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Press Release: NETWORK Responds to the State of the Union Address

FOR RELEASE: February 13, 2013
CONTACT: Stephanie Niedringhaus, 202-347-9797 x224,

NETWORK welcomed the optimistic, forward-focused themes of President Obama’s State of the Union address last evening. There is much in need of attention in our nation today, and the president’s words focused on concrete ways to approach many of our problems, including immigration injustice, gun violence, wealth/income inequality and climate change.

We affirm the president’s call for commonsense economic reform that does not harm those already struggling. As he stated, “we can’t ask senior citizens and working families to shoulder the entire burden of deficit reduction while asking nothing more from the wealthiest and most powerful.” Clearly, we need a balanced approach that combines responsible cuts with more revenue. We at NETWORK are deeply concerned that there continues to be the threat of cuts in key social programs, including food assistance and other supports for low-income people – especially since domestic programs were dramatically cut while military programs not requested by the Pentagon continue to be funded.

Since our founding, NETWORK has called for raising the minimum wage. As a result, we were especially pleased to hear the president state, “let’s declare that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty, and raise the federal minimum wage…” His call for a raise to $9.00 an hour does not fully address the need, but it is a step in the right direction. Everyone deserves to earn a living wage, one of the most effective ways to address the moral scandal of the huge wealth and income disparities in our nation today.

We will continue to lobby for justice for people struggling at the economic margins. We regret that the president did not speak more about poverty in our nation, which remains one of the most critical issues of our day. At the same time, we are pleased that he made special mention of people around the world who must live on less than one dollar a day. We support his call to “join with our allies to eradicate such extreme poverty in the next two decades.”

We further applaud the president’s strong call for commonsense immigra