Rep. Frank: State Of The Union Speech 'One Of The Best'

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President Obama has delivered his third State of the Union address, his first such speech in a year when he faces re-election. Here's an excerpt:

We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of Americans barely get by, or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.

Rep. Barney Frank was in the U.S. Capitol for the president's speech and the 16-term Massachusetts Democrat joined Morning Edition Wednesday to give his reaction to the speech.

"My reaction is a highly enthusiastic one, I'd say it was a first-rate speech, it's one of the best State of the Union speeches I've ever heard," Frank told WBUR.

- And here's how other Massachusetts congressmen reacted to the address:

Rep. Richard Neal thinks Congress needs to pass fundamental tax reforms, and hopes to update the tax code, which hasn't been updated in 25 years. He says there's a notion that the tax code makes America uncompetitive in the world, and he says Congress should remove preferences in the tax code and flatten the rate.

"You want to give some opportunity for the middle class to enjoy an element of tax relief," he said. "And at the same time, I think that the argument is fairly prevalent that those making more than $1 million, who have benefited enormously from the Bush tax cuts, would now begin to pay at a higher rate."

Rep. Michael Capuano says he's optimistic Congress will be able to work together on key issues such as energy independence, infrastructure investments and tax reform.

"Anything that we can find that we can work together and try to find common ground is worth doing," he said.

Rep. James McGovern says Republican obstructionism is the worst he's ever seen, and the American people want results from Congress.

"The fact that we can't get together to pass a jobs bill or to do things that are absolutely necessary for the well-being of our country is pretty pathetic, as the president pointed out," he said.

Rep. William Keating says he agrees with president's focus on manufacturing and educating the workforce, as well as more equity in the tax system.

"The themes are ones that are not new," he said. "Some of the solutions aren't new, but the problems we've had in trying to overcome aren't new, either."

This program aired on January 25, 2012.

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Bob Oakes Senior Correspondent
Bob Oakes was a senior correspondent in the WBUR newsroom, a role he took on in 2021 after nearly three decades hosting WBUR's Morning Edition.



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