Murkowski Responds to the President’s State of the Union Address

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Murkowski tonight attended President Obama’s State of the Union address and shared the following reaction with Alaskans afterwards:

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Some key excerpts:


“There were aspects of his address that I was pleasantly surprised at.  I had assumed there would be more of a campaign tone and campaign pitch, but I think he took a pointed effort to make sure that he was spelling out what he hoped to see in this next year.  Somewhat aggressive proposals, some unrealistic proposals, but I think it was important he laid forth a vision.”

 America’s Debt Crisis:

“There were some missed opportunities, I’ll tell you that.  The number one issue we are dealing with as a nation is the fact we’re facing a 16 trillion dollar debt.  On Thursday the Senate will be voting to raise the debt limit to allow total spending to the tune of 16.3 trillion dollars.  The President really failed in my opinion to address how we’re going to deal with this burdensome debt and what it means to our nation and our economy and the success of us as a people.”

Jobs Initiatives:

“I support the President when he says we need to consolidate the job training programs and focus on making sure Americans have the skills.  But remember, if there are no jobs to go to, the best training programs are not going to help us.  We know full well, in Alaska we have a wonderful training facility in Fairbanks but we need to have a pipeline before we can move people into an effective training program.”

“Many Americans were hoping to hear about job creation.  It was just last week that the President chose to put the kibosh on the Keystone pipeline project – a project that could not only help with North American energy independence, but deliver potentially tens of thousands of good paying, high paying jobs to this country.  He decided to take the easy way out on that and say we weren’t ready for it, even after three years of review on that project. I think there was clearly a missed opportunity there.”

Energy Policy:

“On the energy side I was pleased the President devoted nearly a page and a half to his comments.  Last year, if you’ll recall, there was just a very small reference to energy. I was very reserved in my overt applause and actions, certainly respectful, but wasn’t up and down every minute and a half with his comments, but I did rise to my feet when he said this nation needs a comprehensive energy plan. It’s something I have supported since day one and I have believed we must do more in all aspects of energy – whether it’s conservation and renewables or our fossil fuels.

“It was interesting he left the suggestion that he is responsible, his administration is responsible for the increased production that we’re seeing in this country right now when it comes to oil and natural gas.  And in fact that is a clear result of new technologies that have come online and policies that came to being long before this President came into office that we are just now seeing the benefits of.  And it’s also activities that are happening not on federal lands, but on state and private lands where we’re seeing big boom in North Dakota. So it was interesting he appeared to be taking credit for progress in an area where he has been very hesitant to advance or to talk up or to promote.”

“He was very high on natural gas, in terms of his support.  Quite honestly, I think that’s a good thing. But I wish his agencies were equally as enthusiastic about promoting natural gas.  Right now, there are some issues in terms of fracking.  Some that are saying we need to study more, rein it in and put in more regulations. So it was interesting to hear the discussion of the energy piece from an energy state where we want to do as much as we can when it comes to increased domestic production.  Unfortunately it seems the enemy of late has been within the administration.”

Concluding Tone:

“I thought the President was very strong in his closing, in reminding us as a Congress and as a country that we need to be working together.  He spoke to the issue of trust.  And I think that that we have lost some of that trust.  We need to regain that trust member to member, house to house and with the people that we represent.  But that takes awhile to build.  You can’t just flip a switch and say ‘we all trust one another’ or ‘we’re all going to be working off the same sheet of music.’  We need to work to rebuild it.”