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Over 38 million Americans tune in to watch the State of the Union address

Over 38 million Americans tune in to watch the State of the Union speech
Over 38 million Americans tune in to watch the State of the Union speech
Photo by Pool/Getty Images

Larry Snyder, President of Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA), issued the following statement today after President Barack Obama delivered his State of the Union Address calling for more "ladders of opportunity" for low-income Americans to move into the middle-class.

"Catholic Charities USA was encouraged by President Obama's State of the Union address, particularly his focus on creating ladders of opportunity that have the potential to raise up the most vulnerable in our nation, strengthening communities across the country and restoring the dignity of every American. As we mark the 50th Anniversary of President Johnson's historic War on Poverty, we must decide as a nation that we can't wait any longer to act on behalf of those least among us.”

As Nielson ranked the president’s speech a leader across all networks and cable TV, Snyder was pleased that Obama used the 38 million viewer platform as an opportunity to call attention to the plight of the nation’s poor.

"We were also very heartened by the President's discussion on immigration, the recognition of the need to provide food for the poor, the need for increased access to quality early education and job training as important pathways to opportunity. We are also hopeful to see that the White House understands the importance of identifying proven results and evidence-based practice, as this is something CCUSA has advocated for since 2006,” Snyder said.

With the speech coming 50 years after President Lyndon Johnson’s “War on Poverty” and the federal government’s massive effort to end poverty in America five decades ago, Snyder points out that there are more than 46 million Americans still living in poverty today. “We understand that poverty does not occur in a vacuum. That's why we've joined with the nation's leading charitable organizations to designate this year working together to educate, innovate and act to reduce poverty in communities across the country,” Snyder said.

Snyder said, "It's time our nation realizes that our economy, education and workforce will not be as strong as it can be as long as the poor and most vulnerable populations continue to be overlooked. Reducing poverty means more Americans living healthy and productive lives. Working together now is the only way we can achieve a healthy society and thriving communities for all."