WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass), top Democrat on the Natural Resources Committee, a senior Democratic Member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and the dean of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation, responded this evening to President Obama’s State of the Union speech:

“An economy built to last is an economy that puts the middle class first. Tonight, President Obama outlined a vision for an economy built on middle class values – of hard work, of opportunity, and of fairness. Despite the challenges facing our nation, President Obama offered the hope that together we can restore hope to millions of American workers, repower our economy with clean energy, and ensure that billionaires and big oil pay their fair share.

“We can’t have a vibrant economy without a vibrant middle class, and our workers are America’s most valuable assets. But our economy doesn’t work if Americans aren’t working and earning a fair wage. I commend the President’s call for call for manufacturing tax credits that will take Americans out of the unemployment line and put them on the assembly line in high technology manufacturing and making next generation fuel efficient vehicles. It’s time to get America back to making things again.
“Congressional Republicans are suffering from Solyndra syndrome, a malady which leads them to throw the entire solar, wind and other renewables industries into quarantine because of a single company’s failure.  In contrast, President Obama knows our public lands, military and American companies and workers will only further heat up the feverish development of clean energy technologies here in America.  Energy efficiency and renewable energy are key to a stable energy future. I will work as Ranking Member of the Natural Resources Committee to support the President’s call for the establishment of solar and wind energy zones on public lands that can bring the promise of clean energy to millions of American homes.  I also welcome the President’s proposal for a trade enforcement unit will help ensure that American clean energy technologies succeed against emerging global competitors such as China.

“It vital to keep American-made natural gas here in America, and not expose it to an expanding foreign market that will increase prices for American families and businesses. I look forward to working with the administration to ensure safe development of our natural gas supplies and that natural gas drilling practices on public lands protect our environment and public health.

“I am also pleased the President emphasized the importance of bringing broadband service to all Americans. Broadband is essential infrastructure for the 21st century that will prepare our workers to compete in the global marketplace, save money on energy bills, and create good, family-wage jobs. And the President’s call for investment in research and development means the businesses that build the technologies of tomorrow will create jobs here in America today.

“I applaud the President’s call to cut a half a trillion dollars in the defense budget.  America’s bloated nuclear weapons budget is the first place the administration should look to make these cuts. I will soon introduce legislation to cut $100 billion in unneeded Cold War-era nuclear weapons, saving money while strengthening our national and long-term economic security.

“It is up to us in Congress to give the President the opportunities to make good on the promise of an American Dream of good wages, opportunity for all, and a better life for future generations. I applaud the President’s plan to get America working again for people who work for a living. It’s time we started expanding opportunity and stopped shrinking the middle class.”