For Immediate Release

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Phone: (202) 546-9707

State of the Union: 20th Century Solutions for 21st Century Problems

WASHINGTON - The White House indicates that president Trump’s State of the Union address will be optimistic and forward-looking, with a tone of bipartisanship.  However, if, as expected, the president focuses on selling his existing proposals, then it will be a very backward-looking speech, particularly in regard to protecting consumers, public health and the environment.  U.S. PIRG’s experts are available to address these issues before or after the speech, and in addition to providing an alternative view on Trump’s proposals, they will also -- in light of the level of gridlock and lack of leadership in Washington -- point to progress that can and is being made in the states.

Transportation and Infrastructure:

Jeffrey Robinson, U.S. PIRG 21st Century Transportation Campaign Director

Mr. Robinson can explain why the anticipated Trump infrastructure proposal will fall short in creating the transportation system that Americans want and need:

  • At a time when the average American drives about as much as in 2002, building more roads is not what we need.  Instead, as Americans, especially millennials, look for new transportation options without the stress and cost of driving, we need to provide them with new choices, such as convenient public transportation.
  • We can not continue to ignore the $600B backlog of repairs needed on our existing roads, from filling potholes to fixing the 130,000 structurally deficient bridges.

Consumer protection:

Ed Mierzwinski, U.S. PIRG Federal Consumer Program Director

Mike Litt, U.S. PIRG Director of the Campaign to Defend the Consumer Bureau

Mr. Mierzwinski and Mr. Litt can explain how proposed ‘deregulation’ and gutting of the Consumer Bureau would pose unacceptable systemic risk to the financial system, leaving taxpayers potentially stuck with the bill. The lack of a strong, independent Bureau could also expose consumers to more fraud a la Wells Fargo’s fake account scandal, VW’s so-called defeat devices, and Equifax’s data breach.

Tax Reform:

Michelle Surka, U.S. PIRG Director of the Campaign for Budget Transparency

Ms. Surka can explain how the recently passed tax reform threatens to saddle future generations with massive debt that can only be paid for by ecologically unsustainable economic growth.  She can also point out the variety of ways that our tax structure could have been reformed without such a huge increase in the national debt.

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U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs), stands up to powerful special interests on behalf of the American public, working to win concrete results for our health and our well-being. With a strong network of researchers, advocates, organizers and students in state capitols across the country, we take on the special interests on issues, such as product safety,political corruption, prescription drugs and voting rights,where these interests stand in the way of reform and progress.

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