Missouri delegation comments on State of the Union address

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COLUMBIA - Both Missouri senators responded to President Obama's State of the Union Address, echoing the president's call for bipartisan leadership. 

"The President outlined some commonsense ideas and opportunities for bipartisan cooperation, tonight, including tax cuts aimed at bolstering our middle class," Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) said in a Facebook post. "We've made a great deal of progress for working families in the past few years-with a growing number of folks back to work at millions of more jobs, a much smaller deficit, and plunging energy costs-but there's still more work to do. And I'm eager to roll up my sleeves with my Republican and Democratic colleagues to keep strengthening our middle class."

With President Obama in a lame-duck session, facing a Republican majority in both halls of Congress, it was anticipated he would use this opportunity to look toward the 2016 primary elections. However, instead of campaigning for his party or railing against Republicans, President Obama spent the last quarter of his speech talking about common ground between the two parties and how political adversaries can come to agreements, and said, "a better politics isn't one where Democrats abandon their agenda or Republicans simply embrace mine."

Republican Senator Roy Blunt's office released a statement before the speech, calling on the White House to "work with Congress to pass a pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda that will help middle-class workers and families."

Obama focused on his plan to grow the middle class in his address.

With the economy stronger than any point during his presidency, Obama spoke confidently regarding his proposed tax plan, specifically the breaks given to big businesses that causes financial stress on middle-class families. Part of the plan would hike the capital gains tax for top wage earners from 23.8 percent to 28 percent. 

The president said the revenue raised by this tax increase would be reinvested, partially going toward education. 

The president outlined his proposed plan to offer two free years of community college for students that qualify, and said, "I want to spread that idea all across America, so that two years of college becomes as free and universal in America as high school is today."

Missouri already has the A+ Scholarship Program, which offers reimbursement for two years at a participating public community college, vocational/technical school to any student that meets the scholarship's eligibility. 

As expected, Obama asked Congress to formally authorize the use of force against ISIS, the terror organization occupying parts of Iraq and Syria (behind recent attacks in Paris). This comes after the release of another video depicting ISIS hostages, including a ransom request for the two Japanese nationals. 

Occasionally going on the offensive, President Obama said he would veto any bill he perceives will weaken the Affordable Care Act, immigration reform, education, and the growth of the middle class.