Comments Of Senator Patrick Leahy On The President’s State Of The Union Message

The challenges the President outlined are difficult, but they are solvable.  The job of political leaders is to find solutions, on issues which range from strengthening the economy and creating jobs, to deficit reduction and investing in our future.  We need to move beyond the recent pattern of obstruction at any cost.  Festering problems only worsen, and lost opportunities are wasteful.  It will mean hard work, but that is not a sufficient reason to do nothing.  The strong, bipartisan Senate passage of the Violence Against Women Act this week is an early and perhaps hopeful sign that Congress is capable of rising to the tasks ahead.

The President gave a clear call to action on such difficult and lingering issues as comprehensive immigration reform and gun violence.  Tomorrow we will take the first step in the legislative process on immigration reform with a hearing by the Judiciary Committee. 

I welcome the President’s announcement of an accelerated pace for bringing our troops home from Afghanistan. That is overdue.

I also appreciate the President’s Executive Order to strengthen our cybersecurity.  Developing a comprehensive national cybersecurity strategy is one of the most serious and threatening unmet needs confronting the nation.  Now Congress must do its part and enact meaningful solutions to enhance cybersecurity and better protect Americans’ digital privacy.  New privacy laws to establish a single, national standard for data breach notification and to update digital the Electronic Communications Privacy Act are long overdue. 

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[Senator Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., is President Pro Tem of the Senate and chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee.]

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