Tomorrow night, President Obama will lay out a clear vision for the year ahead: a vision to boost our economic recovery by investing in infrastructure, strengthening our education system, honoring our commitments to America's seniors, and finding balanced solutions to our budgetary challenges.
We'll also hear from Sen. Marco Rubio, who will deliver the Republican Party's State of the Union response. Even though the American people overwhelmingly rejected the Republican platform this past fall, it's a safe bet that Rubio will offer State of the Union viewers more of the same failed ideas that wrecked our economy: a plan that would dismantle the social safety net to pay for tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. After all, Sen. Rubio voted for the Ryan budget that would end Medicare as we know it and jeopardize the benefits, quality of care, and coverage for the more than 60 million Americans who rely on Medicaid.
"The Republican Party clearly hasn't learned anything from last November's election," says our chair, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a member of the House Budget Committee. "The American people rejected the Romney-Ryan ticket because they offered nothing to middle-class families."
Sen. Rubio is also likely to address sequestration, a series of deep, indiscriminate spending cuts across critical federal programs. But he probably won't mention this: Even though Republicans brought on the sequester after holding our economy hostage over the debt ceiling in 2011, and even though they've agreed that allowing these cuts would damage our economy, Republicans are unwilling to reach across the aisle and work to prevent it. President Obama and House Democrats have offered a balanced plan to save American jobs and replace the sequester for a year, but Republicans refuse to reach a deal that would ask the wealthy to pay a little more to get our fiscal house in order. Instead, they're pushing a partisan plan that we know will not create jobs or reduce the deficit.
"We cannot solve our budget problems solely on the backs of the middle class by slashing spending on health and retirement security, social safety net programs, important federal services, and critical investments," says Rep. Van Hollen. "There is no reason why thousands of Americans should lose their job because of petty partisanship here in Washington. It's time for Sen. Rubio and Republicans to step up and work with President Obama and congressional Democrats to avoid the sequester and find real solutions to our long-term budget challenges."
What we need are new ideas, new solutions, and a balanced approach to strengthening our economy and getting our fiscal house in order—but you won't hear that from Sen. Rubio and the Republicans tomorrow night.