January 29, 2014

SOTU Recap

Barack ObamaPresident Obama delivered the State of the Union on Tuesday night, addressing a number of concerns submitted to us throughout the week by UFCW members. Here are highlights from his address:

“Today, the federal minimum wage is worth about twenty percent less than it was when Ronald Reagan first stood here.  Tom Harkin and George Miller have a bill to fix that by lifting the minimum wage to $10.10.  This will help families.  It will give businesses customers with more money to spend.  It doesn’t involve any new bureaucratic program.  So join the rest of the country.  Say yes.  Give America a raise.”

Along with issuing an executive order that creates a $10.10 minimum wage for federal contractors, President Obama called on Congress to pass the Harkin-Miller bill which would raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10, index it to inflation, and ensure no one who works full-time in America lives in poverty.

“Citizenship means standing up for everyone’s right to vote.  Last year, part of the Voting Rights Act was weakened.  But conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats are working together to strengthen it; and the bipartisan commission I appointed last year has offered reforms so that no one has to wait more than a half hour to vote.  Let’s support these efforts.  It should be the power of our vote, not the size of our bank account, that drives our democracy.”

Every single American has the right to vote, but being forced to wait hours to exercise this right is unfair and wrong. President Obama’s bipartisan voting commission has and will continue to take steps towards making sure every eligible voter can access the polls.

“I’m also convinced we can help Americans return to the workforce faster by reforming unemployment insurance so that it’s more effective in today’s economy.  But first, this Congress needs to restore the unemployment insurance you just let expire for 1.6 million people.”

Millions of Americans are still without a job and struggling to make ends meet. President Obama called for the restoration of unemployment insurance because it is simply wrong to cut off assistance to people who lost their job through no fault of their own.

“Finally, if we are serious about economic growth, it is time to heed the call of business leaders, labor leaders, faith leaders, and law enforcement – and fix our broken immigration system.

President Obama, along with most Americans and the UFCW believe that aspiring Americans should be allowed to step out of the shadows and onto a fair path to citizenship.

The State of the Union made it clear that President Obama wants to assist Americans who have not yet seen or felt a full recovery from the Great Recession. It is time for Congress to do their part to help working families find the success they deserve in 2014.