Michael Bennet, U.S. Senator for Colorado, released the following statement after President Barack Obama delivered his annual State of the Union address before a Joint Session of Congress:
"Tonight, after a difficult year for our country, the president spoke directly to the American people about the serious challenges we face, and the serious work we need to do to address them.
"Our number one priority right now needs to be jobs, and I'm pleased President Obama made that the central focus of tonight's remarks. We need to do more to create jobs, to provide tax relief for small businesses, and to restore economic security and stability for middle class families.
"Part of that security will come from strong, sensible reforms that hold Wall Street bankers accountable for their own bad decisions. But it will also come from improving and reforming our public schools and lowering the crushing cost of health care for working families.
"As the father of three little girls and the former superintendent of schools, I appreciated the President's focus on improving our schools and providing the funds necessary to get public education back on track. I'm eager to work with the White House and with school districts across Colorado - our parents and our teachers - to help turn our schools around and prepare our kids for the new economy.
"I was pleased to hear the president address the deficits and debts that threaten to constrain our kids' choices. Saddling our children with a debilitating debt is simply immoral, and President Obama was right to hold Washington accountable for its spending habits.
"The challenges we face are serious, and they won't be addressed unless we fix the way Washington does business - unless we put aside partisan bickering, dismiss the special interests and put problem solving and the American people first. After a lost decade of declining wages and eroding security for the middle class, the last thing working families can afford is more of the same - and it's going to require all of us, working together, to get results."
U.S. Senator Mark Udall released the following statement in reaction to President Obama's State of the Union address:
"Almost a year ago, President Obama addressed Congress and delivered a grim picture about the economic crisis we faced. We were on the brink of another Great Depression, and the economy was in free-fall.
"Tonight, the president reminded us of how far we've come - but also how far we still have to go. While the economy is showing signs of recovery, millions of Americans have been left behind. Every day, I hear from Coloradans struggling to find work, facing bankruptcy because of rising health care costs, and worrying about how they are going to keep their homes.
"President Obama made his focus for this year strengthening our economy and helping the middle class. Instead of a laundry list of new programs, his plans for the year include targeting initiatives that will create good jobs and leave our economy stronger for the future. That means health insurance reform, continuing our focus on clean-energy jobs, ensuring Main Street is never again on the hook for Wall Street's mistakes, and returning to the kind of common-sense budgeting that hardworking families practice every day.
"I wholeheartedly agree with his focus - especially his plans for controlling deficit spending. Over the past year, a number of us have warned that the fiscal path we are on is unsustainable. I have called on the president and my colleagues in Congress to support responsible changes to rein in spending, including 'pay-as-you go' budgeting requirements, a line-item veto, and a bipartisan task force dedicated to a long-term plan for deficit reduction.
"I was disappointed this week that the Senate failed to pass a measure that would have created the bipartisan debt-reduction task force, but I am pleased that the president has agreed to create a similar commission at the executive level. In order to rebuild our economy, the federal government must get control of its ever-increasing deficit and debt.
"As always, my top priority is to keep our country safe and to look out for our servicemen and women on the front lines - and, when they return home, ensure they and their families have the services they need. So I was pleased to hear President Obama's continued commitment to our military on and off the battlefield. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I'm happy to see the president renew his pledge to repeal the discriminatory 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy, which bans gays from serving openly in the military. At a time when we are fighting two wars, it is counterproductive to be dismissing patriotic service members.
"I stand ready to work with the president and with my colleagues in both parties to help the middle class recover lost ground and get our country moving forward again."
Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) released the following statement after President Obama's State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress:
"The reelection campaign of President Obama began this evening. Battered by the wholesale rejection of his domestic policy agenda last Tuesday, the president has shifted into 2012 mode. They say in Washington 'good policy makes good politics.'
"Unfortunately tonight, I heard too much of the latter and not enough of the former."
"Also, let's be serious about the president's call to freeze non-defense discretionary spending. Given this administration's track record of budget increases and wild deficit spending, it's the equivalent of spitting into a hurricane."
"The president's priorities continue to be out of step with the American people, and tonight his tired rhetoric reaffirmed that."
Congressman John T. Salazar issued the following response to President Obama's State of the Union Address:
"Tonight, President Obama spoke of strengthening the middle class through tax breaks for working people and through job creation for those who need it most. Creating jobs must be our number one priority in Washington over the coming year.
"The president also made clear that as we continue to rebuild our national economy and maintain national security we must do so in a fiscally responsible way so that we don't repeat the mistakes of the past. I have fought for PAYGO laws which guarantee that new legislation brought forward must not add to the national debt. As the president noted, this type of responsible spending is critical as we move forward and as a fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrat I couldn't agree more.
"Finally, like many of my constituents, I share President Obama's anger tonight over the outrageous, reprehensible behavior of some in the financial industry. Although I voted against the bank bailout in 2008 that measure passed and taxpayers bailed out those banks when needed our help. Now, banks need to use that money to help the working people of this nation and I join the president in his call tonight for financial reform.
"It is clear to me that the American people want members of both parties to work together on these major problems facing our nation. Those in the leadership of both parties need to stop their escalating bickering and work together to solve our nation's problems."
U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colorado), offered the following response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union Address before a joint session of Congress:
"It's no secret that our country has experienced troubled economic times. Beginning with the Recovery Act, the Obama Administration and Congress have begun the process of putting our country and our economy back on track. Yet, more work is still needed. The president tonight renewed his commitment to a new long-term economic strategy that will stabilize our economy by creating jobs and reducing the deficit.
"Our ballooning federal deficit cannot continue into the red, and the creation of an bipartisan fiscal commission to recommend additional ways to cut it is the right path forward. I pledge to continue to support fully paid-for programs under the House's pay-go rules ensuring the strong fiscal health of our country. I also support the president's call for bipartisan solutions and urge the Senate to consider important pieces of legislation already passed by the House, such as comprehensive food safety legislation, energy independence legislation, and the House-passed jobs bill."
Congressman Jared Polis (D-Colorado) released the following statement in response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union Address:
"I agree completely with President Obama that the road to recovery begins with our economy. Today, big business and corporate lobbyists are working together to the detriment of the American people and the American economy. This was only made worse by the recent Supreme Court decision that opened the channels for unregulated use of corporate funds to influence political elections. I am encouraged by President Obama's remarks and share many of his goals: to make college affordable and our school systems shine; to reduce the deficit and rein in spending; to invest in innovation and America's small businesses; and to not give up on passing meaningful health care reforms. I eagerly look forward to working with him to take down the unholy alliance of big business and special interest and to return the focus of our government to where it belongs - the people."
U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter released the following statement after President Obama's State of the Union speech:
"I am encouraged President Obama's first State of the Union focused on the type of kitchen table issues I have been working on since I took office - small business growth, economic policies to help the hard working people in the middle and getting our budget in order.
"Right now people in the middle are hurting. Too many hard working Americans are worried about their jobs, the rising costs of college and health care, and their small businesses. This is what I hear when I walk precincts or talk to constituents at my Government in the Groceries.
"Our country is at a crossroads and we face many challenges. We can look forward to a brighter future, but we must act now.
"As the economy begins to turn around we need to increase job growth and decrease the debt. We also need to reform Wall Street so we can recoup taxpayer's money, prevent another financial crisis and get banks lending again to Main Street. I urge the Senate to quickly move forward with the Wall Street reform legislation the House has already passed.
"I will continue to fight for common sense budget solutions investing in job creation, small business and strengthening the middle-class. We face serious problems but I am confident if we work together we will move this country forward."
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)