Responses to State of the Union Speech - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Responses to State of the Union Speech

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Today, Representative Steven Horsford (NV-4) released the following statement after President Barack Obama's State of the Union Address:

"Tonight, the President outlined a bold and optimistic vision for the future of our country. By focusing on creating jobs and growing the economy, the President made clear that his top priority is helping the middle-class and those seeking to be a part of it. This is my top priority too.

"Working families drive our economy. When we have access to family-sustaining wages with good benefits, the entire economy is strong. When our wages and job security are weak and uncertain, so is the economy. That's why we need smart and innovative investments that get people back to work and that train and educate workers to compete for the jobs of the future, right here at home.

"Our economy is rebounding, but not fast enough for many families who are still hurting from the devastating effects of the recession. It is time for Congress to work together to pass solutions that improve the economy for all of us, not just those at the top.

"Congress must avoid economic brinksmanship that would devastate millions of Americans. We will work to get our country's debt under control, but we will not do it by balancing the budget on the backs of middle-class families. Social Security and Medicare are vital insurance programs that our parents and grandparents have paid into and they need to be preserved and improved for future generations.

"Getting Nevadans back to work is my number one priority and I look forward to working with the President and my colleagues in Congress to strengthen our economy. Our economic health improves when everybody is given a fair shot and everyone plays by the same rules. If you put in hard work, you should be able to make a decent living. That is the principle that guides my decisions as your Congressman."

Nevada Senator Harry Reid issued the following statement after President Barack Obama concluded his fifth State of the Union address:

"President Obama delivered a clear vision for strengthening the middle class and creating a foundation for long-term growth. The President outlined an agenda in which fairness is not just a principle for which to strive, but a powerful engine of growth and prosperity for all Americans. Senate Democrats stand ready to work with him to make his agenda a reality, and we are already making significant progress toward fixing our broken immigration system and addressing gun violence in our society.

"As the President made clear, our economy is poised to grow this year and in the years to come. Our job in Congress is to provide a sound foundation for that growth. Unless immediate action is taken to deal with the looming sequester, our economy could suffer yet another self-inflicted wound. The consequences of sequestration are real. If these cuts go into effect, 70,000 young children would be kicked off Head Start, 10,000 teaching jobs would be put at risk, and the Small Business Administration would be forced to reduce loan guarantees to small businesses by up to $540 million.

"The American people want us to replace this harsh austerity with a balanced approach that targets waste, and combines smart spending cuts with closing loopholes and asking millionaires to contribute. Later this week, Democrats will introduce a plan to temporarily replace the sequester with the balanced approach the American people want. So far, Republicans have shown that they would rather cut Medicare, education, and cancer research than close a single tax loophole, or ask millionaires to contribute. That is not what the American people want, and I hope that in the coming weeks, my Republican colleagues will listen to the message the public is sending us: it is time to stop lurching from crisis to crisis, and start laying a solid foundation for long-term growth, prosperity, and a strong middle class."

Tonight, U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) issued the following statement regarding President Barack Obama's State of the Union address:

"As Nevada and our nation continue to struggle with high unemployment, finding common ground to move our nation forward is more critical today than ever. In order to make sure that America's best days are ahead of us we must commit to problem solving and getting something done.

"The state of Nevada is facing incredible challenges and I am certain that with the right policies in place, we can bolster economic growth and fix the uncertainty not only in in the Silver State, but across the country. There is no question that we will need to work together and compromise in order to solve the problems facing the American people.

"Tonight and in past addresses, President Obama has made promises about reducing our growing $16 trillion debt and bringing fiscal responsibility to Washington. To date, those have been empty promises. I hope this time the President is finally serious about reducing long-term spending and debt and working with members of both sides of the aisle on solutions that can pass Congress," said Senator Dean Heller.

Statement by Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta State of The Union Announcement on Afghanistan

            I welcome President Obama's announcement tonight that 34,000 American troops will be home from Afghanistan by this time next year.  This plan to continue drawing down our forces in a phased approach over the coming year was recommended by Gen. John Allen based on a thorough assessment of the ISAF campaign plan moving forward.  

            In consultations with the president and his national security team, I strongly supported Gen. Allen's recommendation and I believe the president's decision puts us on the right path to succeed in Afghanistan. 

            Going forward, I am confident that Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. will have the combat power he needs to protect our forces, to continue building up the capabilities of Afghan National Security Forces, and to achieve the goal of this campaign – to deny al Qaeda a safe haven to attack our homeland. 

            The United States, NATO and the Afghan government agreed in Lisbon in 2010, and affirmed in Chicago last year, that Afghanistan will assume full responsibility for its security by the end of 2014.  We are on track for that goal, and we will maintain a long-term commitment to Afghanistan – including through the continued training and equipping of Afghan forces and counter-terrorism operations against al Qaeda and their affiliates. 

            The American people should never forget the reason that our men and women are fighting in Afghanistan: because we were attacked on Sept. 11, 2001.  After more than a decade of great sacrifice and hard-fought progress, we are now on a path to an Afghanistan that cannot be used as a launching pad for attacks against our nation.  Our troops on the ground will continue to be in a tough fight, and they will continue to face real challenges, but our fundamental goal is now within sight.  Thanks to their continued dedication and sacrifice, I believe we will prevail. 

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