easy for foreigners to come here, live here, and work here.

How about the military? The Libertarian attitude is pretty simple: the U.S. military should leave other countries alone, even if their governments are unstable, and even if there are people living there who hate Americans. We need to cut military spending a whole lot. Try getting Republicans or Democrats to support ANY cuts to military spending.

Amid all this gloom, we do see a bright spot: the War on Drugs. In 2012, voters in Colorado and Washington passed initiatives to end prohibition of marijuana. Recently the New Hampshire House of Representatives did so too. A majority of Americans now believe that marijuana should not be prohibited. As time goes on, we believe that more and more Americans will join us in opposing the War on Drugs. We're pleased President Obama is moving in our direction on this issue.

All in all, the state of our union is a big mess created by Republicans and Democrats. Libertarians offer a path forward to peace and prosperity. Our 149 elected Libertarians nationwide work to implement libertarian policies directly. Hundreds of other Libertarians run for office each election cycle.

Green Party of the United States

Green Party TV broadcast: Green candidates and leaders will comment on President Obama's State of the Union address on Jan. 28

• The public is invited to watch and participate in the chat and phone in questions during the broadcast

• When: Tuesday, Jan. 28, 9:00 pm ET, 6:00 pm PT

WASHINGTON, DC -- Green Party candidates running in 2014, activists, and leaders, including 2012 presidential nominee Jill Stein and running mate Cheri Honkala, will comment on President Obama's State of the Union speech in a live broadcast on Tuesday, Jan. 28 on the Green Party's Livestream channel (http://www.livestream.com/greenpartyus).

The State of the Union broadcast, which begins at 9:00 pm ET, will be aired on the Livestream page.

A chat box for open discussion will be on the screen next to the live State of the Union video. Viewers are encouraged to contribute questions for the guests, online by text chat or by phone.

After the president's address, the guests will be on the Livestream broadcast via remote webcam. Craig Seeman and Green Party national co-chair Starlene Rankin are producing the show and will also participate on air. Mr. Seeman will host.

Confirmed guests on hand to comment on the President's speech:

• Ellen Brown, Green candidate for California Treasurer (http://ellenbrown.com/treasurer), author of "Web of Debt," "The Public Bank Solution," and other books (http://ellenbrown.com/author)

• Tim DeChristopher, climate justice activist and co-founder of the environmental group Peaceful Uprising (http://www.peacefuluprising.org); his protest at a Bureau of Land Management oil and gas lease auction and subsequent conviction were profiled in the documentry "Bidder 70" (http://www.bidder70film.com)

• Bruce Dixon, co-chair of the Georgia Green Party (http://www.georgiagreenparty.org/Bio/Bruce_Dixon) and managing editor of Black Agenda Report (http://blackagendareport.com)

• Cheri Honkala, 2012 Green vice-presidential nominee, co-founder of the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign (http://economichumanrights.org)

• Shamako Noble, co-founder of the Hip Hop Congress (http://hiphopcongress.com); labor and community organizer in the Bay Area, California; Hip Hop artist

• David Schwartzman, DC Statehood Green Party candidate for U.S. Shadow Senator (http://www.davidschwartzman.com)

• Jill Stein, 2012 Green Party presidential nominee (http://www.jillstein.org)

• Laura Wells, 2014 Green candidate for Controller of California (http://www.laurawells.org / Twitter: https://twitter.com/WellsController)

Some of the above participants are also members of the Green Shadow Cabinet of the United States, a civic project not sponsored by or affiliated with any political party (http://greenshadowcabinet.us). Non-Green organizations mentioned in the list above are for identification purposes only.


Green Party of the United States http://www.gp.org
• Green candidate database and campaign information: http://www.gp.org/elections.shtml
• Speakers Bureau http://www.gp.org/speakers
• GP-TV Twitter page http://www.gp.org/twitter
• Facebook page http://www.gp.org/facebook

Green Pages: The official publication of record of the Green Party of the United States

Green Shadow Cabinet http://greenshadowcabinet.us

~ END ~

National Republican Congressional Committee
Matt Gorman

President Obama’s 2014 #SOTU: “Here I Go, Again, On My Own…” 

Well, there you have it…

President Obama just finished his State of the Union and it sounded more like this 80s hair metal hit.

We now can see very clearly what he and Democrats across the country intend to do until November: rehash the same broken promises from years past, ignore Republicans, and cater to their liberal base.

While President Obama may have run his last campaign, Democrats across the country will face voters again in November.

The choice between returning to the days of complete liberal control of Washington and maintaining a check on President Obama’s power isn’t a choice at all.

We look forward to the stark contrast this November.

NRCC COMMENT: “What Americans saw tonight is a party that has run out of ideas and is resorting to the same empty promises we’ve heard before. Democrats’ last ditch effort to win back the House is to align themselves with a president who is increasingly liberal, unpopular, and isolated.” – Matt Gorman, NRCC Spokesman

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee

DCCC Chairman Steve Israel’s Statement on the State of the Union Address

DCCC Chairman Steve Israel released the following statement after President Obama’s State of the Union Address.

“Today is a study in contrasts: President Obama put a spotlight on our defining priority – middle class security – while House Republicans voted yet again to restrict women’s health care choices. Every day between now and November, these priorities will be on display as House Democrats fight to expand opportunity, take action to create good jobs and make sure that more Americans can look forward to a bright future for their families. The best way to ensure middle class security is to make sure that all Americans have the opportunity to live the American Dream and prosper.

“This agenda for middle class security faces one major obstacle: House Republicans. Whether it is their vote today to limit women’s rights, or their government shutdown to let insurance companies do whatever they want, or their protection of tax breaks for big oil at the expense of Americans looking for work, this Republican Congress has made it clear that they are stacking the deck against the middle class.”

Republican State Leadership Committee

RSLC Chairman Bill McCollum Statement On The State Of The Union

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Washington, D.C. (January 28, 2014) – Today, Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) Chairman Bill McCollum issued the following statement:

“While the state of President Obama’s Administration is weak, the state of our Republican states is strong,” said McCollum.  “While the President’s policies are proving to be some of the most blunder-prone in history, the 59 state legislative chambers led by Republicans are implementing major reforms that are having a positive impact and statewide Republican officials across the nation are leading with decisive action.  No matter how hard President Obama tries to claim that 2014 will be a ‘year of action’ his track record of lies to sell Obamacare and his botched leadership of a dysfunctional Washington make us hope his actions will be limited at best.” 


  • Republican led states are open for business.  Republicans currently control 59 of the 99 state legislative chambers nationwide.
  • Beyond legislative seats and our 29 governorships we hold Republican majorities for other statewide elected offices including 29 lieutenant governors and 28 secretaries of state seats.
  • There are currently 24 Republican Attorneys General. These AGs continue to be the last line of defense against the Obama Administration’s consistent federal overreach.


National Jewish Democratic Council
January 29, 2014 
CONTACT: Steve Rabinowitz

Jewish Dems Praise President's Visionary and Practical Address

WASHINGTON, DC- The National Jewish Democratic Council congratulates President Obama on a visionary and practical State of the Union address. NJDC Executive Director, Rabbi Jack Moline said:
"The President's agenda- environmental responsibility, protection of voting rights, educational excellence, immigration reforms and financial security for all - speaks to the proactive values the Jewish community embraces, especially providing a livable minimum wage and pursuing gender equality in the marketplace.
NJDC's work in 2014 will promote the values espoused by the President, with particular emphasis on promoting the landmark Affordable Care Act. NJDC will encourage all members, especially younger people, to register for health care coverage under the new provisions.
Last, but certainly not least, NJDC is grateful for the continued bi-partisan support for the State of Israel. Once again, the Administration has been explicit about supporting Israel's security and essential national character."
NJDC maximizes Jewish support for Democrats at the federal and state levels of government. 
NJDC also educates Democratic elected officials and candidates to increase support for Jewish domestic and foreign policy priorities.
We do this to promote both social justice in America and a secure, democratic Jewish State of Israel.

House Speaker John Boehner

Boehner Statement on the State of the Union Address

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement in response to the president’s State of the Union Address and the Republican Address to the Nation.

“In one of the great traditions of our democracy, the president is invited to the House chamber each year to discuss how he and Congress can work together for the American people. After five years, President Obama is clearly out of ideas. With few bipartisan proposals, Americans heard a president more interested in advancing ideology than in solving the problems regular folks are talking about. Instead of our areas of common ground, the president focused too much on the things that divide us – many we’ve heard before – and warnings of unilateral action. The president must understand his power is limited by our constitution, and the authority he does have doesn’t add up to much for those without opportunity in this economy. The real answer for the president is to refocus his priorities and work with us on the things that we can achieve together to create jobs and promote greater opportunity: expanded markets for American exports, a solution to our broken immigration system, better skills and education programs, patent reform, new energy and water infrastructure, or any of the dozens of other House-passed bills awaiting action.

“Unlike the president, Cathy McMorris Rodgers delivered a personal message that transcended politics. She showed that when we focus on empowering people, rather than government, we can close the opportunity gap in America and allow people to meet their potential. She made clear that Republicans are not just the alternative party, but the party with better solutions. I applaud her for a job well done.”

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell

McConnell Comments on State of the Union Address

“If the President really wants a ‘Year of Action,’ there are plenty of good ideas that the two parties can agree on: passing House-approved jobs bills in the Senate designed to get Americans back to work, revenue-neutral tax reform, trade promotion legislation, and the Keystone pipeline.

“The President also tried to put a positive spin on the disaster that is Obamacare, but the American people are not fooled by a deeply flawed health care law that is driving up premiums and deductibles and causing people to lose coverage. He even tried to sell Kentucky’s Obamacare bureaucracy as a success story, but he failed to mention the stories that I’m hearing from Kentuckians: restricted access to doctors and hospitals, lost jobs, lower wages, fewer choices, higher costs. Thanks to Obamacare, more than a quarter million Kentuckians received cancellation notices for plans they had and presumably wanted to keep and premiums have increased an average of 47 percent in Kentucky according to a recent survey, and in some cases more than 100 percent. And the cost to the taxpayer?  $253 million. That’s how much Washington has spent so far for these results in Kentucky.

“A State of the Union address should point the way to what’s possible when the two parties work together. What we did not get is real, bipartisan solutions for the failures of Obamacare and the Obama economy.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

Reid Statement On President Obama’s State Of The Union Address

Washington, D.C. – Nevada Senator Harry Reid issued the following statement after President Obama’s State of the Union address:

“President Obama tonight described the progress we’ve made as a nation and pointed the way to where we need to go. Middle class families in Nevada and all across the country are working harder than ever and they are looking to us in Washington to do our jobs as well. Giving hard-working Americans a raise by increasing the minimum wage is a good place to start. The Senate will vote on this proposal in the coming weeks, and I hope Republicans will join us in turning this and other common-sense proposals into law. When everyone has a shot at the American Dream, our entire nation prospers.”

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi

Pelosi Statement on President Obama’s State of the Union Address

Contact: Drew Hammill

Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement tonight after President Obama delivered his State of the Union address to a Joint Session of Congress:

“Tonight, President Obama spoke directly to the highest aspirations of the American people by defining a vision of opportunity and optimism for our future.  His initiatives will build an economy that works for everyone.  His pledge of a year of action must be met with a firm promise of partnership in Congress.  House Democrats stand ready to do our part.

“The President’s address focused on one of the core challenges facing our economy today: closing the opportunity gap.  To meet this challenge, we agree that it is long past time to secure universal pre-K for our children, make college more affordable for our students, and raise the minimum wage for our workers.  It is time to empower women in the workforce – because when women succeed, America succeeds.  It is time to work in a bipartisan way to uphold our values and enact comprehensive immigration reform.

“Our country has come a long way in the past five years, with businesses creating 8 million new jobs over the past 46 months.  Yet there’s still far more work to do to create jobs and strengthen the middle class.  It is up to all of us to work together to reignite the American Dream and build ladders of opportunity for all.”

# # #

Assorted Interest Groups


AARP CEO Responds to State of the Union Address

WASHINGTON—AARP CEO A. Barry Rand released this statement following tonight’s State of the Union Address by President Obama:

“The President’s speech tonight addressed issues AARP has been working on since long before President Lyndon Johnson’s war on poverty began over 50 years ago.  Social Security and Medicare have helped make a difference by protecting the middle class and keeping millions out of poverty, but many families and Americans of all ages continue to struggle.  

“As we look toward this season of new budget proposals, we also urge the President and Congress to fight for responsible solutions to strengthen Medicare and Social Security.  If our elected officials truly do want to fight economic inequality and poverty, they cannot do so with shortsighted changes that would hurt families and further undermine the financial security of the middle class in any generation.  The President and Congress have an opportunity to reaffirm the importance of the earned benefits of Medicare and Social Security, and to thereby strengthen our families, the middle class, and the American dream.

“Asking the business community to hire the long-term unemployed takes an important first step toward helping millions of jobseekers find work, and mirrors AARP’s own initiative with employers who pledge to value experienced workers and give them a fair shot.  However, due in part to age discrimination, older workers experience longer periods of unemployment, and are more likely to be among the long-term unemployed.  

“Extending unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed would also provide relief to many long-term jobless workers, as would passage of the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act, a bill that addresses the underlying issue of age discrimination and would help ensure a fairer workplace for older Americans.

“The creation of starter retirement savings accounts, known as ‘MyRA,’ could help encourage more private retirement savings for those without employer plans. This new savings proposal could be more effective if paired with automatic savings options and investor protections.

“AARP will continue to raise our voice on behalf of older Americans and the benefits they have earned and need. We look forward to working with President Obama and members of Congress from both parties to bolster health and retirement security for today’s seniors and future generations.”


AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of nearly 38 million, that helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, employment and income security, retirement planning, affordable utilities and protection from financial abuse. We advocate for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name as well as help our members obtain discounts on a wide range of products, travel, and services.  A trusted source for lifestyle tips, news and educational information, AARP produces AARP The Magazine, the world's largest circulation magazine; AARP Bulletin; www.aarp.org; AARP TV & Radio; AARP Books; and AARP en Español, a Spanish-language website addressing the interests and needs of Hispanics. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates.  The AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. AARP has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Learn more at www.aarp.org. ​


America's Voice

Frank Sharry Reacts to Immigration Remarks in SOTU Address

The following is a statement from Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, in response to the immigration portion of tonight’s State of the Union address:

We didn’t expect much from the speech on immigration reform, and the President met our expectations.  But we understand.  In the crazy world of Washington, DC, the more he says about immigration reform, the more Republicans are likely to resist it.  In fact, you could say that he wants immigration reform legislation so badly, he downplayed it in the speech.  In any case, his call for reform would have been even stronger had he said he would use his pen and phone to stop deporting immigrants who are on the cusp of legalizing their status under pending legislation.

The bottom line is that the most important event this week regarding the fate of immigration reform is not the State of the Union speech in the U.S. Capitol, but the House Republican retreat in Maryland.  That’s where the House Republicans will review draft principles and decide whether to move forward on reform.  The ball is in their court.

American Federation of Teachers
For Immediate Release
January 28, 2014
Contact: Marcus Mrowka

AFT President Randi Weingarten on President Obama’s State of the Union Address

WASHINGTON— Statement of AFT President Randi Weingarten on President Obama’s State of the Union address. Two AFT members joined first lady Michelle Obama to watch the address: Washington, D.C. Teacher of the Year Kathy Hollowell-Makle, and Antoinette Tuff, a DeKalb County, Ga. bookkeeper who talked down a shooter at the elementary school where she worked.

“We are a stronger nation when we champion opportunity, reward work and create a path to success for all of our citizens. The forward-seeking agenda that President Obama laid out tonight combats the economic inequality many working Americans face with real and practical solutions that raise people up—not deepen wealth divisions—by increasing the minimum wage and  putting Americans back to work in good jobs with family-friendly policies like paid sick leave, expanding early childhood education, making college affordable, and creating a new retirement savings program called MyRA. And by using the first words of his address to honor the dedication of teachers, the president highlighted the importance of educators and our schools in helping our children achieve their dreams. We cannot rest until we fully re-establish the steps on the ladder to opportunity and give working families a shot at the American dream. The president has heard the American people, and we now must heed his call for action.

“A vibrant economy and a high-quality public education system have been and always will be intertwined. It’s no coincidence that when our nation summoned the political will to launch a war on poverty 50 years ago, we not only slashed poverty rates, put Americans back to work and rebuilt communities, but also witnessed a rapid spike in student achievement that has yet to be repeated. The black-white reading gap alone shrank by two-thirds from the 1960s to the 1980s.

“While we can’t replicate today the same strategies employed 50 years ago, the American people need leaders willing to expand opportunity and help re-create a path to the middle class. We must build on what the president laid out tonight. It starts with investing in early childhood education, making college affordable, making public schools the center of communities, and, equipping students with essential life skills and offering multiple paths to graduation and the world of work through rigorous career and technical education programs. We need to reject sequestration and austerity, and invest in the services that keep our communities safe and vibrant and our families healthy. We need good jobs with living wages and opportunities for workers to develop new skills and compete in a changing workforce; unions can play an important role in both creating a highway to the middle class for workers, and partnering with government and the private sector to create career-ladder opportunities like we’ve done for paraprofessionals in New York City, Baltimore and elsewhere. We need to do more to ensure people have a secure retirement after a lifetime of hard work. We can create good jobs today and invest in our future by putting Americans back to work rebuilding our infrastructure. And we need to stop just debating it and finally pass comprehensive immigration reform to end exploitation and strengthen our economy.

“The American people expect and deserve their leaders to act on their behalf to move an agenda the expands economic opportunity and reclaims the promise of public education for all children. With too many families still feeling the sting of an economy tilted against them, we simply can’t wait.”


American Immigration Council

Immigration Reform and the State of the Union

Washington D.C. - Tonight, President Barack Obama pressed the reset button and laid out his priorities for 2014—and, ultimately, the final leg of his presidency. During the State of the Union address, the President discussed the need to create jobs and greater opportunity for all. He also made it clear that immigration reform and economic recovery go hand-in-hand, and he expects the House of Representatives to make the next move on immigration reform. The President said:
“Finally, if we are serious about economic growth, it is time to heed the call of business leaders, labor leaders, faith leaders, and law enforcement – and fix our broken immigration system.  Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have acted.  I know that members of both parties in the House want to do the same.  Independent economists say immigration reform will grow our economy and shrink our deficits by almost $1 trillion in the next two decades.  And for good reason: when people come here to fulfill their dreams – to study, invent, and contribute to our culture – they make our country a more attractive place for businesses to locate and create jobs for everyone.  So let’s get immigration reform done this year.”

The President’s inclusion of immigration as a matter of economic necessity reinforces efforts over the last few years to redefine how we think about immigration reform. Immigrants create jobs as consumers and entrepreneurs and spend their wages in U.S. businesses—buying food, clothes, appliances, cars, etc. This builds our economy as businesses respond to the presence of these new workers and consumers by investing in new restaurants, stores, and production facilities. Also immigrants are 30 percent more likely than the native-born to start their own business. The end result is more jobs for more workers.

The President’s message on immigration extended beyond his speech. Immigrants and immigration activists attended as guests of Congress and the First Lady. Mrs. Obama invited two immigrants to attend as her guests: Cristian Avila, a DREAMer and DACA recipient who recently completed a 22-day fast on the National Mall in support of immigration reform and Carlos Arredondo, a Costa-Rican-American peace activist made famous by his heroic acts after the Boston Marathon bombing.

These guests remind us of the humanitarian nature of immigration reform that cannot, and should not be overlooked.  As we grapple with efforts to create a more just and equal system in which everyone has a fair shot at economic prosperity, we cannot forget the need for a fair and just immigration system.  Deportations that separate families, disrupt businesses, and destroy hopes and dreams help no one and ultimately do not reflect our tradition as a nation of immigrants.

Tonight, the President reiterated that he is prepared to use the authority of his office to push a range of initiatives forward. Thus, if 2014 is to truly be a year of action and opportunity, we encourage the president not only to support efforts to complete immigration reform, but to do all in his power to end needless costs—to families, to workers, and to the economy—of an immigration system that does not fulfill the promise of America.

For press inquiries, contact Wendy Feliz

Americans for Prosperity

AFP on State of the Union: Obama Wants to Change the Subject

Arlington, VA – AFP President Tim Phillips offered this response to President Obama’s State of the Union address:

“Tonight, the president did his best to shift attention away from the disastrous impact ObamaCare is having on millions of Americans. He would rather not talk about his ‘Lie of the Year’ that has led to cancelled plans, skyrocketing medical bills, and lost access to doctors.

“President Obama certainly didn’t talk about Emilie, who was sitting in the audience while he spoke. Emilie was diagnosed with a life-changing disease when she was only 27-years-old.

“Emilie voted for Barack Obama, and believed that ObamaCare would make things better. Sadly, Emilie’s insurance plan was cancelled because of ObamaCare. Emilie had pre-existing conditions and still lost her coverage. Even though her chronic illness makes everyday life difficult, she now works two jobs just to make ends meet and pay the extra $6,000 that her ObamaCare mandated plan now costs.”

Earlier today, AFP announced the launch of a major national ad buy featuring Emilie’s story of ObamaCare’s negative impact.


“Emilie is suffering the consequences of President Obama’s broken promises — and unfortunately, she’s not alone,” continued Phillips. “Millions of Americans are in similar situations, and deserve better than to be ignored by the president.”

AFP Brings Personal Message to President Obama:

"ObamaCare is Hurting People Like Me"

Emilie, whose coverage was cancelled due to ObamaCare, will attend the SOTU as a guest of Rep. Marsha Blackburn

Arlington, VA – Today Americans for Prosperity, the nation’s largest grassroots advocate for health care freedom, announced the launch of a major national TV ad effort that shares a powerful personal story of how ObamaCare is causing cancelled plans and skyrocketing health care costs.

The new ad shares the experience of Emilie, a woman suffering from a chronic illness who had her plan cancelled due to ObamaCare, and has had to take on a second job just to pay for the more expensive plan she is forced to buy. Emilie’s story begins airing this week on national cable outlets.

Previewing Obama’s State of the Union speech, AFP President Tim Phillips said, “Tonight, President Obama will attempt to change the subject away from the millions of Americans who have been hurt by his ‘greatest’ achievement and signature health care law. People like Emilie have been hurt by ObamaCare. They’ve had their plans cancelled, costs skyrocket, and in many cases, lost access to their doctor. The American people deserve better than more broken promises.”

Click here to hear Emilie’s story

Here are the facts:

  • Emilie, age 39, voted for President Obama, and thought the ACA was going to work. She works for a CPA and cares for her mother.
  • She suffers from a chronic illness called Lupus.
  • She described the health care plan she had as “stellar AND affordable.”
  • Now, the plan she liked has been cancelled, and she is struggling to make ends meet with $6,000 higher out of pocket health care costs (even after factoring in a small subsidy she is eligible for).
  • Emilie says she is disappointed that President Obama broke his promise. The result of ObamaCare is that people like Emilie are getting hurt.
  • Business Roundtable
  • Business Roundtable Urges Intensified Focus on Growth and Jobs

    Calls on Nation’s Leaders to Turn Words into Action by Reforming Tax and Immigration, and Passing Trade Promotion Authority

  • Washington – Business Roundtable President John Engler issued the following statement in response to President Barack 
  • Obama’s State of the Union address:

  • “Tonight the President made several strong points on forging compromise with Congress and moving our economy forward, and 
  • we are hopeful leaders of both parties will work together on critical issues that would result in strong growth and jobs for 
  • Americans. 

  • “Business Roundtable calls on the President and Congress to follow up immediately on these expressions of goodwill by passing
  •  laws to unlock the full potential of the U.S. economy. They should start by getting serious about tax reform, quickly enacting
  •  immigration reform and passing Trade Promotion Authority. Progress on these fronts will give an immediate boost to the
  •  economy and demonstrate that the President and Congress are serious about spurring investment and creating American jobs.

  • “The President and Congress should also work to end the era of political gamesmanship regarding fiscal issues such as the 
  • debt ceiling and the budget process, and act in a way that preserves the strength of our economy.

  • “Business Roundtable members stand ready to assist the President and Congress to overcome the obstacles that are preventing a robust economic recovery. With compromise, action and goodwill, we can revive economic growth and put Americans back to work.”

  • Campaign to Fix the Debt
  • For Immediate Release
    Date: January 28, 2014
    Contact: Stark Sutton 

    Statement from the Campaign to Fix the Debt on the State of the Union Address

    We are disappointed that President Obama did not choose to place a greater focus on our nation’s long-term debt problems in tonight’s State of the Union address. The President should be actively working with Congress seeking solutions to our debt problem rather than relegating it to the political sidelines. The State of the Union was a chance for him to lead on this issue instead of leaving these tough choices to be made by the next President.

    “The declining deficit and the President’s lack of focus on the nation’s fiscal situation has lulled many into a false sense of security, but the fact remains that the debt is at historically high levels and is slated to continue to grow unsustainably later this decade,” said Maya MacGuineas, head of the Campaign to Fix the Debt.

    “Rationalizing our spending and dealing with the longer-term debt problems would help free up the space for the kind of investments in infrastructure, education, and worker training that President Obama called for tonight; investments that could help add jobs and promote economic mobility. What we need though is a comprehensive economic growth strategy that includes smart investments and reforms partnered with measures to get the long-term debt under control--otherwise the looming debt will continue to threaten our future prosperity.

    “Every day that we fail to deal with the long-term drivers of the debt – including out- of-control entitlement spending and trillions of dollars of tax loopholes – is a day lost in making these changes in a smart and thoughtful way that would help grow the economy. While it may be politically convenient for politicians to try to avoid facing real budgetary tradeoffs, failing to do so puts at risk the economy and our citizenry. Tonight the President missed an important opportunity to get the process of confronting these issues underway.”


    For more information about the Campaign to Fix the Debt, please visit www.fixthedebt.org.

  • Digital 4th

    Digital 4th Releases Statement in Reaction to the State of the Union

    WASHINGTON — Following President Obama's State of the Union Address, Greg Nojeim, Senior Counsel at the Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) and a member of the Digital 4th coalition, released this statement:

    “We are disappointed that President Obama failed to endorse ECPA reform during his State of the Union Address. In neglecting to discuss an update to email privacy laws, he missed an opportunity to demonstrate his commitment to protecting Americans’ private online communications from unwarranted government intrusion.  As the address fell on Data Privacy Day, it would have been the opportune moment for the President to show that he is serious about privacy reform.”

    “ECPA reform has broad bipartisan support, with legislation pending in both the House and the Senate. We will continue to work with Congress to pass bipartisan ECPA reform this year to ensure that Americans’ emails stored in the cloud receive the same protections as the documents stored in their desk drawers.”


  • Dream Action Coalition

  • Contact:  Cesar Vargas 

    **Statement ** 

    No More Words. Stop Deportations Now. 

    Washington, D.C. – The Dream Action Coalition released the following statement on the President’s 5th State of the Union speech:
    Tonight at the State of the Union address, President Obama once again spoke about the need for immigration reform: 
    "If we are serious about economic growth, it is time to heed the call of business leaders, labor leaders, faith leaders, and law enforcement – and fix our broken immigration system."  
    We were hopeful that President Obama would outline an ambitious new plan or offer more forms of executive relief to stop deportations. The President did not even mention a word on deportations. 
    Although Obama had sympathetic rhetoric, we have seen this fall through before when he was not able to reform immigration in his first year as promised. While much of the blame falls on the GOP for obstructing solutions, ultimately, via separation of powers, it is the Executive, the Obama Administration, upon which responsibility for deportations rest.
    "The President must acknowledged that his administration has deported almost 2 million undocumented immigrants. We are urging that the President halt deportations and end a crisis of family separation. As Dreamers, we will continue to organize the American people and undocumented community to hold accountable the President for every deported parent, for every deported child and for every family separated under his administration. We had enough with words. We need action," said Cesar Vargas, co-Director of the Dream Action Coalition. 




    Dream Action Coalition serves as a voice for undocumented youth and lobbying arm of the dream movement. Our work ensures that undocumented youth are represented in the halls of power and are correctly and directly informed of the actions of Congress, Executive Agencies, and the Courts.



  • Enroll America
  • Enroll America Statement on the State of the Union Address

    Tuesday, January 28, 2014

    Washington, DC - Today, Enroll America issued the following statement from their president Anne Filipic in response to the State of the Union address:

    “Tonight President Obama called on every American to talk to the uninsured people in their lives – mother to child, neighbor to neighbor – about the importance of getting covered. That is a call our hundreds of staffers and thousands of volunteers are echoing in communities across the country every single day. More than nine million Americans have already found coverage through Medicaid and the Marketplace. We’re glad the President asked Americans to join the effort, and we’ll continue to expand our campaign over the next two months to make sure as many people as possible can have the peace of mind that comes with quality, affordable health insurance.”


    About Get Covered America and Enroll America

    Get Covered America is a national campaign of Enroll America that is focused on educating consumers about the benefits of health coverage and the new health insurance options available under the Affordable Care Act. With operations in eleven states (AZ, FL, GA, IL, MI, NC, NJ, OH, PA, TN and TX), our grassroots team is powered by passionate staff and volunteers with one motivating goal: to give Americans the information they need to choose an affordable health insurance plan that’s right for them and their families.

    Enroll America is the nation’s leading health care enrollment coalition, bringing together community and health organizations, businesses and others to inform consumers about new health coverage options and how to enroll in them. It is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization.

Family Research Council

State of the Union Address At Odds with Religious Freedom, Core American Values

Washington, D.C. - Family Research Council President Tony Perkins released a video and the following statement in response to President Obama's State of the Union Address:

"Tonight the President said one of the best 'investments we can make in a child's life is a high quality early education.' Mr. President, you neglected to mention the very best investment in a child's life - a married mom and dad. A recent Harvard University study found that children raised by intact families have greater social mobility than their single-parented peers. The President also said the 'best measure of opportunity is access to a good job.' No, Mr. President, it is a married mom and dad.

"President Obama's remarks didn't address a key reason why our economy is just bumping along - the continued dissolution of the American family. Only 45 percent of our 17 year-old children have grown up in an intact married family. The mother and father of the remaining 55 percent have at some time rejected each other as husband and wife. An intact family is better off financially than one that is broken. Its children do better in school and graduate from college in greater numbers than those from broken homes. His policies penalize marriage and families, which are vital to economic fairness and success. It is unfair to penalize marriage in the tax code, and it doesn' make economic sense.

"President Obama also failed to address how his policies undermine religious freedom. Obamacare contains a rule that requires employers such as Christian colleges, religious hospitals, and faith-based businesses to offer their employees health care plans that cover pills and procedures that go against their deeply held convictions. If they don' agree, they face crippling fines. Employers should not have to choose between violating their consciences or paying severe fines that threaten jobs and could even force them to drop health coverage for their employees. This rule, or mandate, hurts families and women. It's unfair and, thankfully, most Americans oppose it. I hope the President will listen to them. From bakers in Oregon to photographers in New Mexico and court clerks in New York, people whose convictions are grounded in historic Christian teaching are being told there is no room for them in public life. Mr. President, it's not an American value to trample someone else' conscience. It's not an American value to repress someone' practice of his or her religion. It's not an American value to use the federal government to undermine the will of the people in the states that believe marriage is between a man and woman and that children do best with a mom and dad.

"If we want real hope and change, we'll enact policies that build stronger families and a stronger economy, preserve our heritage of religious liberty and protect, rather than undermine marriage, oncluded Perkins.

Watch Family Research Council President Tony Perkins' video response to State of the Union Address.


Federation for American Immigration Reform

SOTU: President Offers Conflicting Policy Goals on Immigration and Income Inequality, Charges FAIR

Threat to Impose Amnesty by Executive Fiat Must Be Opposed by the House

(Washington, D.C.  January 28, 2014)  In his State of the Union (SOTU) address, President Obama urged Congress to “make this a year of action.” Prominent on his list of domestic policy priorities outlined in the address were: (1) creating opportunities for the struggling middle class; and (2) granting amnesty to an estimated 12 million illegal aliens and significantly increasing future immigration.

“These two policy goals are mutually incompatible,” charged Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). “With 92 million working age Americans either unemployed, under-employed, or not participating in the labor market, the president’s immigration agenda would only further depress the wages of most American workers. No amount of government regulation, or mandated increases in the minimum wage, will narrow the income gap so long as the supply of labor dramatically exceeds the demand for workers.”

President Obama’s immigration agenda, encompassed by the Senate bill (S. 744), would make 12 million illegal aliens immediately eligible to compete legally for every job in the U.S. economy. It would also add 20 million new immigrant workers to the U.S. labor force within a decade. “In an economy that created just 74,000 jobs last month, the president’s immigration policies would decimate what remains of the middle class he claims he wants to save,” observed Stein.

“Enforcing immigration laws and setting sensible limits on new immigration are critical elements to any effort to boost the wages of working Americans and entice millions of idle workers back into the labor force,” Stein said. “The president already has the power to discourage illegal immigration by enforcing laws against the employment of illegal aliens. He already has a mandate from Congress to secure our borders and deport illegal aliens when they are apprehended. Yet, the president is openly defying these laws – the very laws that would aid struggling American workers – in order to achieve his political goal of amnesty for illegal aliens.”

Moreover, in his SOTU speech the President signaled he has no intention of reversing course and faithfully executing our nation’s immigration laws. Instead he offered House leaders an implicit threat that if they do not act on his agenda he will assert executive authority to unilaterally implement his policies. “[W]herever and whenever I can take steps without legislation...that's what I'm going to do,” he warned. President Obama has repeatedly abused executive authority to grant de facto amnesty to entire classes of illegal aliens and discretionary authority to ignore countless immigration statutes during his five years in office.

“Before considering any new immigration legislation – especially bills that would further undermine American workers, increase costs to American taxpayers, and compromise national security – the House must exercise its constitutional responsibility to hold the president accountable for enforcing laws already on the books,” continued Stein.

“Americans consider it a priority that all branches of government and both parties work together to bolster our sagging economy and create conditions for all Americans to earn a dignified living. There is little public support, or urgency, to grant amnesty to illegal aliens or to increase the influx of new immigrants. The leadership of the House must resist President Obama’s immigration agenda and his threats to impose his will and, instead, concentrate on ensuring that existing laws are carried out in the interests of the American people,” Stein concluded.


Media Contact:
Ira Mehlman
Kristen Williamson

also this from the FAIR's Legislative Update:

Illegal Aliens Attend State of the Union

For the second straight year, illegal aliens attended President Obama's State of the Union Address as invited guests. Last night, at least two illegal aliens were part of a group of "reformers" given the opportunity to hear the president's speech in person as guests of pro-amnesty Illinois Democratic Representatives Luis Gutierrez, Mike Quigley, Jan Schakowsky, Brad Scheider, and Bill Foster. (USA Today, Jan. 23, 2014) Amnesty champions Representatives Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Joe Garcia (D-FL), and Jim Himes (D-CT) also had illegal aliens accompany them this year. (thinkprogress.org, Jan. 28, 2014; NBC Miami, Jan. 28, 2014; Stamford Times, Jan. 27, 2014) Additionally, First Lady Michelle Obama welcomed an illegal alien to her viewing box, as she did last year. (AZ Central, Jan. 28, 2014; Las Vegas Sun, Feb. 11, 2013) Also last year, Gutierrez, Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), Rep. Marc Veasey (D-TX) and Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL) hosted illegal aliens for the 2013 address. (See NBC Latino, Feb. 12, 2013; Rep. Castor Press Release, Feb. 11, 2013)

FAIR blasted the welcome of immigration lawbreakers into the U.S. Capitol for the president's yearly address. "It reinforced the one message that for this president is unambiguous: Violating immigration laws is just entirely inconsequential," said FAIR's Bob Dane. (USA Today, Jan. 23, 2014) "The laws aren't being enforced, and here you go, the public needs to get used to it. They can sit and stand anywhere they want, including next to me in the U.S. Capitol." (Id.)


FreedomWorks Responds to the 2014 State of the Union

Washington, DC- Following the conclusion of President Obama’s 2014 State of the Union address, FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe released the following statement in response:

“For one of the longer State of the Union addresses in U.S. history, I am disappointed at how few practical –and constitutional- reform solutions the President actually proposed. Under the Obama Administration’s policies, about 10.4 million Americans are unemployed. At least 4.7 million Americans have already lost their individual insurance because of ObamaCare, while Big Insurance’s bailout in the first ten years of ObamaCare threatens to stick them with an extra trillion-dollar bill to pay. The solution to these problems is not another Executive Order. The solution is for the Executive to get out of the way, and allow citizens the freedom to pursue the opportunity to succeed.”

“If the President made one thing clear tonight, it is this: It’s his way or the highway. The President proposed almost a baker’s dozen of executive orders- a complete dismissal of the American system of checks and balances. Frustration with policy disagreements does not warrant an impatient president to behave like a king. Congress must push back against the Obama's attempts at unilateral action, because the process matters as much as the policy itself.”

FreedomWorks is a grassroots service center to a community of over 6 million activists who believe in individual liberty and constitutionally-limited government. For more information, please visitwww.FreedomWorks.org or contact Jackie Bodnar at ..


CONTACT: Greenpeace
Joe Smyth
Greenpeace Communications

Greenpeace Reaction to 2014 State of the Union Address

WASHINGTON - January 29 - In response to President Obama’s comments on climate change in his State of the Union address, Greenpeace Executive Director Phil Radford said:

"It’s good to hear that President Obama plans to move forward with his plan to address climate change, but unfortunately, his administration continues to undermine this plan by encouraging the extraction of coal, oil, and gas from our public lands and waters, unlocking huge quantities of carbon pollution. Adding insult to injury, the fossil fuel industry hopes to boost exports of its dirty energy abroad, from the Keystone XL pipeline to proposals to create huge coal and LNG export facilities.

“Fossil fuel extraction and exports are a major blind spot in the Obama administration’s climate plan that will continue to undermine domestic and global efforts to reduce carbon pollution until the President takes seriously the simple test he proposed last year: “Our national interest will be served only if this project does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.

“If you want to bend history in one direction, you need to pick a side and put your all into it. Unfortunately, the President continues to stand right in the middle."

Independent campaigning organization that uses non-violent, creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems, and to force solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future.

The Heartland Institute

Heartland Institute Experts React to
President Obama’s State of the Union Address

The following statements reacting to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night from staff, fellows, and policy advisors at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Director of Communications Jim Lakely ...

“The president displayed a remarkable lack of gravitas in his State of the Union address. For a while, he was crouched over the lectern leaning on his elbows, like a college professor leading a discussion rather than the Leader of the Free World addressing the nation.

“There was so much else wrong with this speech. Taking credit for things he’s done so much to prevent (like rising oil production), the repetitive call-outs to sad sacks in the gallery in order to cite anecdotes instead of making credible arguments, the incredibly insulting and condescending notion that Congress should ‘give America a raise’ by raising the minimum wage. Do we all work for government? Would we not make more than $10 an hour unless government told our employers to pay us at least this much? That line – ‘give America a raise’ – should appear in dictionaries as part of the definition of ‘pandering.’

“His line about Obamacare – ‘come on guys, voting to repeal it 40 times is enough’ – trivialized an effort by a co-equal branch of government to keep promises its members made to voters back home, to repeal and replace legislation that was passed under false pretenses. He mocked his critics when he should have been apologizing for telling lies to the American people in order to get that legislation passed. The right thing to have said is: ‘I apologize for misleading members of Congress and the American people to get a piece of flawed legislation enacted. Let’s work together to repeal and replace it with something that can work.’”

Joseph Bast
The Heartland Institute

“The president continues to place his faith in government programs as a means to promote growth and prosperity. Economic history shows government efforts to direct and control the economy tend to detract from growth and impoverish people. America’s historical success is due to an alternative – faith in the freedom of individuals and markets.

“By replacing individual freedom with government control and direction, the president’s policies have produced the weakest recovery in over a century. Had our forefathers placed their faith in government instead of individuals, the U.S. today would be a third world nation. By moving to replace our precious individual freedoms with progressively more government control over the economy and markets, the president opts for policies that will continue to erode the living standards of most Americans.”

Robert Genetski
Policy Advisor, Budget and Tax Policy
The Heartland Institute

“The president says that the economy is improving substantially. Sadly, the average worker does not believe that. As President Barack Obama enters his sixth year in the White House, 68 percent of Americans say the country is either stagnant or worse off since he took office, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

“There is good reason for the pessimism. In 2007, 66 percent of Americans over age 16 either had a job or were looking for one. Today, that is down to 62.8 percent, the lowest labor-force participation rate since 1978.”

Ronald D. Rotunda
The Doy & Dee Henley Chair and Distinguished Professor of Jurisprudence
Chapman University

“In his meandering mess of a speech, President Obama managed to completely gloss over the relevant facts regarding the failures of his signature health care law. Rather than admit the problems and apologize for them, the president chose to ignore the millions of Americans who’ve learned that even if they like their plan they can’t keep it, or even if they like their doctor they can’t keep him. Instead, he based his metric of success on the number of Americans signed up for Medicaid, an already overburdened and failing entitlement system which offers the false promise of care to millions of Americans.

“President Obama has made health care unaffordable for millions of citizens while needlessly disrupting our economy. At most, his health care exchanges are signing up 15 percent of the uninsured Americans they were supposed to enroll. And why? Because the American people are finding that the promises he made about bringing down the price of health insurance for individuals and families were complete and utter lies. If all the promises he’d made about Obamacare had come true, the president’s speech would’ve been a victory lap. Instead, it’s a grim insistence that his broken policy will endure, despite how much it has hurt Americans across the country.”

Benjamin Domenech
Senior Fellow, Health Care Policy
The Heartland Institute

“President Obama dares to say ‘research shows government preschool is a great investment’ just a few months after yet another highest-quality study shows it’s fool’s gold. The president apparently prefers only the poor-quality research that supports his agenda of saddling kids with debt while failing to equip them to pay it off.

“The president is quite bold to claim his micromanaging, dictatorial education policies are already improving student achievement when the statistics show his penchant for making laws without Congress has slowed poor and minority kids’ achievement growth. The Common Core education standards and tests his administration has illegally pushed on schools still have no positive track record despite millions spent, and millions more to come.”

Joy Pullmann
Research Fellow, The Heartland Institute
Managing Editor, School Reform News

“Claiming credit for Common Core by name is problematic for President Obama because many parents and teachers (including even the largest teachers’ union in New York State) are rebelling against this nationalized, cookie-cutter model of education. However, by boasting of his administration’s Race to the Top bribes to bring states on board – plus its funding of the linked national assessments and curricular materials – Obama implicitly took full ownership of Common Core last night. To call it ObamaCore is no exaggeration. Indeed, its implementation is proving to be every bit as productive for education as ObamaCare is for health care.”

Robert G. Holland
Senior Fellow, Education
The Heartland Institute

“I sat down at my television set with a yellow legal pad and a mechanical pencil to take notes and jot down comments I’d like to make. My legal pad is blank. I fell asleep and might still be asleep if my daughter hadn’t nudged me awake. I’m not sure how long I was asleep, so maybe I missed something important but I doubt it. I didn’t hear anything inspiring, uplifting or amusing, aside from his quip about how mothers might appreciate a phone call from their kids to help them sign up for Obamacare.

“It seems to me if there was a theme that ran through his talk, it’s that executive orders will drop from his pen like leaves from trees on a breezy day in late fall. Congress should grow a spine and remind the president that its job is to make the laws, and the president’s job is to see that the laws are faithfully executed. That’s why Congress is called the legislative branch of government and the presidency is called the executive branch.”

Steve Stanek
Research Fellow, Budget and Tax Policy
The Heartland Institute
Managing Editor
Budget & Tax News

“As a society, it is high time for us to recognize and embrace the truth. Contrary to President Obama’s misguided assertion, carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. Its increasing concentration only minimally affects earth’s climate, while it offers tremendous benefits to the biosphere. Efforts to regulate and reduce CO2 emissions are simply ludicrous. They will hurt far more than they will help.”

Craig D. Idso
Senior Fellow, Environment
The Heartland Institute
Co-editor, Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change

“The president said ‘climate change is a fact’ and vowed action via the Environmental Protection Agency in his State of Union Speech, but he did not ask for any new legislation such as the cap-and-trade bill he touted a year ago. As a scientist who knows without a doubt there is no significant man-made global warming, perhaps I should be pleased the president took a softer stance on the issue, But I am far from happy about the state of affairs on the issue.

“It has become purely a rock-solid, lock-step political position of the Democrat Party to believe in global warming, and of the Republican Party to disbelieve. I see no hint that the leadership in either party is truly interested in opening their minds to a scientific debate -- to study the evidence and reach a reasoned non-politically motivated position and take actions accordingly.

“Science and politics do not match well. Science is not settled by a vote, and slogans and platform planks are not scientifically significant. It is my deepest regret this has become a political issue. I think we will make little progress in obtaining an open hearing from the public as long as the political leaders line up their followers on one side or the other.”

John Coleman
Meteorologist, KUSI-TV San Diego
Policy Advisor, Environment
The Heartland Institute

“President Obama seems to have toned down his climate rhetoric this year given the obvious reality of no rising global temperatures for 17-plus years and the current cold snap gripping the nation. Saying the phrase ‘climate change is a fact’ is meaningless.

“When our children look us in the eye, we want to tell them that our generation rejected the belief that regulating emissions alters our climate and weather. We want to tell our kids that we rejected the belief that acts of Congress or the U.N. or the EPA could alter storms or global climate. We want to say ‘Yes we did’ to our kids when they ask us if we stopped bureaucrats at the EPA and in our government from attempting to restrict our energy choices based on the belief politicians can change the weather.”

Marc Morano
Climate Depot

“Mr. Obama is fortunate to be president during America’s energy revolution. Extraction of oil and natural gas from dense shale is occurring with no help from the administration. It is occurring on private or state-controlled lands and driven by private initiatives. According to 2012 statistics compiled by the Energy Information Administration, the production of oil, natural gas, natural gas liquids, and coal from federal lands and waters all fell. The difference between what is occurring on non-federal lands and federal lands demonstrates the economically punitive policies of this administration.

“The president correctly stated that climate change is a fact. It has been ongoing for hundreds of millions of years and there is little governments can do to stop it. The great fear of global warming was artificially contrived. For a president to declare that he will expand executive powers, without Congressional approval, to fight this non-threat is a drastic step towards authoritarian government. Already, the administration has contrived an artificial concept called the social cost of carbon. All life on the planet is carbon based. Is life a pollutant? Does life have a social cost? The concept is an insult to logic, language, and science.

“The Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) has produced reports reviewing appropriate scientific papers and concluded carbon dioxide emissions are not a major cause of global warming or climate change. Also, the reports cited thousands of studies in laboratories and in the field that demonstrate increased atmospheric carbon dioxide promotes growth of virtually all forms of green plants and is a tremendous boon to agriculture and the environment. Three decades of satellite observations confirm these findings.”

Kenneth Haapala
Executive Vice President
Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)

“Last night’s State of the Union Address reminds me of the idiom ‘on one hand, on the other hand.’ On one hand, President Obama extolled efforts to increase fuel efficiency to ‘help America wean itself off foreign oil.’ He touted the new reality of ‘more oil produced at home than we buy from the rest of the world, the first time that’s happened in nearly 20 years.’ On the other hand, he promised to use his ‘authority to protect more of our pristine federal lands for future generations’ – which is code for more national monuments and endangered species designations that will lock up federal lands from productive use.

“He took credit for his ‘all of the above’ energy strategy, which he claims has ‘moved America closer to energy independence than we have been in decades.’ And, regarding natural gas, Obama said he’ll ‘cut red tape to help states get those factories built and put folks to work.’ He also proclaimed: ‘I’ll act on my own to slash bureaucracy and streamline the permitting process for key projects, so we can get more construction workers on the job as fast as possible.’ Yet, the Department of Energy has dozens of permits for liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facilities languishing on some bureaucrat’s desk. One of the few approved terminals – Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass LNG Terminal Project in Cameron Parish, Louisiana – created more than 2,000 jobs in 2013 and looks to create another 2,000 jobs in 2014. Let’s get those permits issued.

“On one hand, the president says he wants to help. On the other hand, everything he does hinders.”

Marita Noon
Executive Director
Citizens Alliance for Responsible Energy

“In his State of the Union Address, President Obama asked whether we will leave our children’s children with a safer, more stable world with respect to the ‘settled’ issue of climate change. Why doesn’t Obama apply the same standard when it comes to government spending?

“Reckless overspending in Washington is creating an unsustainable mountain of debt that will be passed on to our children’s children. Yet throughout his speech, Obama outlined additional spending initiatives with no consideration of how they will be paid for. One such proposal would create a new ‘minimum wage’ for federal contractors. This gimmicky proposal will have little impact other than to force the federal government to pay more for goods and services – additional costs that will no doubt be passed on to future generations.

“If Obama is truly concerned about leaving our children’s children with a safer, more stable world, he should start by cutting government spending and reducing the tax burden on American workers so that the economy will finally begin to grow and the private sector will create jobs.”

Jonathan Steitz
Policy Advisor, Budgets and Taxes
The Heartland Institute

“President Obama seems hell-bent on dismantling America and its system of government one day at a time. He continues, in my opinion, to cavalierly jettison the constitutional system of checks and balances which was the genius of the Founding Fathers. First came the unauthorized czars, and now we have the proclamation of anticipatory end runs around the legislative branch through executive fiat using the moniker of executive orders.

“These unilateral acts are those of a man who would be king, which he is not. As I recall we fired the king more than 200 years ago. Jefferson, Madison, and the legions who staked and gave their lives on creating this republic to operate as a democracy are surely turning in their graves.”

Kurtis B. Reeg
President/Managing Partner
Reeg Lawyers, LLC
Policy Advisor, Legal Affairs
The Heartland Institute

“Apart from throwing a few crumbs to his base, President Obama produced nothing novel or interesting in his speech. But he did sadly reaffirm his commitment to a virtually Utopian society in which government takes the initiative on nearly all fronts. And that is plainly not in the spirit of what is distinctively American or just.

“I had hoped for some learning from the president – to the effect that the private sector is where solutions lie to nearly all our real problems. Government’s only role must be, as Jefferson said, to ‘secure [our] rights’ – not to train Americans for anything other than, perhaps, defending the country from potential aggressors. It is not the job of government to ‘give us a chance,’ since our form of government doesn’t include some monarch handing out favors to subjects.”

Tibor R. Machan
Professor Emeritus of Philosophy
Auburn University
R. C. Hoiles Endowed Chair in Business Ethics and Free Enterprise
Argyros School of Business & Economics
Chapman University

“From the SOTU, you’d never guess that we have a record low in number of people employed, record levels of debt, abysmal international standing in education, chaos in the Middle East, and millions losing their health insurance. But we’re going to the Olympics, finding natural gas (on private lands only), and planning (still) to close Gitmo (thereby upholding our constitutional ideals). Amanda in Arizona got health coverage, a small business opened in Detroit, and carbon emissions are way down (no attribution given to our dismal economy). All we need to do now is extend unemployment insurance, raise the minimum wage, and end gun violence. That last bit is one of a number of things Obama promises to do single handedly if Congress won’t cooperate.

“Now that ObamaCare has fixed health care, and reduced al Qaeda to a mere remnant, we can move on to fixing education.

“From the enthusiastic applause, it would appear that Congress is persuaded by this fantasy, though a few audience shots showed some dour-looking Republicans. They’re the ones getting blamed for ‘creating crises.’ Otherwise, all is well, and God bless America.

“How can anyone take this charade seriously?”

Jane M. Orient, M.D.
Executive Director
Association of American Physicians and Surgeons

“What Obama delivered was a list of the same policies that have ill-served the nation. After five years, we know that what he cannot do is provide leadership sufficient to govern America. Foreign or domestic, his policies have been marked by failure.

“On the long roster of issues he addressed, he placed an emphasis on putting Americans to work again, but that remains a difficult goal to achieve when his administration is scaling new heights in the production of regulations that choke the nation’s business community, from large corporations to small businesses. There was no mention of the Keystone XL pipeline, which his own State Department estimated could produce 42,000 jobs.

“He advocated raising the minimum wage when all that will accomplish will be to reduce jobs and drive up costs to consumers.

“He dramatized Obamacare by using examples of people he said benefitted from it, but made no mention of the millions who have or will lose their health care plans and even their choice of a personal physician.”

Alan Caruba
Founder, The National Anxiety Center
Policy Advisor, The Heartland Institute

“President Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday night was all about ‘micro-management.’ It was micro-management at one level since he realizes that a divided Congress will not pass any ‘grand’ legislation that he might try to submit. Thus, he proposed a series of small changes that he hopes that either Congress would go along with, or that he can try to impose through ‘executive order’ without Congressional approval.

“But the other level of his focus on micro-management highlights the inescapable political paternalistic mindset in which he thinks:

  • He knows what wage government contractors should pay their workers;
  • He knows how pre-kindergarten children should be taught;
  • He knows how businesses should organize their use of energy in their manufacturing of products;
  • He knows how long people should be financially able to be unemployed between jobs while looking for employment;
  • He knows how divergent income inequalities should or should not be in America;
  • He knows how to create career opportunities for young people and the type of education they should have available;
  • He knows the type and quality of health insurance and medical care people should receive.

“This is why he has faced much of the congressional opposition, over which he is clearly frustrated. Many people in the United States, and their elected representatives, believe that these are not matters for the government. These are matters that should be left up to the judgment, planning, and decisions of individuals, families, and voluntary agreements among people themselves in their communities and in the workplace.

“The president’s government-imposed ‘one-size-fits-all’ solutions to what he considers to be America’s ‘problems’ are in stark contrast to the diversity of America, and the more reasonable and common-sensical view that people in their own circumstances and with their own knowledge can far better handle their own problems than someone in a far-away national capital with none of the real micro-knowledge of people’s lives. This partly explains the president’s low poll ratings. People come to resent the arrogant ‘do-gooder’ who presumes to know better how people should live than those people themselves.”

Dr. Richard Ebeling
Professor of Economics
Northwood University
914/ 564-7030

“President Obama mentioned his desire to see election reforms, including ‘reforms so that no one has to wait more than a half hour to vote.’ For all its conveniences, early voting threatens the basic nature of citizen choice in democratic, republican government.

“In elections, candidates make competing appeals to the people and provide them with the information necessary to be able to make a choice. Citizens also engage with one another, debating and deliberating about the best options for the country. Especially in an age of so many nonpolitical distractions, it is important to preserve the space of a general election campaign -- from the early kickoff rallies to the last debates in October -- to allow voters to think through, together, the serious issues that face the nation.

“The integrity of that space is broken when some citizens cast their ballots as early as 46 days before the election, as some states allow. A lot can happen in those 46 days. Early voters are, in essence, asked a different set of questions from later ones; they are voting with a different set of facts.”

Eugene Kontorovich
Professor of Law, Northwestern University
Policy Advisor, Legal Affairs
The Heartland Institute

“President Obama does not seem to grasp the fact that in a free-market economy an employee gets a raise by showing his or her employer that their value has increased through more training, skill acquisition, education, or productivity gains. Workers who are currently paid less than $10.10 are so because their contribution to total revenue is less than $10.10 per hour.”

Jack A. Chambless
Economics Professor 
Valencia College 

“I fully support the president's proposal to increase the minimum wage. However, if this will work as the president believes to increase employment and reduce income inequality in America, would it not do the same for other countries as well? Therefore, America should eliminate foreign aid and tell our former aid recipients to simply raise their minimum wage. If it works for us, it will work for them as well.

“Our aid recipients are likely more savvy than our president and I would expect few to accept the advice.”

Barry Keating
Professor, Mendoza College of Business
University of Notre Dame

The Heartland Institute is a 30-year-old national nonprofit organization headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site or call 312/377-4000.

International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association

SOTU Reaction from the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association 

IBTTA Applauds President for Emphasizing Need to Create Jobs Rebuilding Our Nation’s Transportation Infrastructure

Urges President and Congress to Give States “Maximum Flexibility” to Solve Highway Funding Crisis

WASHINGTON, DC – After President Barack Obama delivered the 2014 State of the Union Address, Patrick Jones, Executive Director and CEO of the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association, the worldwide association representing toll facility owners and operators and the businesses that serve them, released the following statement:

 “We applaud President Obama for shining a bright light on the need ‘to create jobs rebuilding our roads, upgrading our ports, unclogging our commutes – because in today’s global economy, first-class jobs gravitate to first-class infrastructure.  We’ll need Congress to protect more than three million jobs by finishing transportation and waterways bills this summer.’ We also salute the Congress for making plans to move forward with timely reauthorization of MAP-21.  

“The transportation funding needs of states are great. The resources of the federal government are limited. Therefore, we ask Congress and the President to give states maximum flexibility to meet their individual transportation funding needs, including the use of tolling on the existing Interstate highway system.

“While we respect the President’s willingness ‘to create jobs rebuilding our roads,’ we know that no one source of revenue can be sufficient to build, maintain, and reconstruct our nation’s bridges, tunnels, and highways. Now is the time for Congress, the President, and other elected leaders to seriously consider all options to meet our country’s transportation funding needs. Tolling is one of the most powerful, effective, and proven tools in the funding toolbox.”

“The more than 60 U.S. toll agency members of IBTTA generate more than $10 billion per year in toll revenue, and most of them receive no federal or state funds to support their day-to-day operations. That means their contribution to highway operations and maintenance is already equal to nearly one-third of the federal gas tax revenues collected each year.”

Earlier this month, IBTTA submitted testimony for the record to the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure committee hearing on Building the Foundation for Surface Transportation Reauthorization. IBTTA’s written testimony stressed the important role tolling plays in establishing a direct link between the roads motorists use and the fees they pay: 

“The use of tolls is a central component to this nation’s transportation funding system. Tolls establish a direct connection between the use of the road and payment for that use. For too long, motorists have falsely believed our roads are free. Our highways are not free nor have they ever been. However, it’s easy to see why that misperception persists. There is no direct link between paying the fuel tax and using the roads it funds. Tolling re-establishes that connection.”

In 2013, IBTTA launched Moving America Forward, a public awareness campaign that highlights the benefits of tolling to elected officials, policymakers, the media, and the general public. For additional information on the campaign, including fact sheets, background documents, and other materials, please click here.

# # #

The International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA) is the worldwide association for the owners and operators of toll facilities and the businesses that serve them. Founded in 1932, IBTTA has members in more than 20 countries and on six continents. Through advocacy, thought leadership and education, members are implementing state-of-the-art, innovative user-based transportation financing solutions to address the critical infrastructure challenges of the 21st century. For more information, visit www.ibtta.org or join us on Twitter @IBTTA or #TollRoads.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Brett Abrams

MomsRising.org Executive Director Praises President Obama for Putting Family Economic Security Issues Center Stage

WASHINGTON DC — Statement by Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, executive director of MomsRising.org, on last night’s State of the Union address and President Obama putting family economic security issues center-stage:

“Last night’s State of the Union Address was an historic one. For the first time ever, a President of the United States squarely put center stage the issues that most affect the economic security of America’s families and of our nation: Fair pay, early learning and childcare, the minimum wage, sick days, family leave, health care, childhood obesity, gun safety, climate change, immigration policy reform, and more.
“Every year, MomsRising has encouraged its members to play “State of the Union BINGO,” tracking whether the President addresses the issues on the MomsRising agenda. This year, across the county, we were yelling ‘BINGO!’ This was the year that the economic issues that most effect moms and their families finally broke out of their silo and onto the top of the national agenda.
“MomsRising has been working hard over the last year to help these issues rise to the top. We have delivered hundreds of thousands of signatures on letters and petitions, thousands of personal stories, and our members have made phone calls, made personal visits, attended meetings, and sent emails to policy makers urging them to take action on these ‘kitchen table’ issues. From pushing for an increase in the minimum wage to pressing for passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act to calling for paid leave policies, from fighting for health care to working toward sick days, we have been out there every day pushing for policies that will help our national economy and our families thrive. And last night we proved that the voices of moms are a mighty force, indeed. Mom Power is real and moms are powerful.
“MomsRising, and its more than one million members, and the hundreds of allied organizations we work with, stand ready to support the President in achieving his agenda. An agenda that will boost women, mothers, children, families, and our national economy. We are invigorated and energized. Moms have shown that we are a powerful political force and we are ready to see our agenda embodied in law.”

VIEW THE STATE OF THE UNION BINGO HERE: http://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.momsrising.org/images/State_of_the_Union_BINGO_PDF.pdf

# # # # #

MomsRising.org is an online and on-the-ground grassroots organization of more than a million people who are working to achieve economic security for all families in the United States. MomsRising is working for paid family leave, flexible work options, affordable childcare, and for an end to the wage and hiring discrimination which penalizes so many others.  MomsRising also advocates for better childhood nutrition, health care for all, toxic-free environments, and breastfeeding rights so that all children can have a healthy start. Established in 2006, MomsRising and its members are organizing and speaking out to improve public policy and to change the national dialogue on issues that are critically important to America’s families. In 2013, Forbes.com named MomsRising’s web site as one of the Top 100 Websites For Women for the fourth year in a row and Working Mother magazine included MomsRising on its “Best of the Net” list.

National Association of Home Builders

Statement from NAHB Chairman Rick Judson on President Obama’s State of the Union Address

January 28, 2014 - Rick Judson, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Charlotte, N.C., issued the following statement regarding President Obama’s State of the Union address:

“NAHB agrees with President Obama that ‘the most important investment many families make is their home.’ Homeownership is an important part of the American Dream, but too many creditworthy borrowers are still unable to purchase a home of their own.

“Nothing packs a bigger economic punch than home building. Building 100,000 homes creates more than 300,000 full-time jobs and $8.9 billion in tax revenues that are essential to help local communities build schools, hire police and firefighters, and fix roads.

“With the right policies in place, housing can lead the economy to higher ground. Tonight, the President called on Congress to send him legislation that will avoid another housing crisis and ‘keeps the dream of homeownership alive for future generations.’

“NAHB looks forward to working with the Administration and members of Congress in a bipartisan spirit to enact meaningful housing finance reform that will ensure a consistent flow of credit for qualified home buyers and offer affordable rental housing opportunities. Such a plan must provide proper federal support that will protect 30-year mortgages, limit taxpayer exposure, encourage increased participation from the private sector, and ensure liquidity and stability for homeownership and rental housing.”

National Council of La Raza

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                           Contact:

January 28, 2014                                                                             Joseph Rendeiro                                                                      

NCLR Welcomes President Obama’s Focus on Opportunity in State of the Union

NCLR notes that policies such as increasing the minimum wage, boosting health and education and immigration reform will open the door to greater opportunities for all Americans

WASHINGTON, D.C.—In response to tonight’s State of the Union address, in which President Obama spoke about issues such as growing income inequality in our nation, Janet Murguía, President and CEO of NCLR (National Council of La Raza), has called on policymakers to recommit to creating jobs, rewarding work, and ensuring that our children are prepared to compete and excel in the 21st century economy.

“Tonight, President Obama laid out his vision for the future of this country, offering practical solutions to fight poverty and expand opportunity for more Americans,” Murguía said. “Like all Americans, Latinos hold fast to the belief that hard work should earn you the chance to build a better life for your children. We applaud the president for prioritizing boosting stagnant wages and investing in youth.”

During tonight’s address, the president announced an Executive Order to raise the minimum wage for federal contractors to $10.10 per hour. According to the Economic Policy Institute, this mandate on the minimum wage will set a floor on wages for the nearly 20% of all federal contractors earning below poverty-level wages, who are disproportionately minority and female.

“This is a win-win for workers and business,” Murguía said. “We hope that the president will continue working with Congress to finish the job by passing legislation that raises the minimum wage for all Americans.”

Latinos are expected to double their share of the American labor force from 15 percent to 30 percent by the year 2050. However, approximately one in five Latinos earns poverty-level wages.

“The seeds of inequality are too often sown early in life. We are pleased to see the president place a continued focus on investing in our future by raising standards for all of our children and investing in early childhood education,” Murguía said. “To ensure a prosperous future for all Americans, we must restore investments in programs that grant all children access to a quality and affordable education from preschool through college. We must also protect the vital gains made thanks to the Affordable Care Act that have given millions of Americans the opportunity to access health coverage for the first time.”

“Lastly, we echo the president’s call for Congress to finally deliver comprehensive immigration reform,” concluded Murguía. “Instead of forcing millions of aspiring Americans to continue to live and work in the shadows, we should pass legislation that establishes a fair and equitable immigration system, creates millions of jobs, boosts our economy, and aligns with our values as a nation.”

NCLR—the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States—works to improve opportunities for Hispanic Americans. For more information on NCLR, please visit www.nclr.org or follow along on Facebook and Twitter.


National Federation of Independent Business
For Immediate Release
Contact:  Eric Reller 

SOTU: President Snubs Small Business

Proposals Disproportionately Hurt Small Businesses and Employees

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 28, 2014 Once again, the President declared the importance of small business during the State of the Union, but quickly followed with proposals that demonstrate he does not understand, or simply disregards, the segment of the economy that historically has generated two-thirds of net new jobs.

National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Chief Economist William Dunkelberg made the following statement in response to the President’s State of the Union address:

“The State of the Union address was a chance for President Obama to propose initiatives that would benefit the real engine of the U.S. economy – small business,” said Dunkelberg. “Unfortunately, the President again chose to champion big business, special interests, and partisan causes. Small businesses are still climbing out of this recession, and any hope for a steady resumption of solid growth depends on improving the health of this half of the economy. 

“Championing a corporate-only tax reform scheme (which misses 2/3rds of small businesses), a failed health care rollout, and a promise to raise the minimum wage that would escalate unemployment - the President seems determined to pick winners and losers. Small business has been mentioned as an important aspect of the U.S. economy during every State of the Union address during this Presidency – at some point we hope that the President stops stacking the deck against the segment he claims to support.”

**NFIB Chief Economist William Dunkelberg is available for comment – For interviews, please contact Eric Reller at ..**


National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

Statement from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund on the President's State of the Union Address

WASHINGTON, DC Jan 28 —"The President is right to urge congress to fix our broken immigration system this year, the creation of more jobs, equal pay for women, and the restoration of the Voting Rights Act. We are also pleased that the President is using his pen like he said he would to move things forward: in this instance by signing an executive order to increase the minimum wage for federal contract workers. However, he must go further and sign an executive order that bans discrimination against the same contract workers who are LGBT. The irony is that some LGBT federal contract workers will get a pay raise but they could still be fired for who they are and who they love. The longer the President waits the more damage LGBT people will face; discrimination is a painful reality that is too often the lived experience of LGBT people. The President has to act when Congress won't."

Rea Carey, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund


To learn more about the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, visit and follow us on Twitter: @TheTaskForce.

National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health

For Immediate Release
Jan. 28, 2014
Contact: Alejandra Cardenas

Economic security, opportunity not a reality for Latinas without reproductive care

NEW YORK — Following the State of the Union address, Jessica González-Rojas, executive director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH), released the following statement in response to President Obama’s remarks, which emphasized on the importance of equal opportunity and economic security:

“The President made a compelling case for the importance of opportunity and economic security. We couldn’t agree more. Sadly, we know from talking to Latinas that formidable barriers to accessing health care, including cost, lack of transportation, clinic closures, and bans on health coverage for immigrant women threaten the economic security of Latinas and the well-being of our families. While the Affordable Care Act helps millions of Latina's there are still Latina's left behind.

“We hear from Latinas every day who say that their inability to access high-quality, affordable reproductive care, like contraception, abortion, STI and HIV screenings and more, makes it harder for them to care for their families and achieve their educational and economic goals. Women struggling to make ends meet are forced to make impossible decisions—like whether a woman with a lump in her breast pays for a mammogram or puts food on her family’s table. We also know that policies like the Hyde amendment that deny women coverage for abortion only contribute to economic insecurity: according to a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of California San Francisco, women who attempted to obtain abortion services but were denied are three times as likely to fall into poverty than those are able to get the care they need. Put simply, too many federal policies aren’t helping Latinas reach economic security or opportunities; they’re holding us back.

“We urge the President to make the most of his ‘year of action’ by leveraging the full power of the executive branch and working with Congress to expand access to affordable health care—including reproductive health care—to each and every Latina and her family, regardless of where she lives, her immigration status, or the amount of money in her pocket. Ensuring access to quality, affordable reproductive health care is the first step toward equal opportunity and economic security for millions of Latinas and our families.“

The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health is the only national organization working on behalf of the reproductive health and justice of the 24 million Latinas, their families and communities in the United States through public education, community mobilization and policy advocacy.

RATE Coalition

For Immediate Release:

January 28, 2014
Contact: Colin Dunn

RATE Statement on the State of the Union

WASHINGTON, D.C. – RATE Coalition Co-Chairs Elaine Kamarck, former White House adviser to President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore, and James P. Pinkerton, former White House domestic policy adviser to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, made the following statement on President Obama’s call for tax reform in his 2014 State of the Union address.

“President Obama’s call for tax reform during tonight’s State of the Union address not only reinforces the broad, bipartisan support for reform, it is yet another sign that the time for reform is now.

“Leaders in both parties, including Speaker John Boehner and the Republican and Democratic chairmen of the House and Senate tax-writing committees, support tax reform as a way to grow the economy and create jobs. Now is the time for our elected officials to seize the opportunity and work together in a bipartisan manner to craft and pass legislation that will simplify our tax system, make it fairer and put America’s economy on a sustainable path to growth for decades to come. The RATE Coalition welcomes the President’s comments tonight and the expanded debate on this important issue.

“Americans expect their elected officials in Washington to work across party lines and get something done that benefits the country and our economy. Revenue-neutral tax reform that lowers the world leading rate of 35 percent to an internationally competitive level is the perfect issue, and now is the time to do it.”


The RATE Coalition is encouraged by President Obama’s support of tax reform. Find previous State of the Union calls for tax reform here.


About RATE Coalition:

RATE is a coalition of 32 companies and organizations advocating for sensible corporate tax reform. Making the tax code fairer and simpler will help spur job growth and stimulate the U.S. economy, and make us more competitive globally. RATE members currently include: AT&T, Altria Client Services Inc., Association of American Railroads, Babcock & Wilcox, Boeing, Brown Forman, Capital One, Cox Enterprises, CVS Caremark, FedEx, Ford, GAP Inc., General Dynamics, Home Depot, Intel, Kimberly-Clark, Liberty Media, Lockheed Martin, Macy's, National Retail Federation, Nike, Northrup Grumman, Raytheon, Reynolds American, Southern Company, Time Warner Cable, T-Mobile, UPS, Verizon, Viacom, Walt Disney and Walmart. RATE members and affiliated companies represent over 30 million employees in all 50 states and support innumerable numbers of suppliers and small businesses.  More information about the coalition is available at www.RATEcoalition.com.


Sierra Club

Contact: Maggie Kao

Sierra Club Statement on State of the Union

Washington, D.C. -- Tonight President Obama gave his 2014 State of the Union address.

Michael Brune, Sierra Club Executive Director, issued the following statement in response:

“Tonight, President Obama laid out his vision of opportunity for our nation and made it clear that our children will hold us accountable for what we do -- or do not do -- to address climate disruption.
“The President has taken significant steps forward by committing to hold dirty power plants accountable for their toxic carbon pollution and to protect our public lands.  We’re also encouraged to hear his plans to help repair and modernize America's infrastructure.  
“Unfortunately, the sum total of the President’s commitments fall short of what American families need to ensure a safe, healthy planet for our children. We can’t drill or frack our way out of this problem.  There is far more potential for good job creation in clean energy like solar and wind, and common sense solutions like energy efficiency.
“Make no mistake -- natural gas is a bridge to nowhere. If we are truly serious about fighting the climate crisis, we must look beyond an ‘all of the above’ energy policy and replace dirty fuels with clean energy. We can’t effectively act on climate and expand drilling and fracking for oil and gas at the same time.
“To fight the climate crisis, we must resist the temptation to trade away American jobs and public interest policies to foreign corporations. We must walk away from boondoggles like fracked gas. And we must seize on the opportunity and the obligation that the climate crisis has thrust upon us.”


Solar Energy Industries Association

President Touts Solar Progress in State of the Union Speech

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Giving his own “shout out for solar,” President Obama praised the U.S. solar industry in his annual State of the Union speech. Afterward, Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), released the following statement:

“From the rooftop of the White House to the floor of the People’s House, President Obama continues to show his strong, unwavering support for solar energy.  On behalf of the 143,000 Americans who work in the U.S. solar industry – and the tens of millions of people who support it – the best way to thank the President for his leadership is to go out and prove him right.  Today, we’re well on our way to doing that, with solar now the fastest-growing source of renewable energy in America, pumping tens of billions of dollars into the U.S. economy.  But despite this milestone, we believe the best is yet to come.  

"Fresh off a record-breaking year, America’s solar energy industry is looking forward to another great year in 2014 – thanks, in part, to President Obama’s continued leadership and the smart public policies which are making solar more affordable than ever.  With an estimated 13,000 megawatts (MW) of solar currently installed in the U.S., we’re generating enough clean, reliable electricity today to power more than 2 million American homes – or every single home in a state the size of Colorado.  Like the President, we see 2014 as a year of action, a year of progress and a year in which more and more Americans turn to solar to save money, help meet their energy needs and improve our environment.”


About SEIA:

Celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2014, the Solar Energy Industries Association® is the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry. Through advocacy and education, SEIA® is building a strong solar industry to power America. As the voice of the industry, SEIA works with its 1,000 member companies to champion the use of clean, affordable solar in America by expanding markets, removing market barriers, strengthening the industry and educating the public on the benefits of solar energy. Visit SEIA online at www.seia.org.

Media Contacts:

Ken Johnson, SEIA Vice President of Communications
Samantha Page, SEIA Press Officer and Communications Manager
U.S. Chamber of Commerce

U.S. Chamber’s Donohue Comments on State of the Union

Tuesday, January 28, 2014 - 1:00pm

WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue issued the following statement ahead of President Obama’s State of the Union Address:
“Tonight we expect the president to discuss a number of important policies that will help spur growth and improve America’s global competitiveness. We also expect there to be a strong emphasis on inequality and opportunity, but the president’s overall plan to address it is flawed.
“America’s promise has always been equality of opportunity, not outcome. To ensure every American has the opportunity to pursue and achieve the American Dream, we need more good-paying jobs and workers with the skills, education, and incentives to fill them. Government can’t create those jobs; the private sector can.

“We can’t afford to double down on the failed policies of tax, spend, regulate, and mandate. That approach hasn’t worked for the last five years, and it won’t work now. It’s time for a change in direction that will lead to stronger growth, more jobs, bigger paychecks, and greater opportunity for millions of Americans. It’s time to work toward reducing deficits and regulations, reforming taxes and entitlements, aggressively expanding domestic energy, and dramatically improving our education and training programs.”

The Chamber’s 2014 Jobs, Growth, and Opportunity Agenda includes expanding trade, producing more domestic energy, improving infrastructure, modernizing the regulatory process, making essential changes in entitlements, fixing the flaws in Obamacare, curbing lawsuit abuse, and advancing American innovation by protecting intellectual property. The agenda also focuses on revitalizing capital markets, passing immigration reform, and efforts to improve education and training, which will expand opportunity, address inequality, and create jobs.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.


AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka Previews the President’s State of the Union Address


Hi I’m Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO.

Like many Americans I’m looking forward to listening to President Obama’s State of the Union Address on January 28.  As a representative of working people in this country, I’m really anxious to hear his vision for how we can rebuild our country and create prosperity for all.

Recently the President gave a speech on the need to tackle income inequality – that’s the widening gap between the super wealthy and the rest of us.  And you know what -- I’m glad he’s started a national conversation about this very important issue. 

But I want to be clear:  Income inequality didn’t just appear out of thin air.  It’s the result of deliberate policies pushed by the 1 percent – corporations and the very wealthy ---who continue to stack the deck against workers.

Bad policies got us into this mess and good policies will get us out.

I want to hear the President talk about a serious campaign to raise the minimum wage, including wages for tipped workers– so that no one who goes to work every day is living in poverty. And I want to hear him talk about a long term effort to raise living standards for all workers.

I hope the President talks about the need to create good jobs by investing in our country – investing in education, rebuilding our infrastructure, technology and manufacturing -- and addressing our nation’s energy challenges by creating green jobs.  But we can’t create good jobs if our trade policies turn around and ship those jobs overseas – we have to have trade that works for workers, not just for global corporations.

Too many Americans who want to work still can’t find jobs, and that’s why the President should call on Congress to immediately renew emergency unemployment benefits for the millions of workers who are struggling.

The President must also recommit to fixing our broken immigration system by providing a roadmap to citizenship for 11 million aspiring Americans.  The President can take action right now on this issue -- he should put an end to the harsh deportations that are separating families and he should do it immediately.

Last, but certainly not least – we in the labor movement know the best way for working people to raise their living standards is for everyone to have a voice on the job to bargain together for better wages, benefits and conditions.  That’s how incomes rise not just for union workers but for all workers.  And that’s what we want—an economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthy few. 

President Obama has a lot of challenges ahead of him but he’s not alone.  If he’s willing to fight for working people, we’ll have his back every step of the way.

Thanks for listening.  You can join the conversation on Twitter by going to @AFLCIO and tell us what you want to hear from the President. 

Contact: Josh Goldstein

American Petroleum Institute

Gerard to President Obama: Seize the American moment to reduce income inequality

WASHINGTON, January 28, 2014 – API President and CEO Jack Gerard laid out smart energy policies that President Obama can take unilaterally to achieve his State of the Union goal of relieving income inequality:

“If President Obama has decided to take unilateral action, he can fight income inequality by seizing this once-in-a-lifetime energy moment by allowing more oil and natural gas jobs that pay seven times the minimum wage.

“The American energy renaissance gives us a unique opportunity to revitalize our economy and become a global energy superpower while helping Americans get back to work. The president has the opportunity to seize this moment by approving the Keystone XL pipeline, opening up new areas for responsible energy development, and pulling back unnecessary and costly new regulations. These pro-growth energy policies would create millions of stable, good paying jobs, which is the American people’s number one priority. If the president is serious about combating income inequality, we must take full advantage of the opportunities in energy that are before us.

“Unfortunately, the president called for increased taxes on the oil and natural gas industry he needs to close the income gap and create jobs. Punishing energy companies by raising taxes is not sound energy policy and could lead to less energy, less government revenue, and fewer jobs. The oil and natural gas industry already contributes $85 million a day to the federal government—a larger contributor of government revenue than any other industry in the United States.”

API also released a video – “For a stronger union, choose energy” – highlighting how the oil and natural gas industry has helped achieve the president’s previous State of the Union goals.

API is the only national trade association representing all facets of the oil and natural gas industry, which supports 9.8 million U.S. jobs and 8 percent of the U.S. economy. API’s more than 580 members include large integrated companies, as well as exploration and production, refining, marketing, pipeline, and marine businesses, and service and supply firms. They provide most of the nation’s energy and are backed by a growing grassroots movement of more than 20 million Americans.

No Labels
Full page ad from the New York Times, Jan. 26, 2014:


Jan. 27, 2014

Bing.com and FOX News Channel team up to bring real-time

polling to the State of the Union

Opportunity for Americans to share their views by “voting” on President Obama’s address and the Republican response; Bing Pulse received 12.9 million votes during the 2013 State of the Union, making it the largest live online poll in history; new features include an annotated graph allowing users to see what passages are soaring and tanking, and poll questions about key topics in the speeches.

REDMOND, Wash. Jan. 27, 2014 Bing.com and FOX News Channel (FNC) are teaming up again on the Bing Pulse online voting tool for the State of the Union address and Republican response on Tuesday, Jan. 28, at 9 p.m. EST. The first-of-its-kind technology, which was introduced during the 2013 State of the Union, enables viewers to track and share their opinions and reactions in real time via their smartphone, PC or tablet. For the 2013 State of the Union, the Bing Pulse received 12.9 million votes during the address. Live results were also shown on FNC.

During the address and the response, people will be able to not only provide their feedback, but also look at the Bing Pulse online or on FNC to see what other viewers think of both the speech and the Republican response in real time as the remarks are being delivered. The Bing Pulse also provides an intensity score, which highlights the key moments of the address or when the greatest numbers of viewers vote at the same time. New this year is an online annotated graphing feature that enables people with one click to understand exactly what was said during those polling spikes. Also new this year are poll questions about some of the key topics in the speeches.

“We deployed the Bing Pulse for the 2013 State of the Union because we thought it was the perfect tool to give people an opportunity to react in real time to the address,” said Mark Penn, executive vice president of Advertising and Strategy at Microsoft. “Over the course of 59 minutes, we conducted the largest live online poll in history with 12.9 million votes registered. That response showed how much people want to make their voices heard during significant political moments. This year, we’re adding more features and are covering the Republican response as well.”

In addition to teaming up with FNC for its State of the Union coverage, the Bing Pulse runs three nights a week on “Special Report with Bret Baier” (6 p.m. EST). According to Nielsen, “Special Report” delivers on average 2.2 million viewers a night with Bing Pulse drawing over half a million votes per week.

How it works

The Bing Pulse allows people to share their opinion of the State of the Union by “voting” every five seconds on their reactions to the content of the speech. Viewers simply go to Bing.com/politics from a computer, tablet or mobile device to connect with the poll while watching the president’s address or Republican response on television or through a live feed on the Bing.com/politics hub.

Unlike typical polls, Bing Pulse allows people to self-identify by gender and political party affiliation to provide additional aggregate data analysis to the results shown online and on FNC.

As the speeches progress, viewers have five choices to characterize how they are feeling about what they are hearing: strongly agree, somewhat agree, neutral, somewhat disagree and strongly disagree. The live count of the number of “pulses,” or votes, becomes a line graph of how users react to the State of the Union, as well as the Republican response throughout both speeches, and will be visible on the television screen on FNC. Viewers watching the speech on other networks can have a robust State of the Union companion experience by participating in the Bing Pulse and seeing the live poll results online. During the course of the speeches, the Bing Pulse online poll results will be updated every few seconds on FNC with data also available at Bing.com/politics. More in-depth news and analysis will be available at http://www.foxnews.com/sotu.

Comprehensive, nonpartisan State of the Union experience

The Bing Pulse is part of a comprehensive, nonpartisan State of the Union experience on Bing.com/politics and on FNC. In addition to the Bing Pulse, the site provides a single destination for up-to-the-minute political news, expert information and real-time conversations on major policy issues. Bing.com/politics features include these:

  • A live feed of President Obama’s State of the Union address and the Republican response

  • An annotated graph allowing users to see what parts of the State of the Union are soaring and what parts are tanking

  • Real-time news results using the Bing news filter that helps people navigate the news by filtering coverage from left-leaning and right-leaning sources

  • A live feed of social conversations on Twitter so people can stay informed on what leading political pundits are saying about the speech

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33.3 Million Tune in to Watch Pres. Obama’s State of the Union Address

On Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014 President Barack Obama delivered his second State of the Union address of his second term in office. The address was carried live from 9:00 p.m. to 10:15 p.m. on 13 networks and tape-delayed on Univision. The sum of the average audience for those networks was 33,299,172 viewers with a combined household rating of 20.7. The networks carrying the address live were CBS, ABC, NBC, FOX, Azteca, Fox Business, Fox News Channel, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, Al Jazeera America, Galavision and Mun2.

In terms of the address’ social nature, 8.8 million people saw at least one of the 2.1 million tweets sent in the U.S. about the "State of The Union 2014,” according to Nielsen SocialGuide. Each person in the Twitter TV Unique Audience saw, on average, 29 tweets about the TV event. Twitter activity about the airing spiked at 9:47pm, with 32,918 Tweets sent following the president's reference to "equal pay.”

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