Kentucky’s Congressional delegation reacts to State of the Union

Here is the reaction from some of our Kentucky Congressional Delegation following President Obama’s State of the Union Address.

Here is the reaction from some of our Kentucky Congressional Delegation following President Obama’s State of the Union Address.

Sen. Mitch McConnell, (R-KY) 

 

Text of Senator McConnell's speech:

“As always, we appreciate the President coming to the Capitol last night. I take him at his word when he says he wants to work with us on issues that benefit the nation — and in particular, to grow jobs.

“I’d like to speak this morning about out two areas in particular that meet the criteria of bipartisan achievements and job growth: Agreements to increase our exports, and finding more American energy.

“The President called for increased exports and for the Congress to pass trade agreements that have languished under the current majority in the Senate. Republicans agree with the need to increase trade and with the need to ratify trade agreements with Colombia and other important trading partners that so far have met resistance on the other side of the aisle. 

“We also support passing a sensible bill to help Pakistan establish Reconstruction Opportunity Zones that actually increase trade and do not impose self defeating restrictions.

“We agree with the President’s call to pass these agreements. We agree that these agreements will lead to more American jobs.  The Congress should act on these agreements.

“The President also called for producing more American energy. This is an area with a huge opportunity for American jobs that can’t be sent overseas.

  • We agree with his call for more clean energy produced here in America.
  • We agree with his call for building more nuclear plants.
  • We agree with his call for increased offshore exploration for oil and gas.
  • We agree with his call for the development of clean coal technologies.

“We should build a new generation of clean nuclear plants in this country. Senate Republicans support building 100 new plants as quickly as possible—we hope Democrats will join us in that effort, particularly now with the President’s call to action.

“And the President could start by moving forward on the nuclear loan guarantee program that was included in the bipartisan 2005 energy bill.  He could also put forward a plan for dealing with the waste that comes from these plants in a safe, secure manner.

“The President and I agree on the need to meet in the middle to find bipartisan agreement to grow jobs. I’ve outlined two specific areas where the President and Republicans in Congress agree. We know that increased American energy— without a new national energy tax will grow good jobs.

“We know that increasing markets overseas for our farmers, entrepreneurs and manufacturers through trade agreements will grow good jobs. We can get these done, and I hope the President will join us in calling on the majority to bring these issues to the floor.

“One thing we had hoped to hear more about from the President last night was the administration's handling of the attempted Christmas Day bombing.

“After 9/11 all Americans recognized the need to create and coordinate myriad tools of defense, security, and intelligence to protect us from future attacks. That's why Americans are so troubled by the fact that the administration seems to have lost sight of this essential requirement of national security out of a preoccupation with reading the Christmas Day bomber his Miranda rights.

“Apparently there was little, if any, coordination among key components of the administration’s national security apparatus on how to treat this terrorist who nearly killed three hundred innocent people over Detroit on Christmas Day. Shockingly, the administration then made the hasty decision to treat him as a civilian defendant—including advising him of a right to remain silent—rather than as an intelligence resource to be thoroughly interrogated in order to obtain potentially life-saving information. 

“Republicans have issued a letter to Attorney General Holder demanding answers to some of the vital questions that arise out of administration's handling of this attempted attack. It is critical that American have a full and timely understanding of the policy and legal rationale upon which the ill-advised decisions surrounding this narrowly averted calamity were made.

“Until these concerns are addressed, Republicans will continue to raise them on behalf of the American people.”

 

Sen. Jim Bunning, (R-KY)

"In his State of the Union address tonight President Obama stressed the creation of jobs. The President must first fix his own economic team by withdrawing the nomination of Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and firing Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. Both have shown during the course of the last year that they favor Wall Street over Main Street.

"When the President took office, Kentucky’s unemployment rate was at 7.6 percent, and it is now at 10.7 percent. The President’s policies have hurt Kentucky’s working families by not providing jobs as was promised in the so-called stimulus bill that passed early last year. In fact, the President’s so-called stimulus bill was a $1 trillion bust for the American taxpayer. The effects of which will be felt by many generations to come.

"We must continue the middle class tax cuts and not let them expire, as well as take a no-excuses approach to the federal government’s budget and cut out needless programs. Putting a freeze on discretionary spending for the next three years is a step in the right direction, but it would have been better if the President had done this last year before accruing a $1.35 trillion debt during his first year in office. At the core of the problem is entitlement programs and if the government does not figure out how to curb them then our national debt will continue to soar."

 

5th District Congressman Hal Rogers, (R-KY)

Text of Congressman Roger's statement.

“While I welcome President Obama’s efforts to reign in spending and reduce the deficit, I’m skeptical of his new-found rhetoric.  This is, after all, the same President who has brought this country to the brink of bankruptcy with his irresponsible spending policies of the last year.  His trillion dollar stimulus has been a total failure, with over 3 million jobs lost since its passage.  

His liberal allies in Congress have increased spending some 85% over the last 2 years, tried to steamroll a disastrous “Cap and Trade” and government run health care bill down our throats, and have proposed raising taxes on our hardworking families.  The time for action has long since passed, and I’m disappointed the President is just now coming to the table.  

We need to focus on creating jobs and helping Americans get back on their feet.  That comes with hard work, not another speech filled with empty promises.

 

3rd District Congressman John Yarmuth, (D-KY)

“It has been clear to me for some time that the greatest problem faced by those who hold public office is not one of policy or message, but credibility, which the President addressed tonight. Louisvillians sent me to Congress to make the economy work for everyone, to achieve real health care reform, and to ensure their interests will never be trumped by special interests. I am encouraged the President is committed to giving the people of this country the government they deserve and pay for, and I look forward to continuing that fight.”

 

1st District Congressman Ed Whitfield, (R-KY)

“As Americans across the country tuned in to watch President Obama deliver his annual State of the Union Address, many of my fellow Kentuckians spent the evening worrying about how they are going to put food on the table, pay their bills, or find a job. With the unemployment rate in the Commonwealth still at a staggering 10.7%, there is no question that many residents of the First Congressional District are still struggling to get by.

 

“During these challenging times, it is more important than ever for Democrats and Republicans to come together to deliver commonsense solutions that will put Americans back to work. While I appreciate President Obama reiterating his commitment to bipartisanship, the proof will be in the pudding if in the coming year the President, Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Reid at long last reach across the aisle to incorporate the very best ideas from both parties. It has become abundantly clear that the American people are opposed to many of the sweeping changes the Administration has advocated this year and are concerned about the impact these proposals will have on their families. Moving forward, I hope that President Obama will heed the call of the American people and work with Democrats and Republicans to implement change which will put our citizens back to work and turn our economy around.

 

Spending

“There is perhaps no greater threat to the future of our nation and the well-being of our citizens than the federal government’s runaway spending habits and consequent record deficit. Since President Obama took office, federal spending has increased by 22% - putting us at the highest spending levels this nation has ever seen. Freezing spending at this level, while better than increasing it, will not get our country back on a path to fiscal solvency. It is time for us to make some hard decisions regarding federal spending before our national debt becomes an insurmountable burden for future generations. I am committed to reining in spending and reducing our national debt and will continue to do all that I can to ensure Washington starts living within its means.”

 

Healthcare

“Public outcry against President Obama’s and Speaker Pelosi’s healthcare proposal has been loud and clear, particularly in the First Congressional District. While we are all committed to bringing down costs and ensuring every American has access to quality healthcare, the bills pushed through the House and Senate last year are simply not the way to do it. We need to enact reform that lowers premiums for working families and small businesses and leads to expanded access to affordable healthcare coverage for all Americans without increasing taxes, cutting benefits to seniors or raising the federal deficit. Moving forward, I hope the President and Members of Congress from both parties can come together and work openly toward reforms the American people can support.

 

War on Terror

“I share the President’s commitment to maintaining stability in the Middle East and eliminating terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Having recently traveled to Afghanistan, I understand just how challenging the road ahead will be. The nation is deeply fractured and without the security being provided by U.S. forces, there is little doubt that the Taliban would take over. However, we must remember that the ultimate success or failure of our efforts will depend on the Afghan people. They and they alone must be responsible for establishing a government to protect their people and ensure a successful future for their nation.

 

“Our brave military men and women, many from Fort Campbell, continue to serve on the front lines as we root out terrorists abroad and work to keep Americans safe here at home. I share the President’s commitment to ensuring they have the resources they need to fight the war on terror and the benefits they and their families have more than earned when they return.”

 

2nd District Congressman Brett Guthrie, (R-KY)

“I appreciate the President’s message; I am pleased to see that finally after a year we are starting to focus on jobs and the economy. I think that is so important. Everywhere I go in the second district we talk about jobs and the economy.

 

“I liked the fact that he is beginning to look at the freeze on spending. I think that is just a first, very small step. The problem is, since I was elected, I voted against the stimulus bill, the omnibus spending bill, and most of the appropriations bills, because they have increased spending 67 percent.

 

“So, it’s increased spending 67 percent, and now we are freezing it at the increase. We should go back and fund at previous levels.

 

“We just got a new report from the Congressional Budget Office of a 1.35 trillion dollar deficit. It says in the report that these kinds of deficits are unsustainable and that’s the biggest concern. So, the freeze is the beginning. Hopefully it’s a sense of new direction. Hopefully the actions will follow the words.”

 

 

 

 4th District Congressman Geoff Davis, (R-KY)

“For more than a year, American families and businesses have called upon the President and Congress to produce real solutions that will reduce our soaring unemployment rate and foster widespread job creation.  Instead of listening to the voice of the people, President Obama and the Democrat Majority have chosen to follow a dangerous path of unsustainable spending, record debt, and bigger government. 

“It will take much more than rhetoric to undo the damage that has been done by the Administration and the Speaker’s record of fiscal irresponsibility.  A spending freeze after an unprecedented 66% increase in spending last year is not enough.  A spending freeze after allowing the national debt to balloon to $12.3 trillion dollars is not enough.  A spending freeze while trying to push a wildly unpopular government takeover of health care that could cost taxpayers upwards of a trillion dollars is unacceptable.  

“We need a new direction in Washington.  Instead of more broken promises to cut wasteful spending and reduce the deficit, it is past time for President Obama and Democrat Leaders to respond to the demands of the American people. 

“Actions speak louder than words.  My Republican colleagues and I remain ready to work across the aisle on crafting responsible policies that will encourage job creation, reduce spending, increase our competitiveness, and return our economy to stable footing.”

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 What did you think about President Obama’s State of the Union Address?  Let me know your thoughts.

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