WASHINGTON – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley released the following statement after President Obama delivered the State of the Union Address:
“The President is right to pinpoint the success of our middle class as the defining issue of our time. Our economy and our families will never reach their full potential if growth only comes from the top down, and not from the middle out. What our country needs most is a middle class agenda that prioritizes good jobs now and expanded opportunity for the next generation.
“We should start by taking two immediate steps that would boost our economy and give a hand up to hardworking families who are struggling: extending emergency unemployment insurance and raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. I applaud the President for taking the first step in this direction today by directing all federal contractors to pay their workers a wage of at least $10.10. Now Congress must act to extend fairness and opportunity to millions more families.
“Ultimately, it doesn’t take rocket science to understand what makes a strong middle class: good, living wage jobs; quality, affordable education; secure retirement; and a political and financial system that responds to the needs of the many rather than the few. Now is the time to revitalize our commitment to the middle class and focus on the pillars that will help both individual families and our broader economy succeed.”
An audio response to the State of the Union can be found here.