President Barack Obama delivered his State of the Union address to Congress this evening, in which he detailed his vision and recommendations for how we can strengthen our economy and create jobs and educational opportunities for all Americans.
In the audience at the Capitol this evening was Martin West, a South Florida constituent from Davie, Fla. Martin and his wife Melinda are small business owners who also are benefiting from the reforms of the Affordable Care Act.
In response to the President's remarks, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23) issued the following statement:
"President Obama delivered an inspiring speech this evening that draws on that timeless American sense of optimism that tells us if we work hard and play by the rules, we should have the opportunity to access the full range of economic and social services that allow for a better future for ourselves and our families.
"And the President let it be known, that in the face of inaction and intransigence from this Republican-led House, he will use his pen and his phone to convene leaders and advance policies and programs that ensure better days are ahead for all Americans.
"The items that the President will take action on immediately will go a long way in giving peace of mind to millions of Americans: an innovative retirement savings program for hard-working people; new manufacturing institutes to create jobs and foster productivity; and increased fuel efficiency standards and infrastructure investments that will keep America moving and growing.
"The President also asked the Congress to step up and take action to strengthen the economy and improve people's lives. Specifically, his call for a $10.10 federal minimum wage is a call to action, and I hope the Republican House leadership will take up this mandate without delay.
"I was also inspired to hear the President call for a complete end to the discriminatory practice of unequal pay for equal work by America's women. America succeeds when its women succeed.
"Lastly, the President's remarks on health care resonated with me as a lawmaker, as a cancer survivor, and as the host of my guests this evening, Martin and Melinda West.
"Their saga with health coverage is a familiar one. During Melinda's triumphant battle against Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, their health care costs spiraled out of control and Melinda had the red-flag of a preexisting condition following her each time she tried to access health care. Now, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, the Wests are saving $3,000 a year on their premiums, and are also saving money on their deductible and out of pocket expenses.
"On the heels of the President's speech tonight, I call on my colleagues across the aisle to join Democrats in Congress and the President in helping create jobs and strengthen our economy while also working to help millions of Americans access the affordable, quality health care coverage that is the law of the land."