Larsen Statement on Hopes for State of the Union Address

Feb 4, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02) issued the following statement in advance of President Trump’s State of the Union address:

“I hope President Trump uses tonight’s State of the Union address as an opportunity to focus on the important issues facing Washington’s Second District, the Pacific Northwest and the nation.

“I hope the president highlights the need for quality, affordable health care and lower prescription drug costs. Instead of attacking and weakening the Affordable Care Act, under which more than 750,000 Washingtonians gained health coverage, the president must work with Congress to strengthen and improve the existing health care system, get more Americans covered and expand access to affordable care. The president can also work with House Democrats to get the Lower Drug Costs Now Act across the finish line, which would lower prescription drug costs, reduce out-of-pocket costs and close coverage gaps for Medicare beneficiaries, including nearly 630,000 Second District residents.

“America cannot have a big-league economy with little league infrastructure. I hope the president outlines a well-thought out infrastructure plan to help boost Washington state’s economic growth and put more people to work in the Pacific Northwest. House Democrats have already introduced a comprehensive infrastructure framework that invests in the nation’s roads, bridges, highways, rail and transit, airports, ports and harbors. As a senior member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I urge the president to work with the House to boost investment in making transportation safer and greener, including cleaner public transit, aviation and aerospace.

“I hope the president details a trade agenda that supports local jobs, workers and the economic stability of Washington state, where 40 percent of all jobs are tied to trade. Recent agreements have not undone the harm from the president’s reckless multi-front trade war. The U.S. needs a new economic strategy that invests in education, infrastructure, workforce development and technology to better compete worldwide, including with China.

“I hope the president addresses the need to invest in American workers. U.S. students are no longer competing with just their neighbors, but with students from around the world. The president must tell young people, including the more than 313,000 high school students and 165,000 two-year college students enrolled in Career and Technical Education programs in Washington state, that the federal government will invest in them through more skills training, high-quality K-12 education, access to science, technology, engineering and mathematics education, apprenticeship programs and affordable higher education.

“I hope the president lays out a serious proposal to combat climate change, promote environmental sustainability and protect the environment. A healthy environment is vital to Washingtonians’ way of life and the regional economy. With strong leadership, the U.S. can be at the forefront of the green economy, reducing emissions, fostering resiliency, preserving the environment and creating good-paying jobs.

“I hope the president addresses the national opioid crisis. Nearly 650 people die each year in Washington state due to opioid overdose, and nearly 20 percent of all opioid-related deaths in the state have occurred in Snohomish County. Addiction is not a moral failing, but a disease requiring medical treatment. I hope the president outlines a plan to focus funding on behavioral health workforce training, prevention, treatment, surveillance, research and support for children and family programs.

“I hope the president expresses a willingness to work with Congress to ensure America’s elections are secure, transparent and accessible to eligible voters. Congress and the president must come together to build on the lessons learned from the 2016 election and improve election security so all Americans can trust the integrity of the democratic process.

“I hope the president talks about the need for a comprehensive immigration policy that replaces deterrence with compassion, callousness with humanity and any talk of a border wall with more talk about the Statue of Liberty and the freedom she represents to people around the world. The president’s reckless immigration policy led to the unlawful detainment of American citizens from a variety of cultural backgrounds at the Blaine (WA) Points of Entry last month. The administration’s current immigration policy is unacceptable and cannot continue.

“Real opportunity exists for the president to work with Congress to make progress on an agenda For The People in 2020. House Democrats worked with House Republicans to pass more than 275 pieces of bipartisan legislation in 2019 that await passage in the Senate. I hope the president shows his support for these efforts for a more unified country.”

For video on what Larsen hopes to hear from the president’s State of the Union address, click here.