We wanted to share reaction to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address last night.
Congressman Steve King (R-IA):
President Obama has said to us, American citizens, that we do not have a spending problem with our Federal Government. Here tonight he laid out a series of things that are spending problems that we have and the President is determined to grow the United States government. When he does that, all the growth that we would have in our government spending comes from borrowing.
We’re right now borrowing 40 cents out of every dollar that we’re spending. The President’s pushing for more, it results in tax increases. We have to stop the irresponsible spending. It’s the most important piece of this message that I glean from listening to the President. We don’t have a spending problem? Yes, we do Mr. President.
Here’s a video reaction:
Congressman Tom Latham (R-IA):
As the economy has gone almost 50 months with unemployment at or above 7.8 percent, shrunk 0.1 percent in the last quarter and continued to suffer the plague of a runaway $16 trillion debt, Official Washington’s focus must remain on promoting job growth and fiscal responsibility. It would betray our nation’s exceptional tradition to accept grim economic news and unrestrained spending as just part of life in the new America.
Iowans by their nature are humble and accountable, and they exercise commonsense judgment in their daily lives. I will continue to bring these values to my service in Congress and stand ready to work with any of my colleagues, regardless of party affiliation, to put people before politics and progress before partisanship to solve the urgent problems facing our country today.
Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA):
President Obama is a talented speaker and his White House has proven to be politically skilled. At the start of the President’s second term, America needs the White House to set aside its campaign apparatus and take the lead with bipartisan discussions and policy work. People at the grass roots know our country can’t afford to have those in charge in Washington continue putting off the hard work.
The biggest challenge facing America since President Obama was elected has been the economy and jobs. By and large, the President’s programs have been enacted and in a partisan way. The programs haven’t worked, with Americans facing an unemployment rate higher than 7.5 percent through next year. America’s credit rating was downgraded for the first time ever. Yet in his Inaugural address three weeks ago, the President barely mentioned the economy and jobs.
Employers need Washington to create an environment for job creation, with tax certainty, regulatory relief, new market opportunities for exports, affordable and secure energy, an education system that works, and fiscal responsibility with public dollars, including an effort to reform entitlement programs. If structural reforms aren’t made, we won’t be able to keep the promise already made, as the President said, to future generations. Growing deficits and debt are moral issues, too, because if we don’t act to curb excessive government spending, our children and grandchildren won’t inherit the same opportunities we did to work hard, earn a living, and build a better life.
Americans also need bipartisan leadership on other big issues. Historically, major reforms have been made with broad-based bipartisan backing. That kind of support ought to be the goal for initiatives like immigration reform and other priorities, including gun violence and protecting the 2nd Amendment, transportation, and national and homeland security. In addition, policy changes should be made through elected representatives in Congress, who are the voice of the people in our system of government and can be held accountable more directly than the executive branch of our government. Transparency must be a reality not just rhetoric. Abuse of executive authority jeopardizes the checks and balances fundamental to our democracy and government of, by, and for the people.
Strong leadership takes more than lofty words and goals presented in a speech. It takes the hard work of sitting down with people with different points of view to work through the issues. It takes fighting for ideas and finding consensus. It takes sweating the details. The coming months will show if the President has what it takes to reach across party lines and tackle major issues facing this great nation.
Former Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum:
President Obama’s State of the Union address was nothing more than a glorified campaign speech on class warfare. The American people deserve better solutions to our economic challenges than more taxes on our job creators and more spending on our government services. The president talks of tax reforms which means we can expect more taxes and burdens on the very people who create goods, services and jobs for everyday Americans. I challenge the president to follow his own advice – ‘it’s not a bigger government that we need, it’s a smarter government.’
“In regards to diplomatic solutions in the Middle East, if the president is truly committed to sending a message to Iranian leaders about their development of nuclear weapons, he will withdraw his nomination of Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense.
Congressman Tom Price (R-GA):
“At a time when our nation faces extraordinary challenges, it would have been encouraging to hear President Obama put aside the divisive, tired rhetoric and demonstrate the kind of unifying leadership our country so desperately needs. Unfortunately, we saw more of the same – a refusal to acknowledge America’s dire financial outlook and the glaring absence of a plan to truly get our economy moving again.
“Today, our workforce is the smallest it’s been in generations. Our economy is retracting. Millions upon millions of Americans are hurting because of President Obama’s policies. Those policies are keeping more moms and dads without jobs from being able to support their families. Those policies are resulting in more workers on the verge of retirement suddenly being laid off. Those policies are causing more college graduates to be discouraged as they enter a job market with nearly 8 percent unemployment.
“The President is missing the opportunity to actually solve the challenges facing this nation – whether it is the weak economy, energy usage, health care costs, a broken tax code, or Washington’s fiscal irresponsibility. And yet there are positive solutions that could be embraced. House Republicans have pushed a pro-growth agenda which would lift the economy, expand American-made energy, put patients in charge of health care, eliminate special interest loopholes, and move our nation’s finances to balance.
“Tonight’s speech sadly did not demonstrate that this administration understands how to right the course of this nation and return her to prosperity. Nevertheless, I am hopeful that with the continued support of the American people, we can get to work on real solutions that will put this nation on the path to fiscal responsibility and a real recovery, creating jobs and having more dreams realized.”
Last night the Heritage Foundation was fact checking his State of the Union Address.
Americans for Prosperity had this to say in their official statement:
“Tonight the President delivered the Inauguration Speech part two; more harsh ideology laced with aggressively partisan rhetoric including the now standard class warfare attacks calling for new tax increases and more government overspending.
“Disappointingly, the President chose to begin his fourth state of the union speech by attacking the very sequester cuts that he and Congress agreed to almost two years ago, calling them “a really bad idea.” President Obama actually believes that government spending, even with deficits breaking a trillion dollars each of the last four years, can create lasting jobs and prosperity. The American people know better.
“Then later, the President pandered once again to environmental extremists as he promised to ignore Congress and continue using the full regulatory apparatus of his Administration in pursuit of his global warming agenda. Thankfully, Americans have rejected the President’s extreme agenda because they know it leads to higher energy costs, lost jobs and less freedom.”
From FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe:
“As I listened to the President tonight, I wondered if we were discussing the same Union. Has he read our government’s balance sheet? Has he noticed the Great Recession he resides over? It’s clear the President is still in campaign mode, talking a lot, but saying very little.”
“Where were his specifics on the issues that threaten our Union’s economic and fiscal security? What is his plan to balance the budget and remove barriers to economic recovery? Where is the budget that the President was required by law to submit at the beginning of this month?”
“The economic policy portions of the President’s State of the Union speech sounded like a book report written by someone who clearly did not read the book.”
“I wish we could have heard more from the President about the 7.9% unemployment, the 35 cents the government borrows for every dollar it spends, the 7 million Americans projected to lose their preferred health care coverage as a result of ObamaCare, or the fact that the economy shrank in the final quarter of 2012.”
“I’d like to know why corporations like General Electric paid zero in corporate income tax in 2011, yet 70 percent of Americans woke up this New Year’s Day to smaller paychecks because of the tax increases hidden inside the midnight fiscal cliff deal.”
“Regulating small business owners into the ground and taxing American families into another recession is no way to strengthen the middle class.”
“If the President is serious about giving individuals a fair shot at the American Dream, he should start with laying out specifics for fundamental tax reform and closing the existing corporate loopholes in our tax code. Corporate welfare is unfair and harmful to all of us regardless of political party, and President Obama should make ending the collusion of big business and big government a top priority for his second term agenda.”
“The President claimed that additional investments in infrastructure, manufacturing, clean energy and education would not increase our deficit by a single dime- but we’ve heard this song before. The government added over $6,364,803 in new debt under his watch since 2008. Washington is spending too much, and no amount of debt ceiling and tax increases is going to solve America’s long-term problems with debt and massive unfunded entitlement liabilities.”
“To borrow some of the President’s speech jargon, a truly ‘smarter government’ is a smaller government that empowers people to control their own destiny and make economic choices on their own terms.”
Picture provided by the White House.