WASHINGTON—Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, released the statement below in response to President Obama’s State of the Union address last night.
“Last night’s State of the Union was most remarkable for President Obama’s emphasis on expanding shared prosperity and providing ladders of opportunity for all Americans.
Most striking was his commitment to use executive action to raise the minimum wage for employees of new federal contractors, which is an important step toward raising the minimum wage for all. We are also optimistic about his plan to bolster job training programs, which calls for on-the-job training and apprenticeships that will match workers to employers who have jobs that need to be filled right now.
We are also pleased with the President’s charge to Congress: to restore unemployment insurance for the long-term unemployed, which Congress just let expire for 1.6 million people. Restoring this insurance will be key to our nation’s economic prosperity.
Finally, with women making up half of this country’s workforce, we commend President Obama for his commitment to ensuring equal pay for equal work. We hope the administration can work together with Congress and businesses to make sure that American women are valued for the work they do, because closing the gender wage gap is yet one more critical way to get America’s economy moving forward again – for everyone.”
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its 200-plus member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.