Congressmen Cory Gardner (CO-04) and Tim Griffin (AR-02) issued the following statements after sending a letter to President Obama requesting that he be forthcoming in this State of the Union (SOTU) regarding our national debt, Medicare and Social Security:
"This President has claimed to be one of the most transparent in history, yet his healthcare overhaul was passed behind closed doors and ended up cutting $500 billion from Medicare," Gardner said. "The American people deserve better than that. The State of the Union is President Obama's chance to come clean and lay out an honest plan for protecting Medicare and Social Security, which is something he failed to do during his first term."
"The entire purpose of the State of the Union Address is for the President to outline where we stand as a nation," Griffin said. "So instead of more talk about salmon and high-speed rails, more criticism of the Supreme Court or more praise for the Soviet's Sputnik mission -- President Obama should use his State of the Union Address to tell the American people the truth about the fundamental financial challenges our country faces."
In their letter, Gardner and Griffin ask President Obama to mention specifics when it comes to the state of our national debt, and the future for Medicare and Social Security. Here is an excerpt:
We believe it is the responsibility of every president to be open and honest with the American people about our nation's financial situation (including the national debt and the future of Medicare and Social Security) -- in the best of times and in the worst of times. As such, we respectfully request that during your forthcoming State of the Union address you set the precedent of incorporating specific information regarding the nation's financial situation in the annual address. We request that you deliver this information in simple and straightforward terms that set an example for your successors.
Specifically, we request that during your forthcoming State of the Union address, you clearly state the following data:
Regarding our national debt: (1) The national debt as of the day before the State of the Union address; (2) The change in national debt since the date of the previous year's State of the Union address; and (3) The per person share of the national debt (calculated by dividing the national debt by the U.S. population per the most recent Census data);
Regarding Medicare: (1) When the Medicare Trustees, according to their most recent annual report, expect the Medicare Trust Fund to be exhausted; and,
Regarding Social Security: (1) When the Social Security Trustees, according to their most recent annual report, expect the Social Security Trust Fund to be exhausted.
Congressman Gardner is a member in the U.S. House of Representatives serving Colorado's 4th Congressional District. He sits on the Energy and Commerce Committee and is a member of the following Subcommittees: Communications and Technology, Energy and Power, and Oversight and Investigations.