Official White House Photo by Pete Souza (Public Domain)
Official White House Photo by Pete Souza (Public Domain)

The President and I have major philosophical differences.  Last night’s speech made clear where and how we differ.

What I hear from Iowa is that people want Washington to simplify the tax code, not make it more complicated.  Taxpayers expect tax fairness, not tax increases that punish success and discourage innovation.  Farmers are now scrambling to figure out how the President’s proposals would affect the transfer of the family farm from one generation to the next.  Parents who budget carefully to save money for their children’s education are seeing the President’s attempt to scale back the tax benefits that encourage the savings.   A speech that picks so many winners and losers leaves people wondering where they fall in the plan.  It’s a demoralizing approach.

Instead of tax increases and new federal education entitlements that might be redundant, Washington needs to look for ways to restore the promise of prosperity.  Let’s foster opportunities that help all Americans get ahead.   This means reducing tax rates, looking for ways to make U.S. businesses more competitive worldwide, expanding export opportunities for U.S. farmers and manufacturers, and avoiding new regulations and mandates that hurt job creation.  It means worrying about an $18 trillion debt that future generations will inherit.  It means focusing on the core functions of the federal government, like national security, instead of finding alternate ways to spend money.  In the new Congress, I’ll continue working for fiscal discipline and holding government accountable.  Americans want more good government and a whole lot less Big Government.  They want the most bang for the buck.  Washington should deliver on that.

Iowans expect their elected representatives to look for areas for bipartisan agreement.  Wherever I can, I want to continue to honor their expectation.  Cyber security was a big part of the President’s speech, and I see that as an example of an area for potential strong bipartisanship.  A previous proposal that I put together with several colleagues included information sharing, enhanced criminal laws, and research.  As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I’m already working on legislation to create a fair national data breach notification standard.  The cost to consumers, businesses and national security is too much for us to ignore.

In closing, Senator Ernst is an ideal person to deliver the Republican response to the President’s speech.  She brings a new perspective that’s welcome in Washington.  I look forward to her leadership on military matters, farm policy, cutting wasteful spending, and everything else that’s shaped by her background and fresh approach.

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