Franken reacts to Trump address, introduces vets legislation
WASHINGTON--On Tuesday, U.S. Senator Al Franken, D-Minn. reacted with both hope and skepticism to President Donald Trump's address to a joint session of Congress.
WASHINGTON-On Tuesday, U.S. Senator Al Franken, D-Minn. reacted with both hope and skepticism to President Donald Trump's address to a joint session of Congress.
"It's no secret I disagree with President Trump on a lot of issues and with a lot of what he's done in the first weeks of his administration," Franken said. "And there are several things he outlined in tonight's address that concern me."
Franken went on to say he opposed Trump's intended repeal of the Affordable Care Act and said Trump had failed to describe a replacement plan. In addition, Franken sharply criticized the Trump administration's stance on immigration.
"We shouldn't be pursuing draconian and dangerous immigration policies that rip families apart, including refugees fleeing war and terror," he said.
However, areas of common ground with the president include fulfilling the needs of veterans, using American steel, and job training, Franken said.
"Tonight I brought VFW State Commander Joe Mauricio to the President's address because I want to highlight the needs of our servicemembers and veterans. I'm glad that the President mentioned them in his remarks, and I hope he will keep them in mind when he has to make decisions that affect foreign policy and the lives of veterans.
Franken vowed to keep focused on Minnesota, regardless of the actions of the White House.
"I'm going to keep doing my job the same way I always have, working to make progress for the people of Minnesota wherever I can," Franken said. "Because no matter what the Trump administration does, and no matter how divisive Washington may be, I'll always put our state first-and I'll never stop fighting for Minnesota.
In a news release sent earlier Tuesday, Franken said he was putting the pressure on lawmakers in Washington to stand up for American servicemembers and veterans who are put in harm's way to defend our freedoms.
Ahead of the Presidential address, where Franken hosted Mauricio, Franken helped introduce a comprehensive package of legislation that includes portions of a bill he originally wrote to support National Guardsmen and Reservists who served in dangerous areas, but after returning, never received critical education benefits. In one case, for example, several Minnesota Guardsmen who deployed to the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt were denied GI Bill benefits when they got back home, the release said.
The Educational Development for Troops and Veterans Act will provide education benefits to servicemembers who often have to leave behind schools, jobs, and homes to serve their country, the release from Franken's office said.
"The men and women who serve our country put their lives on the line to defend our freedom, and for their duty, we owe them a debt of gratitude," said Franken. "We also owe them the best possible benefits and services once they come home. This important bill, which includes a priority of mine to support Guardsmen and Reservists who served in dangerous areas, will help make sure that veterans in Minnesota and across the country can access critical education support and career training. It needs to be passed into law."