From Illinois Business Journal news services
Southwestern Illinois’ congressional delegation weighed in overnight on the president’s State of the Union address.
U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, released the following statement:
“I believe the president missed an important opportunity tonight. I had hoped that our enemies and all of our allies listening would have heard from our Commander in Chief tonight that America will no longer lead from behind, but instead from a position of strength. Unfortunately, all we heard was the president digging in on the same failed foreign policies that have only strengthened our enemies and weakened relationships with our allies.
“While there was much I disagreed with in tonight’s address, we can agree that there is still a lot of work to be done. Congress will continue to send important legislation to the president’s desk – forcing him to make a choice on many of Americans’ top priorities. But there are major issues we can work together on too, many mentioned by the president tonight, such as criminal justice reform, workforce training, and affordable education.
“One specific issue that I hope to work on with this White House, and future administrations, is curing cancer. I was pleased to hear the president speak about this being our next ‘mission to the moon’ because that is exactly the mission of my guest to tonight’s State of the Union. Kimberly Wade, whose son Jonny died from brain cancer this past Christmas Eve, wants to continue her son’s wish that no child will ever have cancer again.
“Tonight, we asked every member to wear a ‘Team Jonny’ wristband to show their support in this fight against cancer and I will to do everything I can to continue Jonny’s ‘mission to the moon’ in Congress,” Davis said.
Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, issued this statement:
“President Obama sought to secure his legacy and reset the tone in Washington tonight. However, he undermined both by continuing to minimize the greatest global threat of our times. In labeling ISIS nothing more than ‘fighters on the back of pickup trucks,’ the President has shown that he still fails to grasp the serious challenges we face and will do little to offer solutions. American families want to feel safe, and they deserve better than sugarcoated rhetoric.
“This is no time for victory laps on the domestic front either, where 5.5 million more Americans are in poverty and 12.7 million Americans have dropped out of the workforce over the last eight years. While I remain hopeful the President will be compelled to work with Republicans to find solutions in his final year in office, tonight’s speech was not a good start,” Bost said.
Assistant Senate Democratic Leader Dick Durbin, D-Ill., released the following statement:
“About a decade ago, I had a conversation with my Senate colleague, a young man named Barack Obama, about running for higher office. Tonight, I was honored to hear my friend and former Senate colleague deliver his final State of the Union Address as President of the United States.
“We’ve come a long way. When President Obama took office, our economy was losing 800,000 jobs each month. Since then, we have added 14.1 million private-sector jobs. 17.6 million more people have health insurance since the Affordable Care Act took effect. We’ve cut the uninsured rate by 45 percent. We’ve come a long way, but we’ve still got work to do.
“The United States still locks up more of its citizens per capita than any other nation on earth. The President shares my goal of enacting criminal justice reform this year. And we still allow enormous numbers of guns to fall into the hands of dangerous and unstable people. The President continues to do all he can to stop gun violence, but he’ll need Congress to enact a sane background check law, which 90 percent of Americans support. I stand with him on that.
“The President remains committed to fixing our broken immigration system, which I’ve worked on for years. Comprehensive immigration reform has passed the Senate on a bipartisan basis, and this is something that can and should pass without delay.
“And the President announced a new national effort to make the biggest investments in medical research in over a decade. He’ll have no greater ally in Congress than me.
“But beyond this critical work to be done, the President looked ahead and urged Americans to be optimistic about our future. We love our country. Let’s work together to make it better,” Durbin said.