This week, President Obama delivered the State of the Union Address. In an optimistic and powerful speech, he spoke about the American economy and the progress we’ve made since the recession. The national unemployment rate is down, millions of jobs are being created and this past year was the best year for the labor market since 1999.
Though the progress we’ve made is real, there is work left to do to lift up America’s middle-class. The President announced proposals that working families in Illinois care about and now it’s up to Congress to come together and take his initiatives seriously.
Expand Access to Education: I believe the President’s proposal to make two years of community college free for responsible students is a moonshot of an idea. It would give motivated students a path to receiving a solid educational foundation without the debt. Community colleges have always provided a springboard for students who wish to continue their education and get the training they need to land a quality job. It’s time to look beyond K through 12, start thinking about K through 14 and bring our educational achievements to the 21st century. I applaud the president for this effort and support it wholeheartedly.
Strengthen Our Infrastructure: During his address, the President made it clear how important it is for Congress to pass a long-term bill to fund our transportation and infrastructure projects by May. In Illinois, we know funding transportation projects support thousands of construction jobs, will lead to future economic activity and will make our communities better. Congress needs to work together and pass a federal transportation bill soon.
Close Corporate Tax Loopholes: Something I’ve been a strong supporter of is fixing our broken tax system and the President noted he wants to do the same. Any tax reform proposal must address the many loopholes that allow corporations to avoid paying their fair share while middle-income families pick up the tab. Through a business practice known as corporate inversion, companies move their tax domicile overseas so they can pay lower corporate tax rates. the ability of companies to invert now and then work toward tax reform that closes the many loopholes that contributes to our growing income inequality.
Invest in Cutting Edge Research: Lastly, President Obama told Congress he would like to see increased investments in biomedical research. One of my upcoming public health priorities will be the continued and increased funding for biomedical research. I plan to once again which builds on this goal and will look for more opportunities to increase funding in this vital area of our budget.
The President reminded us this week that we live in a great country and our economy is recovering. We have made extraordinary sacrifices abroad and have lifted ourselves up by the bootstraps back home. Let’s keep moving forward, help those families trying to make ends meet and invest in America and its future..
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Sent from the office of U.S. Senator Dick Durbin