WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn issued the following statement in response to the State of the Union address:

“Tonight, the President spoke to a very different Congress. The U.S. House chamber held a record number of women, African Americans, Hispanics, LGBTQ, and Muslim members of Congress. This diverse Congress reflects this country and its values, and we were sent to Washington after November’s historic election to serve as a check and balance on this President.

“We welcome his words of comity and are hopeful there will be issues like infrastructure, prescription drug costs, and defeating the spread of HIV where we can find common ground. However, as House Democrats, we know the role we were elected to play and, as my faith teaches me, we know we will be judged on our deeds not our words.

“The President’s theme tonight was ‘Choosing Greatness,’ but I question how he defines that term. I believe that America is already great, and, like historian Alexis de Tocqueville wrote in Democracy in America, the country’s greatness ‘lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults.’ Democrats stand ready to work with the President when possible, but in strong opposition when necessary, to repair our faults so we may become a more perfect union.”