I'll plug in more of these as they come in, but here are some Idaho reactions to President Obama's State of the Union address.
If you couldn't tell from the speech, and the first of the reactions, it is an election year.
Sen. Mike Crapo said the speech laid out new spending initiatives, without specifics about where the money would come from.
A bipartisan group of more than 40 senators has already agreed in principle on a framework for reducing spending, utilizing pro-growth tax reform to help create jobs and taking much-needed first steps toward entitlement reform. We must build on this momentum. Idahoans and Americans deserve it. We need to create jobs, get the economy moving and remove the barriers to new job creation, finding agreement where we can. Tonight, the president proposed once again raising taxes on some Americans, while temporarily cutting taxes on others. Instead, we need fundamental tax reform focused on growth through lowering rates for all Americans and dramatically reducing compliance costs. I agree with the president that tax reform is necessary, but tax hikes are not the answer.
Our national debt has grown 43 percent in the last three years. We are now at over $15 trillion in national debt — a $4.6 trillion increase over just the last few years. The American people deserve a government committed to limited government and free enterprise, not more spending and borrowing. The president proposed several initiatives tonight which would further increase federal spending; as usual, his proposals are absent the specifics of how costs will be covered without adding to the deficit.
There are several projects that do have bipartisan support, but lack support from the White House. The president announced an ‘all of the above’ strategy for energy, which I support, but it should include the Keystone XL Pipeline, a project that would double U.S. import capacity for Canadian oil sands crude while creating 20,000 direct jobs, stimulating the economy by $7 billion and increasing energy independence.
From Sen. Jim Risch, the key phrase is "campaign mode."
Tonight’s speech was different than President Obama’s previous three versions with him now clearly switching to campaign mode. He talked about the exceptionalism of the American people and how they are the key to our country’s greatness. I agree, and I also agree with many of the ideas he set forth in his speech. Unfortunately, his words tonight did not match the policies he has put forth over the past three years when we have seen record debt, unemployment and layers of new regulation.
We do need to reform our tax structure, but we must work together to make it happen. We need to repeal regulations that stifle businesses from expanding and hiring. We need to get our fiscal house in order and reduce our $15 trillion debt. We must accept the fact that it is the private sector that creates jobs, not the government. Reducing spending and removing job-crushing regulations will provide the stability to encourage the private sector to create more jobs.
2nd Congressional District Rep. Mike Simpson was quick to voice frustration:
I am frustrated that the president persists in playing politics with the issue of tax reform. Dividing Americans for political gain is not tax reform, and putting Band-Aids on our broken tax code does nothing to fix it. What we really need is for Republicans and Democrats to come together to implement fundamental tax reform to bring about a new tax system that lowers the rate and broadens the base, creating a simpler and fairer tax code. This, in conjunction with significant spending reductions and reform of our entitlement programs that are on autopilot spending, would go a long way toward creating the growth necessary to revitalize our economy and bring our deficit under control.
The president talks a lot about job creation, but his policies have done nothing to remove the real roadblocks to true economic recovery. He says he wants to boost American manufacturing, but since his inauguration the Obama administration has proposed over 200 new regulatory actions — many unnecessary — that would each cost our economy over $100 million. Last year the president proposed a budget that did nothing to address the deficit crisis our nation is facing, and Democrats in the Senate haven’t passed a budget in 1,000 days. He hasn’t given us hope of anything better this year, further convincing the American people that their government cannot solve problems.
First Congressional District Rep. Raul Labrador said the speech offered "carefully crafted rhetoric instead of concrete solutions."
President Obama would like Americans to forget that he has been President for the past three years. He’d rather them recall his lofty speeches and empty promises, instead of his failed policies and the continued absence of results. During tonight’s State of the Union address, President Obama reflected upon his achievements, but his rhetoric doesn’t match up to reality.
Last year, President Obama said he would work with us to ease America’s regulatory burden. Instead, he tried to regulate farm dust. He claimed that repairing infrastructure would be a top priority. Instead, he halted the largest infrastructure project in recent memory. He also promised to expand energy production. Instead, he blocked the Keystone XL Pipeline and stalled domestic drilling.
Tonight, President Obama proclaimed America must be “built to last.” He also pledged to end “bailouts,” “handouts” and “copouts.” For yet another year, we heard carefully crafted rhetoric instead of concrete solutions.
While I appreciate President Obama’s willingness to talk about these things, I wish he would be just as willing to act on them.