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Ohio delegation reacts to the State of the Union Address

Ohio delegation reacts to the State of the Union Address

WASHINGTON, DC (WTVN) -- As you might expect, reaction to President Obama's State of the Union Address from the Ohio Congressional delegation was mixed.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat, praised Obama's call for an increase in the minimum wage. He says that while productivity is at the highest level in 30 years, wages have not kept pace.

"Workers are 85 percent more productive than they were 30 years ago, but wages have only increased by 6 percent. In the meantime, the value of the minimum wage has fallen by more than 20 percent," Brown said.

He also applauded the President on talking about workforce development. Brown says he's heard from employers around Ohio who say they have good-paying jobs to fill, but don't have the workforce needed to fill them. It was an area that Republican Senator Rob Portman agreed on.

"The President talked about that tonight, he's talked about it before. We've got bi-partisan proposals to do it. This is about giving people the skills they need to access the jobs that are in Ohio and around the country," Portman said.

Portman said that while there were common goals in the speech, he disagrees with how Obama wants to accomplish them.

"The President talked tonight about how he wants to use his pen to write executive orders and go around the Congress. Instead, let's figure out ways to work together, because we can and we should," he said.

Portman also wanted to hear more about energy independence, calling on the President to open up more public land to drilling for oil and natural gas.

Brown wants to see Congress move forward on a proposal to extend unemployment benefits to 1.3 million Americans still looking for work. He also pushed a proposal he has for creating a network of manufacturing innovation.

Congressman Pat Tiberi, a Republican from suburban Columbus, panned the speech as more of a campaign address to a progressive audience than to a divided nation.

"Disappointed with the content of the speech. Obviously, the delivery was really good," Tiberi said.

He also expressed concern about Obama wanting to go around Congress, pointing out that the founding fathers were very clear about the separation of powers.

"It's almost as if the President is annoyed by Congress and doesn't like to go through the process," he said.

Tiberi also said it's time for Obama to lead, adding that President Clinton and President Reagan were able to get things done with a divided Congress.

"At some point in time this President, if he's going to have a successful presidency, is going to have to lead and not divide," said Tiberi.

He did find some common ground with Obama on care for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

(Photo courtesty Getty Images)

 

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