January 13, 2015
Contact: Olivia Alperstein
Communications and Policy Associate
***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***
Progressive Congress Calls for Bold Action after President Obama’s State of the Union
In his final State of the Union address on Tuesday, January 12, President Obama set a clear tone for his last year in office and laid out key points in a bold agenda he intends to pursue. We applaud the President for calling for a cure for cancer, an expansion of Social Security and Medicare, lowered college tuition costs, an end to anti-Muslim and anti-Middle Eastern bigotry and hatred, and for American businesses to lead in building a renewable energy economy.
While we applaud his strong words, we ask that President Obama follow through on each of his points with bold action in the coming year.
To find a cure for cancer, we must fund new research projects that offer alternatives to the costly, sometimes dangerous medications cancer patients have to rely on, but we must also eliminate known cancer-causing agents and toxins in products, and in our water supply. To cure cancer we must treat cancer and prevent cancer — these actions are mutually inclusive. We hope President Obama will call on Congress to pass legislation that removes barriers to research and provides funding for medical breakthroughs.
President Obama was right when he said that we should not talk about gutting Social Security and Medicare- we should expand them. Now more than ever, hard-working Americans who have labored for years are at risk of losing their financial security when they retire. The “golden years” should not be the hardest years of a person’s life— let’s work to ensure that all Americans can work and retire with dignity.
Cutting college costs is important — no student should lose access to higher education because it’s not affordable. The government can ask public and private universities that receive federal funds to ensure that their tuition fees are not a barrier to attendance for lower-income Americans. We ask President Obama to enact legislation that forgive student loans, so students and graduates are not burdened by debt even before the promise of a better future.
We applaud President Obama for declaring that bigotry and hatred against Muslims impedes our progress as a nation and does not reflect our core values. President Obama called for bipartisan support for issues that “we can all agree on,” and we ask that he press Republicans in Congress to join 112 Democrats who have co-sponsored H.Res. 569, a resolution that condemns acts of bigotry and violence toward Muslims.
President Obama knows that American businesses can lead the new green economy— but they are unlikely to do so unless there is a clear incentive. The Congressional Progressive Caucus introduced a bold, comprehensive resolution to combat climate change which includes tax breaks and subsidies for American ventures in renewable energy, as well as job training and assistance for Americans who would be impacted by the transition to a new economy. We ask that President Obama consider these and other initiatives mentioned in the resolution as a blueprint, and we ask that he incorporate such measures into his policy decisions for his last year in office.
President Obama has had a historic presidency, and while some refer to a president’s last year in office as a“lame duck” year, he has the opportunity to continue to shape history. We hope he rises to the occasion and carves out a bold, progressive agenda for future presidents.
Progressive Congress is a 501(C)3 organization based in Washington, D.C. that amplifies and strengthens connections between change makers in the grassroots Progressive community and lawmakers in Congress.