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Republicans bracing for partisan attacks in Obama's State of the Union speech


When President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union Address tonight he’s expected to discuss the economy, how he wants to create new jobs, and his administration’s new spending priorities.

Congressional Quarterly reports that the White House “promises a list of policy proposals for the year” and cites administration sources that are predicting, “Obama will not deliver an overtly political speech.”

But Congressional Republicans aren’t so sure.

Instead, they are bracing for an onslaught of blame from Obama on how Republicans are the ones to blame for the climate of political gridlock in Washington that has lead to the failing economy and increasing number of lost jobs. And, they are ready with an answer — that the House has done its job in moving a number of favorable jobs bills forward, but a Democratic-controlled Senate has stalled them.

“As the president prepares to stand before the American people and defend the past, we should be mindful that he and his party have no concrete plan for the future,” Sen. Mike Lee (R –UT) said Monday, citing the Democrats failure to pass a budget in the last 1,000 days.

“This benchmark — the Democrats’ 1000 days of failure — is a stark reminder that we must hold them accountable immediately,” Lee said.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R –KY) said Monday Republicans on his side of the Capitol are willing to work with Obama on an agenda to get the nation’s economy back on track, but “not an agenda to divide.”

“Not a repackaging of the same ideas that have made our economy worse and our future more uncertain. But a truly bipartisan agenda that gets us beyond past skirmishes and onto a different path. There is much we can do together. Let’s focus on that, and put the rest aside,” McConnell said.

However, both McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner (R. –OH) said that in addition to Obama’s expected partisan tone, they expect the address will be a reiteration of failed strategies.

“I’ve read a lot about what the president’s going to talk about Tuesday night, and it sounds to me like the same old policies that we’ve seen: more spending, higher taxes, more regulations,” Boehner told Fox News Sunday.

“The same policies that haven’t helped our economy, they’ve made it worse. And if that’s what the president’s going to talk about Tuesday night, I think it’s pathetic,” Boehner said.

“Thirty jobs bills passed over the last year in a Republican House of Representatives that are sitting in the United States Senate, thirty,” Boehner said. “Our focus over the last 12 months has been on jobs. Our focus over the course of the next 12 months is going to be on jobs.”

Included among the bills that have been passed by House Republicans, but stalled by Senate Democrats, are measures to reduce regulatory burdens, block new rules by the national labor board, and allow for new leases for energy development. McConnell called the Democrats’ blame game a “stunningly cynical strategy.”

“The average length of unemployment is the longest it has ever been. Hundreds of thousands of Americans who had a job when this president took office have simply dropped out of the workforce. And the Washington Democrat plan for this year is to sit on their hands and blame it on the other guy,” McConnell said.

“Based on what I’ve read, it appears Democrat leaders here in the Senate have gotten together with the White House and mapped out a plan to actually guarantee gridlock for the rest of the year,” McConnell said.

“President Obama’s three-year experiment with big government has made our economy worse and our future more uncertain. Americans want a government that’s simpler, streamlined, and secure. But we won’t be able to achieve these things if Democrats refuse to try, if they’ve decided to spend the next year on show votes and legislation that’s designed for bus tours instead of bill signings,” McConnell said.