Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn) issued the following statement today on last night's State of the Union address by President Barack Obama, the 22nd she has attended as a Member of Congress.
"There was much to inspire New Yorkers in President Obama's State of the Union Address last night, from his rousing call to "get it done' on the issue of comprehensive immigration reform, to his simple refrain that the victims of gun violence "deserve a vote' on gun control measures.
"The President's call to help the Middle Class regain its footing was spot on. The tone of the speech was pitch-perfect, and its clarion call to action was just what we need.
"From my seat on the House floor, I could almost hear the response from my home district when the President called for comprehensive immigration reform. In Queens, for instance -- where some 138 different languages spoken -- families were cheering, and dreamers were weeping for joy. I know that in my hometown, where the Statue of Liberty is a vibrant symbol of America, the President's call meant a lot.
"I'm also very proud of the President's determination, in the face of daunting political odds, to get something done to stem the epidemic of gun violence that remains pervasive in America. I was particularly gratified that he made reference to bipartisan efforts currently under way in Congress, such as the bills I have introduced to curbing gun trafficking and straw purchases, which is the first gun violence legislation in the House to enjoy bipartisan support.
"The President showed vision and foresight in once again urging Congress to take action on our environment and in drawing the link between global climate change and the "increasingly frequent and intense' natural disasters experienced in cataclysms like Superstorm Sandy. I was also deeply moved when the President paid tribute to Menchu Sanchez, a remarkably courageous nurse in the neonatal intensive care unit at NYU Langone Medical Center in my congressional district (see photograph of Congresswoman Maloney and Ms. Sanchez, attached), who spearheaded the rescue and evacuation of newborn infants whose very lives were threatened when that hospital lost all electrical power during Superstorm Sandy.
"I applaud President Obama's "Fix It First' program calling for $50 billion to fix decaying infrastructure. According to the Federal Highway Administration, New York State currently has 256 structurally deficient bridges and 1,090 bridges that are functionally obsolete, and this federal funding would help ensure that New York truly remains the Empire State.
"All together, it was a great speech, one that expressed a resolute determination to complete the unfinished work of our nation's recovery. It may be a big lift to get it all done -- but with some bi-partisan support, we can get this done."