Rep. Curbelo's Response to the State of the Union

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Washington, January 13, 2016 | comments

Washington, D.C.—Last night, President Obama addressed the Nation during his last State of the Union Address. Rep. Curbelo (FL-26) released the following statement: 

“After hearing President Obama’s final State of the Union Address, it is abundantly clear that our leaders must search for common ground now more than ever. To elicit positive change in our communities, both parties must work together to craft solutions. We have already seen willingness to come together and pass laws that will address such issues as revitalizing our nation’s transportation & infrastructure networks and reforming our education policy to strengthen America's schools. I’ve made both of these issues high priorities during my first year in Congress, and we’ve made real changes to benefit South Florida. The need to mitigate the effects of climate change, a matter of vast concern to the families of our state and coastal communities across the country, is another urgent problem that I will continue to find common ground with the President and Congress. I appreciate the President's emphasis on this issue.

On foreign policy, regrettably the President fell way short and described a world far different than the one most Americans are observing. Under this Administration radical terrorist groups like ISIL have grown and become highly disruptive to the world order. The conflict in Syria continues to rage with over 300,000 people dead and millions displaced. There was no mention of Iran's ballistic missile tests and of the emerging situation where Iran has apparently detained American military assets and personnel. What about North Korea's possible testing of a hydrogen bomb? Here in our hemisphere the President continues to advocate for a reckless policy of unilateral concessions for the Cuban dictatorship, asking for nothing in return for the American people - not even the "hellfire missile" that mysteriously ended up in the hands of Cuba's dictators. No mention of the continuing instability in Venezuela and of the Maduro regime's abusive conduct. These are serious threats and challenges for our safety and security, and the President was not serious in the way he addressed them.

I’d like to thank Mrs. Tara M. Parks for being my guest for tonight’s address and for reminding Americans of the need to reduce violent crime across the country. I support assigning additional FBI agents to process background checks and requiring those in the business of selling guns to obtain a license. In Congress, we must advance legislation focused on keeping firearms out of the hands of those who might suffer from mental health disorders. I am pleased President Obama also discussed the urgent need to address criminal justice reform. Our country has a tangled system of laws, intended not to rehabilitate offenders but to keep them trapped in a web of poverty. Criminal justice reform, coupled with an economic environment where those seeking work can get it, will put us on track to strengthen families and keep neighborhoods safe.

Lastly, I agree with the President's call for a healthier politics in our country. The American people have had enough of the nasty partisanship and vitriol that has characterized our politics over the last decade. We must seek common ground while honoring our principles. Here in Congress, we must show respect to those we represent by respecting one another." 

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