Vermont deligation responds to State of the Union
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)
"President Obama gave a strong speech with a sensible set of priorities. I look forward to working with his administration to create the millions of new jobs we desperately need, to improve our pre-school and educational system and to combat climate change, one of the great threats facing our planet."
Rep. Peter Welch
"President Obama campaigned and won convincingly on pursuing an energetic agenda for middle class progress, ending the war in Afghanistan, confronting the real threat of climate change, and agreeing on a balanced approach to reducing our national debt. Tonight, I was encouraged to see him fully embrace that victory and those important priorities.
"I was particularly pleased to hear him fully embrace the sensible, job-creating policy of energy efficiency that was pioneered in Vermont. And I am grateful for his endorsement of my legislation that will allow middle class homeowners current on their mortgages to cut their monthly payments by refinancing at today's low interest rates.
"I was also encouraged by the President's call for progress from a Congress that has failed to function. The fact that we don't agree on everything can no longer be an excuse for doing nothing. Washington needs to operate more like Vermont where we listen to one another and make progress by finding common ground. I will continue my work with Members on both sides of the aisle to bring Vermont's practical, common sense problem solving to Congress.
"The President's remarks fell short of addressing real concerns about the administration's use of drones. I believe he must submit this policy to constitutional checks and balances, including greater oversight and transparency. I expect to hear more from him on this issue in the near future."
Senator Patrick Leahy
"The challenges the President outlined are difficult, but they are solvable. The job of political leaders is to find solutions, on issues which range from strengthening the economy and creating jobs, to deficit reduction and investing in our future. We need to move beyond the recent pattern of obstruction at any cost. Festering problems only worsen, and lost opportunities are wasteful. It will mean hard work, but that is not a sufficient reason to do nothing. The strong, bipartisan Senate passage of the Violence Against Women Act this week is an early and perhaps hopeful sign that Congress is capable of rising to the tasks ahead.
"The President gave a clear call to action on such difficult and lingering issues as comprehensive immigration reform and gun violence. Tomorrow we will take the first step in the legislative process on immigration reform with a hearing by the Judiciary Committee.
"I welcome the President's announcement of an accelerated pace for bringing our troops home from Afghanistan. That is overdue.
"I also appreciate the President's Executive Order to strengthen our cybersecurity. Developing a comprehensive national cybersecurity strategy is one of the most serious and threatening unmet needs confronting the nation. Now Congress must do its part and enact meaningful solutions to enhance cybersecurity and better protect Americans' digital privacy. New privacy laws to establish a single, national standard for data breach notification and to update digital the Electronic Communications Privacy Act are long overdue."
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