West Virginia lawmakers respond to President’s State of the Union Address

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. David B. McKinley and Sen. Jay Rockefeller agree that bipartisan cooperation is critical to moving America forward, but they agreed on little else following President Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday.

McKinley, R-Wheeling, expressed concern about unemployment rates and overreach by federal regulators.

“Families throughout the First District and across America are still hurting,” McKinley said. “The 23 million Americans who are unemployed or underemployed are looking for a glimmer of hope, and the jury is out whether President’s remarks tonight will give them that hope. …

“The President’s focus on climate change is just code to justify his war on coal and other fossil fuels,” McKinley continued. “While I agree that climate change is taking place, the question is what causes it. Is it man-made or natural? Despite the inconclusive science, the President made it clear he will take action that would cause considerable damage to our already weak economy.

“What would bring about a stronger economy, increase growth, and create jobs, is a plan that reduces our deficit, reforms the tax code and eliminates red tape. America’s economy won’t get back to health by returning to the same policies that haven’t worked over the last four years.”

McKinley noted he plans to hold public meetings in his 1st Congressional District in the coming weeks to discuss the president’s plans.

Rockefeller, however, was pleased with the president’s message.

“Tonight, it’s been encouraging to see that our national agenda touches on so many of the issues I hear about from West Virginians every day and priorities I have long fought for. Our focus must remain on creating jobs, building up our middle class and supporting families who struggle,” Rockefeller said.

“There are so many proven ways to accomplish this – many of which were mentioned tonight. We need to boost our work force by investing in education so students can afford to get a degree or the best training for the jobs of today and tomorrow. We need to invest in manufacturing to help local businesses grow and hire more workers. And we need to invest in infrastructure to make sure our country and state have the transportation and technology to compete globally.

Rockefeller also was pleased at the prospect of bringing more troops home from Afghanistan.