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Rep. John Lewis on President's Address

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"Tonight President Obama spoke to the American people. He inspired us with his vision for a better nation, and he invited us to share in his vision. He acknowledged the struggles of the common man, and he laid out a powerful agenda for the strengthening of the middle class and the continued recovery of our economy. President Obama is right. We do not need bigger government, but smarter government that uses the advantages of change to build a better future.

"Through his leadership the deficit has fallen under a trillion dollars for the first time in five years, but we cannot "cut our way to prosperity.' Congress must adopt an even-handed approach that requires everyone to pay their fair share. We must not balance our budget on the backs of the most vulnerable Americans who have already suffered enough. We must keep the promises we made to protect seniors in their golden years.

"His focus on creating jobs by investing in this country--manufacturing, infrastructure repair, alternative energy, education--and by looking toward the future to take advantage of new opportunities is good policy. A speech is not the place to lay out the details of these plans. The legislative and appropriation process are where those ideas take shape, but we saw tonight that the President does have a plan to invest in America's future. He suggested proposals based on American values that any member of Congress should be able to embrace.

"Above all, hard work should create a decent living in this country. Who can argue with that? When people see that their efforts can pay off, their hope and confidence in the future of this nation is rekindled. It helps restore the American dream.

"It is up to the Congress now to create a bipartisan coalition to fulfill some of these ideas. The President has challenged us to get to work. I believe we can come together. We must come together, lay partisanship aside, and carve out a new future for the American people. That's what they sent us here to do. I look forward to his visit to Atlanta on Thursday when we will hear more about his ideas to support early childhood education. "


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