WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01) released the following statement regarding tonight’s State of the Union address:
“Tonight, President Obama unveiled a bold agenda to create and expand opportunity for all Americans. In his speech, he touched on the pervasiveness of income inequality caused by stagnant minimum wages, shrinking access to education, and limited opportunities for upward mobility.
“The top 1 percent of American households earn above $394,000 each year, while the top 50 percent only earn $35,000 each year. And those living in extreme poverty earn even less.
“In my congressional district alone, one in four people live in poverty, including 73,000 children. We have the highest unemployment rate of all congressional districts in North Carolina, yet last year Governor Pat McCrory and the General Assembly caused the state’s long term unemployed to go without federal emergency unemployment insurance.
“So I applaud the President for reiterating his desire to work with Congress to raise the federal minimum wage and immediately boost 4.6 million Americans out of poverty. I am pleased the President will also, through Executive Order, raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour for people working under new federal contracts. But it cannot stop there. Swift and decisive action needs to be taken on other poverty-reduction measures such as passing an extension to unemployment insurance, reforming the tax code, and investing in job creation and training programs.
“I am hopeful that the President’s speech marks the beginning of a long and sustained effort to address Americans everyday challenges. I look forward to working with my colleagues to move the President’s agenda forward and create opportunity for all.”