In his first State of the Union address, Congress heard President Obama lay out his plan for keeping America on a path to a more secure, stable and prosperous future. His address set the stage for how he will work with both chambers to tackle the problems that plague our country.
The president made it clear last night that "jobs must be our number one focus in 2010." No issue is more important to the American people right now than creating more employment opportunities. Senate Democrats are committed to putting together legislation that creates and saves jobs, stabilizing the future for millions of Americans. We also stand firm with the president on other important priorities such as reining in runaway spending, strengthening and stabilizing the economy and reforming Wall Street. Of the many issues that Senate Democrats are committed to addressing this year, passing comprehensive health care reform remains an important goal. The Congressional Budget Office’s annual budget and economic forecast released this week highlights the impact that rising health care costs have on our economy — projecting that Medicare and Medicaid will respectively grow an average of 7 and 6 percent per year. As noted by the Center for American Progress, "this growth would exceed economic growth, inflation and growth of the federal budget." These alarming realities cannot change without passing concrete reform measures through Congress. Senate Democrats will continue to work with the House and the president to confront these dynamics. While we understand that achieving these goals won’t be easy, the American people didn’t send their representatives to Washington avoid the tough challenges. We have made progress, but we know that much work lies ahead.