Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) issued the following statement tonight after President Obama delivered his State of the Union address:
“Everywhere I travel across New York the issue that middle class families are still most worried about is the economy. They are finding it harder and harder to get by and they want action from Congress. The time to act is now. This evening President Obama presented a compelling plan of how to achieve real opportunity for all hard working Americans. There is no doubt, the state of our union will grow stronger when every middle class American has a fair shot to earn their way ahead in our economy, and the next generation is equipped with the skills they need to reach their full economic potential.
“President Obama has always been a strong champion for America’s women, and I commend his support of common sense solutions like creating paid family and medical leave, increasing the minimum wage, equal pay for equal work and universal pre-k. With more dual income and female headed single income households than ever before, the strength of our economy relies on keeping every woman who wants to work in the workplace and earning a paycheck – and never having to choose between her job and her family. That’s what I am fighting my hardest for with new legislation that would create a self-funded paid family and medical leave insurance program – an earned benefit for every worker in America – that does not add one dime to the federal deficit.
“A growing economy and secure middle class also relies on making sure that hard work is rewarded with wages that can actually support a family. I am pleased the President is taking real action to raise the minimum wage for federal contractor workers to the level I am fighting for. But Congress must do its part this year, and raise the minimum wage for the 28 million Americans who have earned it.
“I hope that with President Obama, and with Democrats and Republicans working together in Congress, we can bring America’s outdated workplace polices into the 21st century, and give middle class workers the security they deserve. Because only when every woman and family gets the opportunity they deserve to achieve their potential, can America achieve hers.”