February 28, 2017

Wyden Statement on President’s Address to Joint Session of Congress

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., issued the following statement on the president’s first address to a joint session of Congress:

“At town halls all across Oregon last week, I heard from thousands of people who are hungry for real solutions. They believe in the Oregon Way, where it doesn’t matter what your party is, it matters that you have good ideas, and the willingness to fight for them. Unfortunately, the president has not kept the promises he made to millions of middle-class Americans. Instead of leveling the playing field for families, he’s rigging the rules of our economy to bloat the wallets of big business executives.  Instead of draining the swamp, he’s filled the administration with Wall Street insiders who have made a fortune on the backs of the vulnerable. And while Trump is making decisions that help only the wealthy, there are communities across the country that are still waiting for the recovery from the Great Recession to show up. Rest assured I will continue to fight for these communities, and for hard working Americans everywhere, so that everyone in this country has the opportunity to get ahead in life.

“Tonight the president continued to use ‘health care happy-talk’ despite the fact that congressional Republicans are dangerously close to taking America back to the days when health care was only for the healthy and wealthy. Having ‘access’ to health insurance won’t mean much if families can’t afford it. Health care ‘freedom’ doesn’t mean losing coverage or barring women from seeing a doctor they trust. After years of talk, all that’s on offer is a plan where health care will cost more and Americans will get less.

“The president then hid behind hyperbole and rhetoric to distract from the fact that his tax plan will raise taxes on working families and cut benefits that the middle class depends on all so the wealthy can pay a lower rate. Once again he committed to handing out special breaks for special interests when he should be cleaning out the rot at the heart of our tax system.  If you wanted a guide to putting the well-to-do before the needs of the middle class, the Trump tax plan is what you’d come up with.

If Trump is ready to take up comprehensive immigration reform, there is a bipartisan immigration proposal that’s a good place to start. He needs to walk back the damaging statements and halt indiscriminate deportations of families. Mass deportations of people who have committed no crimes do not make us safer. Spending billions enriching defense contractors, when half the federal budget already goes to the military does not make us safer. Americans want our president to focus on real threats, and need real proposals to help working families get ahead. Instead, these knee-jerk schemes will leave our country poorer, and Americans worse off.”