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What they're saying

• Updated Feb 7, 2019 at 9:22 AM

Here are statements for federal lawmakers and other officials following President Trump’s State of the Union speech Tuesday night.


U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio):

“On the border, I thought the president did a good job of talking about the problems at the border, what I would consider a crisis at the border, because of the immigration issue but also because of the drug issue. We are getting hit hard in Ohio and other states by the crystal meth, heroin, and cocaine coming across our southern border and also the trafficking that he talked about. In terms of the solution, I think the president’s plan is better than he described. In other words, I think it does what many Democrats are asking for, which is it relies on the experts along the border to an evidenced-based approach, to say what kind of structures are going to be where. It’s 234 miles that he’s proposing in addition to what’s already been built from other administrations and other Congresses have voted for this, Democrats and Republican alike.

“The 234 miles is in a 2,000-mile border and it’s going to be in places where the experts have said it’s needed based on the top 10 priorities of a plan that border patrol put out. If he had explained it that way, I think maybe he would have gotten few more Democrats nodding their heads, saying, ‘that makes sense,’ because that’s at least what most of them are talking about, which is not having politicians in Washington make these decisions, but allowing experts on the border to do so. I think everybody agrees that we need more technology, more screening at ports of entry, we need to help in terms of the humanitarian crisis on the border. My hope is we can come up with something in the next nine or 10 days here to avoid a government shutdown and actually improve conditions at the border.”


U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio):

“President Trump talked a lot about how well the economy is doing. But I don’t measure the economy by the stock market. I measure it by people’s paychecks, the cost of healthcare, housing and education. And the reality is that for far too many people in this country, hard work isn’t paying off like it should. President Trump doesn’t understand that, and he’s used the White House to enrich people like himself.

“Hard work should pay off for everyone, no matter who you are or what kind of work you do. We should be working together to raise wages and benefits, give people more power in their workplaces, fix our broken tax system and address the high cost of housing, healthcare and education.”


U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Urbana):

“Tonight we renew our resolve that America will never be a Socialist country. Thank you for delivering the great State of the Union, Mr. President.

“Simply put, walls work, and walls save lives. So let’s work together, compromise, and reach a deal that will truly make America safe.”

“Our border is in crisis. Democrats must join us to secure the border.

“Let us reaffirm a fundamental truth. All children — born and unborn — are made in the holy image of God.

“All life is sacred and needs our protection. Thank you President Trump for standing for innocent life.”


U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-Lakeville)

“Tonight, the President offered an optimistic vision of how we can work together to tackle important issues in a bipartisan manner--if all parties can agree to come to the table. Over the past two years, we have seen incredible job growth and a strong economy fueled by tax cuts for all Americans and regulatory relief for the private sector. Having worked with the previous Republican Congress to achieve this, the President is right in calling on Democratic leaders to end their impulsive resistance to working with Republicans. Whether it is lowering healthcare costs, strengthening American infrastructure, or even securing our borders, there is opportunity to work together if Democrats are willing.”


U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo):

“Time and again, President Trump has told working families in my part of the country that he’ll stand up for them and put their interests first, yet whether it’s on trade, infrastructure, tackling the opioid crisis, prescription drug costs, or effective border security, President Trump has not only failed to deliver on their behalf, he has pushed policies that have actively hurt them,” said Rep. Kaptur. “Tonight we heard more of the same. Ohioans deserve better.”

“Furthermore, President Trump’s infatuation with an expensive and ineffective border wall is a disservice to hardworking Americans across the country. As a nation, our focus should be on improving the lives of low-income and middle class Americans, bringing good jobs back to our communities, and implementing trade practices that effectively raise wages, improve working standards, and create opportunity. The border wall is an unfortunate distraction from that mission.”


U.S. Rep. Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green):

“In his State of the Union speech, the President highlighted not only the great gains we’ve seen over the past two years, but also the approach needed to move our country forward with our new divided government. In it, he described the booming economy which has resulted from pro-growth policies enacted over the last two years. Policies that have led to the lowest unemployment rate in fifty years, the fastest growing wages in more than a decade, and a manufacturing sector on the rise. He spoke of the investment we’ve made in our military after years of drawdowns and energy policies that have resulted in an American energy revolution that has the U.S. as the number one producer of oil and gas in the world. In the last Congress, we passed comprehensive legislation to address the opioid crisis, a bipartisan Farm Bill, and historic VA reforms.

“As the President said, we now have an opportunity in this Congress to ‘bridge old divisions, heal old wounds, build new coalitions, forge new solutions, and unlock the extraordinary promise of America’s future.’ I join the President’s call to my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to find areas of agreement where can get things done for the country. With a government shutdown once again on the horizon, it’s time for Democratic leadership to come to table and negotiate a funding bill that finally secures our nation’s borders.

“At the same time, there are areas where we shouldn’t compromise our values. On the issue of life, we must stand up for the most innocent in our society, and I applaud the President’s call to pass a bill that will ban late-term abortions. In light of recent state legislative efforts across our country, this legislation is needed more than ever. I also commend the President for his statement that we never ignore the ‘vile poison of anti-Semitism.’ I completely agree that we must confront this hatred everywhere, and that bigotry has no place in our society.

“Tonight’s State of the Union told us about where we’ve been and where we’re going. The President spoke about the progress we made and the obstacles still to overcome. I firmly believe that the nation’s best days are ahead of us.”


U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue:

“President Trump provided a unifying, hopeful vision for the nation tonight, highlighting Administration accomplishments and the booming economy, but also expressing optimism that even greater achievements lie ahead. The President’s policies have been beneficial to American agriculture in the short term, but also have laid the foundation for long-term prosperity. Our trade agreements with other nations are getting stronger, and the strategies the President has employed will lead to new and expanded markets for our products. This was a patriotic speech, reminding Americans of the greatness of this country, with even brighter hopes for the future.”


U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta:

“President Trump’s State of the Union address clearly showed that America’s workers are at the heart of his administration. Tonight, our nation’s leaders came together and heard a unifying message full of proposals that will continue the success that the American workforce has experienced throughout the first two years of the Trump Administration.

“For nine straight months, there have been more open jobs than job seekers; for 11 straight months, the unemployment rate has been 4.0% or lower; and each of the last 16 straight months we have tallied more than 100,000 jobs, including 304,000 jobs last month. With more than 5.3 million jobs created since November 2016, the President’s policies resulted in broad optimism across industries.

“Building on the successes of the past two years involves encouraging private sector investment into the workforce, such as the more than six million Americans benefiting from the work of the National Council for the American Worker, as well as supporting and expanding the scope of successful skills-based workforce education like apprenticeships. These investments lead to a skilled workforce that will help our nation reach the President’s goals, including rebuilding America’s infrastructure.

“In support of the President’s policies outlined tonight, the Department of Labor will continue to protect the health and safety of American workers while proposing commonsense regulation that will lead to even more family-sustaining career opportunities.”


Donna Rice Hughes, President & CEO, Enough Is Enough (EIE):

“We stand by President Trump’s call for an immediate solution for comprehensive border security and appreciate his highlighting the very real horrors of human trafficking. Protecting the vulnerable from human trafficking should be a nonpartisan issue and one that deserves active bipartisan outrage and aggressive bipartisan action by our Congress.

“According to the White House, ‘In FY 2018 alone, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) made 1,588 human trafficking arrests and identified 308 victims. Of the 1,588 arrests, 1,543 (97 percent) were for sex trafficking violations. Both Democrats and Republicans have a moral obligation to secure our border to protect children and women from human trafficking.’

“The U.S. is a gold mine for traffickers to peddle children and young women for sex as the demand for trafficking victims is high. The U.S. is a top consumer and producer of both child pornography (illegal) and obscene pornography which has become increasingly violent and degrading to women and barely-legal teens. This content doesn't satisfy the sexual appetite of the consumers. Instead, it fuels their desire to act out their fantasies on vulnerable women and children. Additionally, victims of trafficking are often further exploited by having the sex acts they are forced to perform filmed and distributed on the Internet.

“Unlike illegal drugs which are sold and consumed once, these precious innocent human beings, when trafficked into America, are forced into sexual slavery servicing up 20-40 men per day. This horror and trauma are real. Curbing the demand is essential by the aggressive enforcement of both laws as outlined in EIE's Children's Internet Safety Presidential Pledge signed by President Trump when he was a candidate.

“As President Trump stated earlier this month, ‘This is an urgent humanitarian issue.’ I agree. I hope and pray Congress will find workable solutions to curb the flood of trafficked victims across our southern border. A multi-pronged barrier solution, which includes human barriers (law enforcement), technological barriers and extended physical barriers are necessary to stop the sophisticated criminal enterprises who are determined to continue selling humans for sex in the U.S. Finally, American women and children within our own borders are also being lured and groomed into the multi-billion sex trafficking industry. This is a big business that requires all of us working together to stop.

“Now, more than ever, our nation's leaders need to check their differences at the door to defend the dignity and innocence of women and children to prevent sex trafficking.”

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