WASHINGTON, Jan. 28, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Congresswoman Nydia M. Velazquez (D-NY) released the following statement regarding the President's State of the Union Address:
"Tonight, President Obama argued forcefully for the need to create new paths of opportunity for all Americans. Ensuring that all children – regardless of their economic background – have the chance to secure a quality education, grow up in a safe community and pursue a rewarding career is an American ideal – one that our nation has neglected for too long. The President made clear that it is time to restore this priority – and he wants to work with Congress on this critical goal. However, should Congress refuse to act, he also made clear he will find other ways to move the country forward. I applaud his resolve.
"The cornerstone of this effort must be livable wages for working families. The President's announcement tonight to raise the minimum wage for firms that do business with the federal government is a good first step. Congress must act as a partner in this regard and raise the federal minimum wage for all companies, so that workers receive honest pay for an honest day's work.
"Part of this opportunity also includes access to health care. Already, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, 2.1 million Americans have been able to purchase insurance. It is my expectation these numbers will only continue to grow. Equally important, the ACA now protects millions of Americans from insurance industry abuses. No longer can you be denied coverage due to preexisting conditions. Women no longer face price discrimination based only on their gender. Millions of young people are able to stay on their parents' coverage. These reforms are benefiting New Yorkers and Americans every single day -- and we will not allow them to be rolled back.
"Of course, preserving the American dream has always meant creating opportunity for the most recently arrived Americans – those who have come here from other parts of the globe to work hard and build a new, better life. In that regard, it is vital Congress and the Administration work hand-in-hand to finally enact comprehensive reform of our nation's immigration laws. Doing so will strengthen our economy by ensuring talented, entrepreneurial individuals continue coming to our nation, creating new jobs for all Americans. It will also fix a broken and immoral system that is tearing families apart and creating a second, 'shadow' class of citizens.
"Americans and New Yorkers have seen tough times in recent years, but if history has proven anything, it is that as a nation and a City we are fundamentally resilient. By working together, we continue tackling the big challenges ahead, creating opportunity for our children and building a more perfect union. In that regard, I believe the President's optimistic tone struck the right chord. I look forward to working with him to truly make 2014 a year of action."
CONTACT: Alex Haurek
SOURCE Representative Nydia M. Velazquez