Sen. Jeff Sessions on Tuesday called on President Barack Obama to develop policies that help — not hinder — the nation's middle class, starting with immigration reform.
“Our urgent national mission is to begin to transition . . . struggling workers into good jobs with rising wages," the Alabama Republican said in remarks on the Senate floor. "Instead, the president proposes to increase federal spending even more to sustain millions on welfare, while increasing lower-skilled immigration to take available jobs.
"Republicans must expose the president’s disastrous policies and advocate a new direction that promotes assimilation, rising wages, and a growing middle class for all Americans.”
Sessions, the ranking GOP member of the Senate budget committee, made his remarks before Obama's State of the Union address later Tuesday.
The president is expected to tout comprehensive immigration reform and initiatives to help the middle class in his speech, while emphasizing that he is prepared to invoke executive action
to move his policies forward if Congress does not act.
“President Obama is preparing to deliver a State of the Union address in which he will address the continued financial collapse of the American middle class, much of which has occurred on his watch," Sessions said on the Senate floor. "It started before he took office, but it has accelerated since 2009.
"If the president wishes to demonstrate a sincere concern for struggling workers, then he must recognize the negative impact his immigration policies are having on wage earners throughout the country."
Sessions also attacked Obama's plan
to raise the minimum wage for federal contract workers by executive order. The order would increase the basic wage to $10.10 an hour for federal contract workers with new contracts.
"The president’s push for new federal wage controls and extended unemployment benefits is effectively an admission that his policies have cut wages and reduced employment," he said. "But these measures are really only treating the symptoms," Sessions said.
"The nation cannot return to full employment and rising wages for workers at all skill levels without tightening the labor market."
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