“Tonight, as I sat in the House chamber, I felt proud to live in a country where our national spirit is vibrant and where Americans join together to listen to the President’s plans for securing our nation’s future.

Security is still the most important issue facing Washington state residents and millions of Americans – the security of having a job, of access to affordable health care, of a quality education, and of protecting our homeland and defending our nation.

In the face of sky-rocketing health care costs, ongoing military operations abroad, and the challenge of continuing to move our economy forward, the President’s top legislative priority is to break the promise that has provided security to millions of Americans for decades.

I agree that shoring up Social Security for future generations is the right thing to do, but that is not what the President is proposing. The President’s plan to privatize Social Security would actually take away guaranteed benefits and put the promise of a secure retirement in jeopardy.

Rather than inspiring confidence, I am concerned that the President’s plans – and lack of plans – leave too many Americans questioning the future.

In Washington state, we know that ensuring the safety of cargo coming into our nation’s ports will prevent both the loss of life and economic losses that could come from a terrorist attack. Despite these dangers, the President has yet to put forward a plan for securing our nation’s ports. Our national security and economic stability depends on doing better.

I am glad that the President has finally begun a dialogue about our high schools, but I am concerned that his proposal places a premium on testing. Our kids deserve more than a test – they need a comprehensive plan that puts them on the right path to succeed in college or the workforce.

I join the president in applauding the service of our men and women in uniform, but I am disappointed that tonight, he made only passing reference to caring for our nation’s veterans. I am very concerned that with tens of thousands of brave men and women serving us heroically overseas – many of whom will return home this year – the President is submitting a budget that will mean longer lines and more out-of-pocket costs for veterans at our VA hospitals. Supporting our troops also means keeping our commitment to care for them when they return home.

For the state of our union to be strong, we need to place value in Americans.

That means giving workers the tools they need to do well in a changing economy.

It means giving our kids more than just a test, but the skills and teachers that we know will help them succeed.

And it means not just paying lip-service to service and sacrifice, but ensuring that our veterans can see a doctor and receive the benefits they have so rightly earned.

I will continue to speak out for the families and communities that are struggling at home in Washington state. By working together to focus on our national priorities today we can ensure that the state of our union is strong for the future.”