Congressman Bobby Rush

Representing the 1st District of Illinois

Rush Comments on the State of the Union Published in Congressional Black Caucus Magazine

Feb 7, 2012
Press Release

CONTACT: Renee Ferguson
(773) 224-6500 ofc.; (202) 674-0891 mobile

WASHINGTON – Congressman Bobby L. Rush’s recent essay on President Obama’s State of the Union Address was prominently featured in the February 6th issue of the Congressional Black Caucus’ "This Week in Congress" Magazine.  In the article Rush questions whether the Republican controlled House of Representatives is willing to meet its responsibilities.  The following is the text of Rush’s essay:

This week, in the state of the Union Address, President Obama fulfills his constitutional duty to recommend for Congressional Consideration "such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient."  It is a profoundly important speech that comes at a time when the nation, under Obama’s leadership, is making a noticeable comeback from the great recession that he inherited from former President Bush.  It is an opportunity to advise us of the new, fiscally responsible direction that our nation must take to secure economic stability which is essential in delivering true freedom and equality for all.  It is an opportunity to remind us that we cannot afford to be seduced by the empty promises of trickle-down economics that contributed to thirty years of widening wealth and income inequality.

It is a profoundly important speech.

But the true measure of how our Union is faring has less to do with words and more to do with what is actually happening in the lives of The American People.  The personal well being of our citizens depends on their abilities to work in meaningful and productive jobs; to educate their children; to dream with confidence that they live in a society where opportunity abounds and aspiration are not crippled by social status or the lack of inherited wealth.

We are doing better.  For the past 22 months, the American private sector has created jobs.  But Congress must do its part.  Congress must enact legislation that creates jobs and workforce training opportunities for new, part-time and returning workers to enter the labor markets as full time employees.  The American Jobs Act will put more people back to work and more money in the pockets of working Americans and it won’t add a dime to the deficit.

Every day people in this country are working hard to meet their responsibilities.  The question is whether the Republicans in Congress will meet theirs.  Congress must put country ahead of politics and pass the American Jobs Act.  President Obama is rebuilding the American economy based on balance, fairness and the rules of hard work and fair play that have made our nation great.  Living within our means does not mean selling our future short by cutting education or taking away the safety net from our senior citizens.

The American Jobs Act is part of the pathway back to work for the long term unemployed.  We cannot afford for them to lose hope.  We need their skills, creativity and determination.  We need the energy and fearlessness of young entrepreneurs.  The American Jobs Act will put teachers and first responders and returning veterans to work repairing crumbling bridges, roads and infrastructure.

The income and wealth disparity that currently exists in our nation is a threat to the middle class, a threat to our basic principles, a threat to who the framers of our constitution said we must be.  Words are powerful, whether from the President in his State of the Union Address or from the writers of the U.S. Constitution.  But that power only exists as a function of what “We the People” and “We the representatives of the People” are willing to do to put those words into action.