Washington DC - Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley issued the following statement on President Barack Obama’s 2010 State of the Union Address:
“The President is absolutely right to place job creation front and center. With Oregon suffering from 11% unemployment, there is no issue that is more at the forefront than the need to create good-paying jobs. I am pleased that he highlighted two issues I have been advocating: retrofitting homes to make them more energy efficient and increasing lending to small businesses.
“Energy retrofits will immediately create jobs that cannot be outsourced while decreasing our energy consumption and saving families’ money. I have introduced legislation to implement such a program based on Oregon’s successful efforts and have been working with the Senate leadership to move it forward as part of a job creation package. And I believe we can improve upon President Obama’s proposal by utilizing low-interest revolving loan funds together with rebates. These loans can be paid back through savings on energy bills and will help overcome the hurdle of high upfront costs.
“Small business growth is also key to our economic future. Last year, I proposed moving TARP funds from Wall Street to Main Street to help community banks increase lending to our small businesses. Access to capital is absolutely necessary to business growth and I will work to ensure our small businesses are able to seize business opportunities and put Oregonians to work.
“We face enormous challenges. We must enact health care reform to make insurance affordable and end insurance company abuses. We must reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources and invest in American renewable power. We must restore the rules of the road for Wall Street so that risky behavior cannot again bring our economy to its knees.
“But our first priority is getting Americans back to work. I applaud President Obama for putting that front and center in tonight’s address.”