WASHINGTON, D.C —
West Virginia’s two U.S. Senators, Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin, and Third District Congressman Nick J. Rahall, issued the following statements regarding President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address.
“I was pleased to hear the President strike a bipartisan and cooperative tone in his speech last night. He discussed commonsense priorities and a balanced approach to getting our fiscal house in order and creating American jobs. I was, however, disappointed that he refused to mention coal when he discussed controlling our energy future. I’ve consistently pushed for an all-of-the-above energy policy and this President must do the same. Any discussion of our nation’s energy future must include coal.
“Now comes the hard part – the President and Congress striking a bipartisan tone so we can work together day in and day out. That tone will be vital as we look to solve the challenges our nation faces with long-term bipartisan solutions and not short-term gimmicks. Long-term solutions are crucial so that we aren’t back here next year listening to the same speech from the President because Congress just kicked the can down the road and failed to meet our obligation to the American people.
“We need to follow the example of West Virginia – when we had a problem, we stopped fighting and started fixing.”
"The President correctly is making jobs a national priority, and, when it comes to transportation and infrastructure investments to grow the economy and build for the future, I am with him. But, on the energy front, he is absolutely wrong in his misguided efforts to circumvent the Congress with unilateral regulatory actions that will result in job loss, especially when it comes to the EPA’s unfair and inequitable treatment of coal mining in Appalachia, which the Congress and the courts are rightly resisting. I intend to keep on doing all that I can to promote coal and keep our miners on the job producing affordable energy for the Nation."
“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.
“There are so many proven ways to accomplish this – many of which were mentioned tonight. We need to boost our workforce 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.
“I’m also encouraged that the President agrees it’s time to bring more troops home. I have long urged the President to reduce our troops in Afghanistan in a safe and responsible way, so we can focus our resources on other urgent threats, like cybersecurity.
“In West Virginia we also agree that we need to reduce our deficit, and that it is past time to ask large corporations and the wealthiest Americans to do their part to help keep our country strong.
“I’m hopeful that this year and moving forward Congress can work together more productively. The American people expect and deserve nothing less. And I am as determined as ever to fight for the people of West Virginia and the causes that matter so much here at home.”