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

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman John D. Dingell (D-MI12) released the statement below following President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech:

“Tonight, President Obama outlined three key principles vitally important to the American people: opportunity, action, and optimism. Recent years have shown that the will of this country and the patience of our people have been tested by the trials of gross partisanship and unnecessary congressional inaction. What we need now is an across-the-board effort to rekindle the American Dream and make it accessible to all. Anything less is unacceptable.

“I am encouraged that President Obama has taken steps to raise the minimum wage for federal contractors, and I call on my colleagues in Congress to bring up legislation immediately that I have cosponsored to expand that federal minimum wage to every corner of this country. Folks who work hard, play by the rules, and work day in and day out to provide for their families should not have to struggle to keep their heads above water. That’s not fair, and it certainly isn’t sustainable.

“Helping working Americans make a decent wage fosters the American Dream. Providing a path to employment for our unemployed and long-term unemployed helps move working Americans even closer to attaining that American Dream. We absolutely cannot continue on a path to economic recovery by ignoring the legitimate needs of American families and turning our backs on the unemployed. Not acting to restore unemployment benefits for millions nationwide and more than 50,000 at home in Michigan is, quite frankly, criminally neglectful. Congress must take definitive and immediate action on these issues.

“Our country was founded on optimism. President Obama’s speech tonight recognized that and the need to act on such optimism. We know that we are all in this together. We know that we cannot look to our neighbor and say ‘I’m sorry, but your half of the boat is sinking.’ With meaningful action by everyone and a commitment to end divisive political infighting, we can again do the people’s business and move further along in our path to recovery. It is not until Congress does a better job of working together that we will see such progress made. I remind my colleagues daily that ‘compromise’ and ‘cooperation’ are not dirty or evil words; rather they are the foundation of this democracy. It is my hope the President’s speech tonight helps buttress that conviction and spurs my colleagues to embrace it for the good of the country.”