WI, MN politicians weigh in after State of the Union - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

WI, MN politicians weigh in after State of the Union

LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) - State and congressional members in Wisconsin and Minnesota respond to Tuesday night's State of the Union speech by President Obama.

Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI):

“I commend the President for focusing his speech on our nation’s economy. He laid out a clear plan to create jobs, help more job seekers find employment, and expand economic opportunities to all Americans.

“In addition to new jobs, we need to make sure that those who are looking for work aren’t denied the lifeline of unemployment benefits. And I was glad to hear the President talk about deficit reduction, raising the minimum wage, college affordability and improving our workforce’s ability to compete in the 21stcentury economy, issues that I have been fighting for in Congress.

“The American people expect us to work together and do whatever we can promote economic security and growth. I look forward to seeing the President visit Wisconsin later this week to discuss these issues and I think his message will be well received.”


Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)

“The President delivered a strong call for action to build a fairer economy, to expand opportunity for everyone, and to grow the middle class. I believe we can create stronger economic growth and expand opportunity by focusing on job training and workforce readiness, strengthening our advanced manufacturing economy, and investing in innovation, science and research to fuel small business start-ups. So I applaud the President for giving a voice to these initiatives and calling on Congress to put progress ahead of politics.
“I am also pleased that the President made a strong push for raising the minimum wage. We need to reward the hard work of Wisconsinites so an honest day’s work pays more.
“Our economy is strongest when we expand opportunity for everyone. So I am hopeful that Congress will now answer this call for action by working across party lines to get the job done for the American people. We can’t continue to let gridlock in Washington stand in the way of both parties working together to make sure that everyone has a fair shot at getting ahead.”

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton

"Tonight President Obama presented a clear vision to expand opportunity for all Americans and continue growing our economy.  President Obama's proposals, from increasing the federal minimum wage, to making college more affordable, to investing in high-tech manufacturing, will increase opportunities for more Minnesotans to achieve the American Dream."

Republican Party of Wisconsin Press Secretary Jesse Dougherty:

“As expected, President Obama desperately attempted to spin his Administration’s disappointments, including a disastrous health care law and an uncertain economy as more and more Americans are frustrated with his failed leadership.

“President Obama has once again neglected to present a real jobs plan to revive our economy, nor has he accepted any accountability for his Administration’s failures. Just as during the first five years of his Presidency, we see the same fluffy rhetoric with no real results. A stagnant President means a stagnant economy, and Americans deserve better.”

Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN)

“Tonight, the President laid out a vision for a stronger, more prosperous America. One in which both Republicans and Democrats set aside their differences, do the hard work, and come together to solve problems. I agree with that bipartisan message. We’re not going to agree on everything, but let’s make progress where we can—like on a bipartisan, robust transportation bill that creates jobs and makes our communities safer. I stand ready to work with my colleagues in Congress, constituents and community leaders like Mayor Kuntz in Owatonna, and local businesses to move our country forward.”

LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW)— President Barack Obama will deliver his fifth State of the Union Address Tuesday night.
The President is expected to address the income gap in this country and the importance of narrowing it. He already announced he will use his executive authority if needed to bypass congress and put his policies into effect.
"It's not the preferred course of action," said Rep. Ron Kind, a Democrat who represents Wisconsin's 3rd Congressional District. "I think the President over the last six years has seen a congress that's done a lot to try to prevent any meaningful action from occurring that could help with economic growth and so he's going to take a look and see what authority rests within him
and what actions can be taken."
But Republican Sen. Ron Johnson disagrees with the threat to use executive orders.
"You need to have a stable, regulatory and legal environment in which to operate," Sen. Johnson said. "And you've got a president saying he's just going to rule by presidential degree and dictate, that really sends a chill down the spine of business people and certainly does not lend itself to more business expansion and job creation."
The President will use that executive authority when it come to the minimum wage for federal contract workers. He said he will increase that minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour.
"This may not have a big effect on workers, many of whom are in federal contracts making above the minimum wage, but it does send the signal that congress should act together and raise the minimum wage," Rep. Kind said. "If the consumers don't have disposable income, where they can go and purchase the goods and services that companies are making, they're not going to hire. They're not going to expand."
However, like many Republicans, Sen. Johnson says an increase in mini um wage for all workers could stunt job growth.
"We all want to see every American have the opportunity to be prosperous, and if they're working, certainly to have a livable wage," Sen. Johnson said. "The problem in addressing that problem by increasing minimum wage is you will definitely decrease the number of entry level positions available in the economy. The way to address a livable wage is through the earned income tax credit."
The earned income tax is a refundable federal income tax credit for low to moderate income earners. When earned income tax exceeds the amount of taxes owed, it results in a tax refund to those who claim and qualify for the credit.
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