Following President Barack Obama's State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) released the following statement:
Congress needed to be challenged to get moving on everything from gun violence to fiscal reform, and the president certainly made that challenge tonight. I'm especially glad he pushed Congress to break down partisan divides and pass common sense gun violence legislation. For those of us in Connecticut, we are still living with the horror of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, but the healing process is helped knowing we have a president who is going to do everything in his power to make sure no community ever has to go through this again. There are no excuses anymore. It's time to pass legislation to keep military-style assault weapons and ammunition off our streets and out of our schools, to impose universal criminal background checks, and to make a real commitment to improving mental health services across this nation.
The president laid out a strong and thoughtful agenda for the next four years, focusing on accelerating the steady job growth that we've seen since he took office in 2009. While we've made progress, we still have a long way to go, and President Obama is right that smart investments in job training, infrastructure, education, clean energy, and R&D are how we get there--not with another round of tax breaks for big corporations and the wealthiest Americans.
I applaud the president's focus on revitalizing our country's manufacturing sector--something I've worked hard on for years. During my time in the House, I pushed the Administration hard to drastically reduce the number of government contracts awarded to overseas companies, and I'll make closing loopholes and strengthening our Buy American laws a priority in the Senate. I'll also continue to support policies that focus on investing in vocational education and cutting-edge manufacturing technologies so that the United States, and especially Connecticut, is the most attractive place for the next generation of manufacturers to set up shop.
We must continue to make bold strides in health care reform. Now that the Affordable Care Act is law, we need to ensure that it is enacted and implemented in a way that makes health care better and more affordable for families and businesses in Connecticut and across the country. Just yesterday, a new report showed that more young Americans are insured than ever before, thanks to provisions in the Affordable Care Act that allow young people to stay on their parents' health plans. We must also work hard to ensure that the state health exchanges have robust buy-in from individuals and businesses across the country to reduce costs and maximize the enormous benefits they'll provide.
I'm excited to work with President Obama in his second term and I applaud him for using his speech tonight to challenge Congress to break the bonds of the status quo and pass legislation that moves this nation forward.