Washington - Following President Barack Obama's joint address to Congress on health insurance reform tonight, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), a member of the key Senate Finance Committee, released the following statement:

"President Obama stood before Congress and the nation tonight with the true leadership, vision and honesty that the American people respect. It was important for him to explain why the status quo is unhealthy for our loved ones, our family finances and our nation's budget, and how we can fix it. He did all of that with strength and purpose, and we are on our way to healing the health insurance system.

"This is a serious matter that deserves an honest and serious approach. It is time to rise above the politics of fabrication and fear that powerful, entrenched interests have used to turn the debate into a brawl. Americans demanded a change from the cynical politics that took our nation in the wrong direction, and we are standing up for responsible policy and politics. Together with President Obama, many of us are committed to making sure that your health insurance won't drain your finances but will actually be there for you when you need it the most. We are going to pass long overdue reform that makes ours a healthier and wealthier nation."