Lincoln: Top Priority Must Be Strengthening Economy, Job Creation

Washington – Following tonight’s State of the Union address, U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln said that Congress must redouble efforts to strengthen the economy here at home.

“I am pleased that tonight the President expressed he shares my top priority: getting our economy back on track so businesses are creating more jobs for hardworking Americans,” Lincoln said. “I hope that he will work with Congress over the next year to stay focused on this critical goal. Since the financial markets collapsed in late 2008 and triggered an economic recession, we have worked hard to pull the country out of the ditch, but Arkansans and Americans are still struggling to find employment and recover a sense of financial security that they enjoyed before 2008.”

“I believe there are a number of outstanding measures that could provide the tools and incentives to the private sector to maintain or create new jobs and produce a favorable economic climate for Arkansans to prosper. We need to pass the highway bill and the FAA bill, legislation that would provide stability to spur investments and create jobs. I support sending the President the bipartisan, clean energy legislation that was produced by the Senate Energy Committee. This bill, coupled with energy tax incentives, would reduce our dependence on foreign oil and incentivize renewable energy, all while improving the environment and creating much-needed jobs. 

“I am committed to working with the President and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to reduce the national deficit and find responsible ways to cut government spending. This was also a goal of mine throughout the debate on health insurance reform where we identified $700 billion in waste, fraud, abuse and other inefficiencies in our health care system.

“The discretionary spending freeze advocated by the President can help us reduce the deficit, but we must ensure the burden is shared equitably across all government programs. In addition, I believe the President’s commitment to form a debt reduction commission is important to getting our nation’s fiscal house back in order. I voted for the creation of such a commission, and I hope we are able to find a way to move forward on this initiative this year.”

“I was pleased to hear the President express his commitment to reforming our nation’s financial systems. As Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, I am currently working with Ranking Member Chambliss and the Banking Committee to produce a bipartisan bill that puts the necessary safeguards in place to restore confidence in America’s financial system.  My goal is to require much-needed oversight and transparency in our financial markets so consumers and businesses across Arkansas will invest in our economy and in their future growth. We can accomplish this objective and ensure that we remain the leader in financial markets as we continue to move into the global economy.

“I share the President’s commitment to strengthening education though additional investment and reforms. Preparing our future generations for well-paying careers is critical to our nation’s security and our economic health.

“Throughout my entire career, I have worked diligently to provide tax relief for Arkansas’s hard working families and small businesses, and I was pleased to hear the President reaffirm his commitment to doing the same.

“I hope that our efforts in the next year will be truly bipartisan, because the high-pitched, partisan tone in Washington is not creating jobs, nor is it solving the health care challenges facing every American, whether it be cost or access. I believe the American people want us to come together and find common ground to solve the many challenges facing this country.

“I remain committed to fighting for Arkansas’s hardworking families, small businesses, and rural communities above all else.”