President Barack Obama will deliver his first State of the Union address tonight. Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson says there are many topics he hopes the President will cover. He says President Obama inherited a wide range of problems.
“It has been an interesting year to say the least. We all recall when he came into office; we were all talking about the “D” word… depression. Thanks to aggressive actions such as the stimulus bill, we are now talking about coming out of a recession and the number of jobs lost each month is shrinking. We are not where we want to be but it appears the trend is there.”
Senator Nelson says unemployment is also an issue that needs to be addressed.
“I would welcome a sharp focus on how to get people back to work and redo unemployment. Job creation is the key to getting the economy back on track and the key to helping families in Nebraska as well as nationwide. I would also expect to hear something about health care reform. Nebraskans with health care insurance face unsustainable increases in their premiums while 220-thousand Nebraskans have no health insurance at all. I still support health reform that addresses those problems.”
While the issue of health care reform has quieted for the time being, Senator Nelson expects President Obama will give them some direction as to what his plans are.
“Currently there is uncertainty about how to move forward health care reform. I hope the President would clarify where he stands on the path ahead. I have been asked if I would support using the process known as reconciliation now. I want to make it clear. If I support a bill, I will vote for it regardless if it takes 50 votes to pass or 60 votes to pass. My position doesn’t change just because the House or Senate decides to change the process.”
Senator Nelson says government spending is always a hot button.
“News reports indicate the President will call for a three year, non-securities spending freeze. Although I haven’t seen the fine print of this proposal it sounds like a step in the right direction in holding down government spending and reducing the deficit. At least it is a very good start.”
Senator Nelson is a member of the Appropriations Committee and he is ready to make difficult choices as to what needs to be funded now and the outdated programs that need to be cut.
Senator Nelson is also looking forward to how President Obama will handle the “middle-class squeeze”, the day to day problems those in the middle class face.