NBCRightNow.com - Sen. Patty Murray released these remarks after President Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday night:
"The fact that I was even in the House Chamber tonight, listening to the President deliver his message of opportunity to the nation, is direct evidence that government can and should help provide the lifeline that middle class families teetering on the brink many times need. After all, serving as a Senator was something that I couldn't imagine as a teenager many decades ago when my father fell ill and my mother was forced into the role of both breadwinner and caregiver for seven kids. But thanks to a federal worker training program, VA benefits, student loans, and even food stamps for a time, my family made it.
"Millions of families across Washington state and our nation now stand at that same crossroads. And tonight those families heard President Obama rightly focus on specific proposals aimed at helping them. Policies focused on creating jobs, addressing our nation's wage and skills gaps, growing the middle class, and investing in educational opportunities for the next generation.
"These are proposals that Americans of all political stripes have said they overwhelmingly support. So I am hopeful that Republicans will work with us to build on the bipartisan foundation we built with last year's budget deal instead of pushing our country to another absolutely unnecessary debt limit crisis.
"I am particularly glad that the President focused so much attention on education, the heart of true opportunity for this generation and the next. As a former preschool teacher, I have seen first-hand the value of early childhood education in making sure our youngest students start off on the right track and are ready to succeed. So I am very glad that President Obama doubled down on his commitment to a national preschool initiative that will not only help our youngest children and pay dividends in future economic growth, but also empower millions of women who would be able to go to work and give back to their communities. I challenge anyone to explain to me why this should be a partisan issue.
"I also strongly support President Obama's call to raise the minimum wage. The minimum wage has fallen further and further behind the rising cost of living and we owe it to our workers to make sure their hard work is properly rewarded. I expect Congress to act in the near future to give millions more workers a raise and I am hopeful that Republicans decide to work with us instead of playing politics.
"The President also talked about the clear need to reform our immigration system, support our veterans and wounded warriors, reform our bloated and unfair tax code, and invest in our nation's infrastructure priorities. The American people are expecting their elected officials to work together to tackle these issues, and many more, over the coming months and years. I am ready to keep working to build on the bipartisan budget deal, and I hope Republicans are ready to join me at the table."