WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), a member of the Senate Budget Committee and Appropriations Committee, released the following statement Tuesday on President Obama’s budget proposal:

“At a time of tight budgets and tough fiscal choices, our priorities must remain focused on job creation and investments in the middle class. This is the core theme of the President’s budget proposal, which takes important steps to strengthen American manufacturing, promote innovation, invest in workforce development, and support low-income families, while making significant progress toward reducing our deficits and long-term debt.

“To promote advanced manufacturing and regional economic growth, the President’s budget includes a bipartisan proposal I cosponsored in the Senate to create a national network of manufacturing innovation institutes. These institutes serve as regional manufacturing hubs, leveraging resources from universities, businesses, and the public sector to accelerate innovation, commercialize R&D, and create manufacturing jobs. The budget proposal also enhances investments in federal research and development in critical areas, including cybersecurity, science, and technology.

“I was also glad to see investments in the President’s budget aimed at improving job training and employment services for American workers. The investments proposed by the President will equip more American workers with the skills employers are looking for, strengthen vital STEM education in our schools, and support new public-private partnerships to help the long-term unemployed return to work.

“The President’s proposal also includes key Delaware infrastructure priorities, including $35 million in funding for the Delaware River Deepening Project, which will support thousands of jobs in the region and ensure the Port of Wilmington can continue to compete when the Panama Canal is expanded by 2015. Additionally, increased funding for Amtrak included in the proposal will help the service begin making headway on critical infrastructure improvements. This is a good start, and I will continue working to find innovative financing methods to address Amtrak’s $6 billion backlog in investments needed to fix aging tunnels, bridges, and tracks.

“Though I do not agree with everything included in this proposal, it is, overall, a strong blueprint for job creation, economic growth, and increased middle class opportunity. I look forward to carefully reviewing this proposal in detail and working with my colleagues in the Senate to advance the important priorities laid out by the President today.”