HHS Secretary Azar reacts to President Trump's State of the Union address

WASHINGTON - An Eastern Shore native and new cabinet member of the Trump Administration reacts to President Trump's first State of the Union address, in Washington. 

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump gave his first State of the Union address on Capitol Hill where he spoke on multiple topics including wage gains, immigration, and tax reform.

President Trump made the following statements during his address which were fact checked by the Associated Press (AP):

TRUMP: "After years and years of wage stagnation, we are finally seeing rising wages." (Wage Gains)

AP FACT: "Actually, they are not rising any faster than they have before. Average hourly pay rose 2.5 percent in 2017, slightly slower than the 2.9 percent increase recorded in 2016.

Most economists say wages should increase at a faster rate as the unemployment rate drops. The unemployment rate stands at a 17-year low of 4.1 percent, but that has done little so far to spark rising wages." (Wage Gains)

TRUMP: "The first pillar of our framework generously offers a path to citizenship for 1.8 million illegal immigrants who were brought here by their parents at a young age - that covers almost three times more people than the previous administration." (Immigration)

AP FACT: "Not so. The Obama administration pushed legal status for many more immigrants and was prevented by Congress and the courts from offering it. A 2013 bill that passed the Senate but died in the House would have bestowed legal status on about 8 million people, according to a Congressional Budget Office estimate.

In 2014, the Obama administration announced an expanded program that included parents of young immigrants who were shielded from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. According to the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute, the measure would have given legal status to up to 4 million people. The Supreme Court deadlocked on the plan, letting a lower court ruling stand that blocked it." (Immigration)

TRUMP: "Our massive tax cuts provide tremendous relief for the middle class and small businesses."(Taxes)

AP FACT: "That depends on how you define "tremendous." The biggest beneficiaries from the tax law are wealthy Americans and corporations.

Most Americans will pay less in taxes this year. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimates that about 80 percent of U.S. households will get a tax cut, with about 15 percent seeing little change and 5 percent paying more.

Middle-class households - defined as those making between roughly $49,000 and $86,000 a year - will see their tax bills drop by about $930, the Tax Policy Center calculates. That will lift their after-tax incomes by 1.6 percent.

The richest 1 percent, meanwhile, will save $51,140, lifting their after-tax incomes by 3.4 percent, or more than twice as much as the middle class." (Taxes)

On Tuesday, Salisbury native and newly confirmed Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, made the following statement regarding President Trump's State of the Union address: 

"I commend President Trump for delivering a speech that celebrated the economic boom we have seen under his leadership, which has brought new opportunity and prosperity to the American people. A healthier economy means a healthier America, and we look forward to more such success in the coming year, including through reforms to make healthcare more affordable and accessible for all Americans.

The President also deserves tremendous credit for his leadership in addressing the opioid crisis that's hitting communities all across America. During his first year in office, President Trump has brought a new level of awareness and commitment to this cause, and I look forward to expanding and enhancing our aggressive approach to this scourge of addiction and overdose."

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