Nevada Senator Harry Reid issued the following statement after President Barack Obama concluded his fifth State of the Union Address:
"President Obama delivered a clear vision for strengthening the middle class and creating a foundation for long-term growth. The President outlined an agenda in which fairness is not just a principle for which to strive, but a powerful engine of growth and prosperity for all Americans. Senate Democrats stand ready to work with him to make his agenda a reality, and we are already making significant progress toward fixing our broken immigration system and addressing gun violence in our society.
"As the President made clear, our economy is poised to grow this year and in the years to come. Our job in Congress is to provide a sound foundation for that growth. Unless immediate action is taken to deal with the looming sequester, our economy could suffer yet another self-inflicted wound. The consequences of sequestration are real. If these cuts go into effect, 70,000 young children would be kicked off Head Start, 10,000 teaching jobs would be put at risk, and the Small Business Administration would be forced to reduce loan guarantees to small businesses by up to $540 million.
"The American people want us to replace this harsh austerity with a balanced approach that targets waste, and combines smart spending cuts with closing loopholes and asking millionaires to contribute. Later this week, Democrats will introduce a plan to temporarily replace the sequester with the balanced approach the American people want. So far, Republicans have shown that they would rather cut Medicare, education, and cancer research than close a single tax loophole, or ask millionaires to contribute. That is not what the American people want, and I hope that in the coming weeks, my Republican colleagues will listen to the message the public is sending us: it is time to stop lurching from crisis to crisis, and start laying a solid foundation for long-term growth, prosperity, and a strong middle class."