WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address was full of promises for reforming the government and boosting the economy but Republican lawmakers say they don’t have much confidence in the president or his policies.
“He talks a good game but the results just aren’t there for the American people,” said Sen. John Barrasso (R. –WY).
“The country is not better off today than it was three years ago,” Barrasso said. “We are living under Obama’s economy and we have the president and his policies to thank for where we are – higher unemployment, higher costs for energy, lower values on our homes, the list goes on an on.”
Rep. Tom McClintock (R. –CA) said the speech was indistinguishable from Obama’s previous addresses and highlighted the “same government bromides that have utterly failed.”
The more Obama invests in his mistake, the less willing he is to admit them, McClintock said.
“We have needlessly lengthened and prolonged and deepened this economic suffering and squandered trillions of dollars in the process, and his answer to this failure is more of the same,” McClintock said.
Obama came armed with a long to-do list for Congress, and said that if Republicans obstruct his agenda he will find a way around them. “Some of what’s broken has to do with the way Congress does its business these days,” the president said.
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels delivered the GOP response immediately following the president’s annual speech, and called Obama’s attacks on Congressional Republicans unfair and untrue.
“No feature of the Obama presidency has been sadder than its constant efforts to divide us, to curry favor with some Americans by castigating others,” Daniels said.
“As in previous moments of national danger, we Americans are all in the same boat. If we drift, quarreling and paralyzed, over a Niagara of debt, we will all suffer, regardless of income, race, gender, or other category. If we fail to shift to a pro-jobs, pro-growth economic policy, there will never be enough public revenue to pay for our safety net, national security, or whatever size government we decide to have,” Daniels said.
House Republicans are the only lawmakers who have passed bills in the last year to reduce borrowing, reform entitlements and encourage new job creation, “only to be shot down nearly time and again by the president and his Democrat Senate allies,” Daniels said.
Rep. Steve Pearce (R. –NM) said the president’s words didn’t match his actions of the last three years.
“I’m all for the things that he says, I’m just not sure he’s all for the things that he said. He says we need more energy but he’s doing everything he can to make energy harder to produce. He wants to reform the tax code and I agree, but he hasn’t done anything about it, and I agree with offshore drilling, but he never got around to doing it,” Pearce said.
Added Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ): “How this Senate and administration can continue to talk about jobs and reining in government spending with a straight face is beyond me. The House has passed a budget, not to mention nearly 30 jobs bills, only to see them die in the black hole of Harry Reid’s Senate.”
The focus shifted to First Lady Michelle Obama’s box above the House chamber floor and her guest Debbie Bosanek as the president touched on his plan to raise taxes on the rich. Bosanek has worked for two decades as Warren Buffett’s secretary.
“Right now, Warren Buffett pays a lower tax rate than his secretary,” Obama said.
“We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of Americans barely get by. Or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.”
One Republican Senator was heard to remark that perhaps the billionaire Buffett should consider giving his employee a raise.
Republicans said it’s not likely Congress will pass Obama’s proposed taxes, and in light of the federal deficit reaching more than $15 trillion, say the focus should remain on spending cuts.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R. –FL) called it “counterproductive” to tell Americans the only way their jobs can be protected is to raise their bosses’ taxes. “When I hear policymakers in Washington pitting the American people against each other, telling people that the only way you can do better is if someone else is worse off, I get concerned. Because not only is it not true, that type of thought has never worked anywhere in the world,” Rubio said.
Added Rep. Jim Jordan (R. –OH), chairman of the Republican Study Committee: “Scattered throughout tonight’s speech was the ridiculous idea that America isn’t fair because successful people get to keep too much of the money they earn. The president also prescribes more taxpayer-funded failures like Solyndra while blocking the jobs and energy that would come from building the Keystone pipeline.
That’s not the way to create jobs or an economy that’s built to last.”
(Watch Gov. Mitch Daniels deliver the GOP response below.)