Hawaii delegation praises fellow Democrat Obama's speech

Published: Jan. 20, 2015 at 11:33 PM HST|Updated: Jan. 20, 2015 at 11:58 PM HST
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WASHINGTON D.C. (HawaiiNewsNow) - All four of Hawaii's Congressional representatives are Democrats so it's not surprising that they praised President Barack Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday.

Mark Takai attended his first State of the Union as a Congressman . He was chosen to be one of the representatives escorting President Barack Obama to the U.S. House floor Tuesday night.

Hawaii's delegation praised Obama's proposals to improve tax credits for education and child care and impose new taxes and fees on the wealthy and large financial institutions.

"Tonight we heard the President lay out his vision for the year ahead to ensure that our economy continues its recovery and that our economic policies and priorities strengthen and expand the middle class," said U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz.

"For too long, the wealthiest Americans and big corporations have used unfair loopholes to avoid paying their fair share of taxes," Schatz added. "Tonight, the president proposed a simpler, fairer tax code that closes those loopholes and uses those savings to support tax credits for working parents. These smart investments will help middle class families succeed and bolster our economy."

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said, "Really focusing, most importantly on how do we build a strong middle class? What actions do we need to take going forward in the future that we can work together on in a bipartisan way?"

Obama, who is now dealing with both houses of Congress controlled by Republicans, called for bipartisanship.

He referred to growing up in Hawaii with its melting pot of races and customs.

"I liked his reference to the United States of America as not being made up of white America, Black America, conservative or liberal America. But the United States of America," said U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono.

Under Obama's plan, which is certain to be blocked in the GOP-led Congress, tax hikes on the wealthy would help finance tax breaks for middle-income Americans, including a new $500 tax credit for families with two working spouses and raising the child care tax credit by 300 percent, bringing it up to $3,000.

Other proposals the president laid out included more paid sick leave and free community college education for qualified students.

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