The state of our Union is strong!
As a U.S. senator, I was privileged to attend many State of the Union addresses, delivered by Republican and Democratic presidents.
Members of both parties could not help to be inspired by Ronald Reagan’s soaring rhetoric, or by Bill Clinton’s engaging personality. And while the nation and the Congress were divided politically and philosophically— then as they are now — there was a sense in Congress that the people’s business required us to look past our differences to work together for the good of the nation.
We need to get that spirit back today.
President Trump’s third State of the Union address is a good start and it should serve as a place to begin. Yes, the president missed an opportunity to accept a handshake from U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and she didn’t do herself proud tearing up his speech.
But those unfortunate gestures of the raw and divisive nature of the political atmosphere today shouldn’t overshadow the fact that the State of our Union is still stronger than our differences.
The president made an especially strong case that his policies have helped lift the economic fortunes of the entire nation:
His tax reductions and regulatory reform have worked.
- Unemployment is at an historic low.
- More women are in the workforce than ever before.
- Minority workers have made especially significant economic gains.
As the president said, there has been a "blue collar boom."
I was particularly pleased to see the president single out and recognize examples of Americans exemplifying the American dream: A 100-year-old Tuskegee airman and his grandson who aspires to be an astronaut. A man who when given a second chance has beaten addiction and is making a new life for himself. A single mother who wants her child to have a better chance at a good education in a charter school, and who gets that chance. A young military family who longs to be reunited with a husband and father, and who see that wish come true.
There’s lots of other good news with regard to the state of the nation:
America is now energy independent, with thousands of good paying jobs in oil and gas production. Instead of importing oil from the unstable Mideast, we’re producing it here at home — even exporting it abroad.
This helps both our national security and our balance of trade.
And speaking of trade, the U.S. under President Trump has finally taken on unfair trade practices in China and in our own hemisphere. The new U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement means new jobs for American workers.
This impending China trade deal will help correct years of trade imbalances hobbling U.S. companies and cost American jobs. Both trade deals will help boost U.S. agricultural exports, which is great news for our farmers.
Thanks to the Trump administration’s leadership, manufacturing is resurging across the nation. Consumer confidence is high, interest rates are low, and economic opportunities abound.
On the international front, President Trump has rightly pushed our European allies to shoulder a fairer share of NATO’s defense of Europe and to trade more fairly with the U.S.
Trump has stepped up pressure on Iran’s ayatollahs to abandon their nuclear weapons ambitions as well as their terrorist aggression.
And here in our own hemisphere the president has stood firmly with the forces of freedom resisting the failed socialist dictatorship in Venezuela. One of the great moments of his address to Congress was his introduction of Juan Guaidó, the brave leader of Venezuela’s opposition and the legitimate President of that beleaguered country.
So, America is prosperous and at peace. We’re leading the world with a strong economy.
We’re defending the world with a mighty military and a determined diplomacy.
But, there’s still much to do, and that’s where facing the future together comes in.
As Mr. Trump pointed out, even in these politically divided times there are areas where Washington’s leaders should be able to reach for compromise and success:
- America badly needs to rebuild its crumbling infrastructure. Many of our roads, bridges, and airports are in desperate need of repair. Congressional leaders and the president have signaled that infrastructure funding is a national priority. This is an area where compromise is possible.
- Everyone agrees that Americans pay too much for pharmaceuticals. Both the White House and Congress repeatedly say they want to lower drug costs. It’s time they acted to do so.
Even in an election year political animus should be put aside to get these things done.
This column was originally published in the Long Island Herald Community Newspapers.
Former Senator D’Amato served a distinguished 18-year career in the U.S. Senate, where he chaired the Senate Banking Committee and was a member of the Senate Appropriations and Finance Committees. While in the Senate, Mr. D’Amato also Chaired of the U.S. Commission on Cooperation and Security in Europe (CSCE), and served on the Senate Intelligence Committee. The former Senator is considered an expert in the legislative and political process, who maintains close relationships with Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. He is regularly called upon for his advice and counsel, and is recognized for his incisive analysis of national and international political affairs. The former Senator will share insights gained from his years in Washington “with a clear-eyed view of the political forces that shape the world we live in today.” To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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