WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) issued the following response to tonight’s State of the Union address. Earlier today, Brown held a press conference call and outlined his priorities for 2016 - including expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit, which Brown helped make permanent in 2015. President Obama echoed Brown’s priority in tonight’s State of the Union Address.

“President Obama outlined a clear vision tonight for expanding American opportunity, and I’m ready to get to work building a future where anyone who’s willing to work hard and play by the rules can succeed,” Brown said. “We’ve come a long way in the last eight years – the auto industry is soaring back and our economy is growing. But we have more work ahead of us to make sure working families across Ohio, and across the country, are benefitting from that success. This year I will continue pushing forward to expand tax cuts that allow working people to keep more of their hard-earned money, fighting against trade deals that threaten American jobs, and finding ways we can work together to deliver results for Ohio.”  

Brown also welcomed First Lady Michelle Obama’s special guest, Jim Obergefell – a Cincinnati resident and the plaintiff in the Supreme Court’s historic marriage equality decision. Brown, a long-time supporter of marriage equality, applauded the selection. In April, Brown met with Obergefell and in March, he joined 43 of his Senate colleagues and 167 members of the House of Representatives in filing an amicus brief in the Supreme Court stating that all couples deserve the right to marry no matter the state that they live in.

Additional priorities Brown outlined today include:

 Building on Victories Brown Secured in the Budget Deal at the End of Last Year

  • Brown secured a major victory for Ohio’s working families in the 2015 year-end appropriations deal by permanently expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credits (read more here) – which keep more American children out of poverty than any other federal program. Now, Senator Brown wants to help even more Ohio workers get tax breaks by expanding the Earned Income Credit for Ohioans who don’t have kids. Brown’s push has gained bipartisan support and Brown will continue fighting to get it done for Ohio.
  • As the top Democrat on the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, Brown helped secure $2 billion for the “Hardest Hit Fund,” investments that help communities devastated by the housing crisis clean up vacant and abandoned properties (read more here). Now Brown will work with the Administration to make sure Ohio’s neighborhoods get the money they need from the Hardest Hit Fund.

Fighting for a Trade Agenda that Levels the Playing Field for Ohio Workers

  • Brown will continue fighting against bad trade deals that hurt Ohio jobs. Brown held a roundtable in Washington Monday to help call attention to ways the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) would hurt Ohio auto jobs, and he will continue fighting to make TPP stronger for Ohio workers.

Making Sure Ohio Kids Don’t Go Hungry During Summer Months When School is Not in Session

  • As a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Brown will play a lead role in renewing Child Nutrition programs, which provide school lunch and breakfast as well as the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) for at-risk children and mothers. As part of that work, Brown will push to include his bipartisanHunger Free Summer for Kids Act to ensure Ohio kids who rely on school lunches don’t go hungry when school is out for the summer. According to data released by the Ohio Department of Education, more than 680,000 Ohio children received free or reduced-priced lunch on an average day; however, many students miss out on this nutrition assistance in the summer months. 

Working to Make College More Affordable by Cracking Down on For-Profit Colleges that Make Money at the Expense of Ohio Students

  • As college affordability shapes up to be a major priority in the national discussion in 2016, Brown will continue his longstanding efforts to save Ohioans money and improve their educational experience by holding for-profit colleges accountable for their deceptive practices.
  • Among Brown’s initiatives is his call to make sure taxpayer dollars from Pell Grants and other federal student aid programs are actually spent on educating students and not to fund corporate marketing campaigns (read more here).