Langevin Statement on President Trump’s 2020 State of the Union Address

“The State of the Union is a uniquely American institution, grounded in our Constitution, and I respect the President’s accepting Congress’s invitation tonight to fulfill his duty. However, tonight is also a somber occasion as the President’s actions, and the impeachment trial they sparked, cast a dark cloud over the nation and the Office of the President.

“The President made a point of highlighting our nation’s economy, which is now in the eleventh year of growth that began in 2009. He is right that we must continue to focus on improving our economy, but I am concerned that his vision of economic opportunity leaves many workers behind. The President has touted low unemployment numbers, but that does not necessarily mean that people have good-paying jobs. He trumpets his tax cuts that gave four out of five dollars in savings to the wealthiest Americans and have had a minimal impact on our economic situation.

“Many Americans also continue to be forced to make impossible decisions with respect to their health care. Exorbitant prescription drug prices and high premiums and deductibles are among the top issues I hear about when I’m back home in Rhode Island. I have been proud to support House-passed legislation to finally allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices, but that legislation has stalled in the Republican-controlled Senate. I am also appalled that the President claims to be protecting people with pre-existing conditions even as his Administration fights in court to overturn the Affordable Care Act, the very law that guarantees those protections.

“I wanted to hear plans for areas of bipartisan cooperation from the President. I supported the US-Mexico-Canada Free Trade Agreement because he agreed to work with Democrats to strengthen protections for workers and for the environment. I hope that we will be able to take similar steps on an infrastructure package, and that we can work together to include investments in career and technical education that will support our future workforce. These are areas where Republicans and Democrats can come together, and I hope the President is sincere in his pledge to work with us to finally rebuild our nation’s bridges, roads, transit systems, and telecommunications infrastructure.

“However, rather than focus on these areas of common ground, the President returned time and again to his favored terrain of divisive political issues. The President’s failed immigration policies have not brought the comprehensive reform we so desperately need. Instead, he has funneled money away from our service members and into an ineffective wall. He has doubled down on policies grounded in fear, which will not make America safer, but only serve to isolate us from our allies and partners around the world.

“Earlier today, I had the privilege of joining the midshipmen at the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis. I shared with them some of my thoughts on cybersecurity, a topic of increasing importance to the Navy, and I heard their stories of service. I was inspired. They gave me hope. And I reminded them that, for all our faults, we live in the greatest country on this earth, a point on which I agree with the President. But while he seems content to celebrate the meagre policy accomplishments he has achieved over the past three years, I remain committed to advancing legislation that will address the priorities and needs of Rhode Islanders and people across the nation.”