Reflecting on the State of the Union

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By Congressman Bob Goodlatte

Article II, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution requires the president to come before Congress to provide a report on the State of the Union. Just days ago, Members of Congress gathered in the House chambers to hear the president’s address. I had hoped this address would lay out a specific agenda that leads to economic growth and job creation. However, it was clear that President Obama’s fifth State of the Union address was more of the same: another politically charged speech filled with empty promises. 


In 2009, the president said that the time to take charge of our future is here.  However, his first term was characterized by a slow recovery, sluggish job creation, and record budget deficits. The economy has clearly taken the back seat. Since 2009 the national debt has increased by $5.8 trillion. In the 59 minutes the president spoke, it went up $123.5 million and the federal government spent $404 million.


The speech touched on a wide range of topics, including immigration reform. As Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, this complex issue falls under my committee’s jurisdiction. We are a nation of immigrants and our immigration system has contributed to the greatness of the United States. But we are also a nation founded upon the rule of law and we can all agree that our immigration system is in desperate need of repair. It is not working as effectively, efficiently or fairly as it should. 


In his speech, the president made this process seem quick and easy. However, immigration reform is a massive undertaking and is far too important to not examine each piece in great detail. This issue is a top priority of the Committee – we have already held a hearing on ways to improve our legal immigration system and the enforcement of existing immigration laws. But this is just the beginning. Members of Congress, including myself, have many questions that need to be answered.  That is why the Judiciary Committee intends to hold more hearings on ways to improve and reform our immigration system. As we continue to examine the issue, I urge the Administration to enforce the immigration laws already on the books.


Families in the Sixth District, just like folks from across our nation, are looking for real solutions to these problems we face. Instead of big government, we need a limited, efficient government to lead us in the right direction. To achieve this goal it will take cooperation across the aisle, across the Capitol, and down Pennsylvania Avenue. If the president is serious about creating a growing economy that creates good, middle-class jobs he must focus on making meaningful spending cuts, submit a balanced budget, remove burdensome regulations on small businesses, and implement a tax code that works for American families. Actions will speak louder than words. I remain committed to working to create a credible plan to strengthen