Durbin Statement on President Obama's State of the Union Address

WASHINGTON—Assistant Senate Democratic Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) released the following statement on President Obama’s State of the Union Address:


About a decade ago, I had a conversation with my Senate colleague, a young man named Barack Obama, about running for higher office. Tonight, I was honored to hear my friend and former Senate colleague deliver his final State of the Union Address as President of the United States. 


We’ve come a long way. When President Obama took office, our economy was losing 800,000 jobs each month. Since then, we have added 14.1 million private-sector jobs. 17.6 million more people have health insurance since the Affordable Care Act took effect. We’ve cut the uninsured rate by 45 percent. We’ve come a long way, but we’ve still got work to do.


The United States still locks up more of its citizens per capita than any other nation on earth. The President shares my goal of enacting criminal justice reform this year. And we still allow enormous numbers of guns to fall into the hands of dangerous and unstable people. The President continues to do all he can to stop gun violence, but he’ll need Congress to enact a sane background check law, which 90% of Americans support. I stand with him on that.


The President remains committed to fixing our broken immigration system, which I’ve worked on for years. Comprehensive immigration reform has passed the Senate on a bipartisan basis, and this is something that can and should pass without delay.


And the President announced a new national effort to make the biggest investments in medical research in over a decade. He’ll have no greater ally in Congress than me.


But beyond this critical work to be done, the President looked ahead and urged Americans to be optimistic about our future. We love our country. Let’s work together to make it better.