"Today, President Obama laid out a vision of America in which everyone can achieve the American Dream.
"Over the past 30 years, income for the average American has stayed flat while the richest one percent of Americans have seen their income more than triple. The wealth of the richest one percent is over 225 times larger than the average household; the middle class is working harder and harder for less and less.
"The President reaffirmed that the greatest challenge facing our country is whether we create middle class jobs. We cannot continue to give tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires while cutting investments the middle class relies on. It is our job to invest in the programs that will put our teachers, medical researchers, and construction workers back to work building the middle class.
"Like the President, I support strengthening Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid for generations to come. But any reforms should come from protecting these programs, not from cutting benefits Americans depend upon. We should allow Medicare Part D to negotiate lower drug prices for seniors. We can require the wealthy to contribute to Social Security on all of their wages, as middle class Americans do now. But cuts like 'Chained CPI'- cutting Social Security benefits for seniors by reducing the way inflation is calculated- would cost a Minnesota senior thousands of dollars over her lifetime.
"Lastly, the President's announcement to bring 34,000 troops home from Afghanistan by this time next year will mean thousands of Minnesotans will see their loved ones home safe and sound. I have long called for an end to the War in Afghanistan, the longest war in American history.
"The President laid out a vision for America tonight. Now it is up to Congress to help make this a reality."