Congressman Rangel issued the following statement prior to President Barack Obama's State of the Union Address:
WASHINGTON - "In his State of the Union Address tonight, I hope the President creates an atmosphere where the Republicans and Democrats are not symbolically sitting together, but in which we all recognize that there is an economic crisis we face as a nation and that we must work closely together in support of sound economic policies.
Bottom line, we must cooperate to create jobs, while we try to reduce the deficit at the same time. In order to create jobs and compete in the global economy, America has to invest in education, healthcare and infrastructure to stand firmly on the innovative grounds that made our country so great.
When Republicans talk about cutting spending by $100 billion, it would serve our nation well if they were not thinking about healthcare, Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security -- because these types of programs not only save lives but also save money.
We also cannot afford to cut spending on education. High school dropouts contribute less than those students who go on to gain professional skills that make them more competitive. Moreover it costs more to incarcerate young offenders than to provide them with a college education.
I also hope that the President reiterates his commitment to bring our troops out of Afghanistan. It is important that these young men and women who put themselves in harm's way receive all the resources they need when they come back home. Far too many return with physical and mental problems. We must do everything to support our soldiers who are fighting for our freedom, and make certain that America is not alone in making the sacrifice -- both in terms of money and lives.
Lastly, the tragic shooting in Arizona taught us again that we must tighten our gun control laws and make sure that we close the loopholes to prevent further preventable violence in our society.
Clearly, there are so many challenges we must overcome as a nation. At the end of the day, we will have a better understanding how Congress can work together in helping the President move our country forward to creating a better future for all Americans."