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Iowa Republican Reaction to State of the Union Address

The Republican members of Iowa’s Congressional Delegation sounded off about President Obama’s State of the Union address last night.

Representative Steve King:

President Obama has said to us, American citizens, that we do not have a spending problem with our Federal Government. Here tonight he laid out a series of things that are spending problems that we have and the President is determined to grow the United States government. When he does that, all the growth that we would have in our government spending comes from borrowing.

We’re right now borrowing 40 cents out of every dollar that we’re spending. The President’s pushing for more, it results in tax increases. We have to stop the irresponsible spending. It’s the most important piece of this message that I glean from listening to the President. We don’t have a spending problem? Yes, we do Mr. President.

Here’s a video reaction:


Representative Tom Latham:

As the economy has gone almost 50 months with unemployment at or above 7.8 percent, shrunk 0.1 percent in the last quarter and continued to suffer the plague of a runaway $16 trillion debt, Official Washington’s focus must remain on promoting job growth and fiscal responsibility. It would betray our nation’s exceptional tradition to accept grim economic news and unrestrained spending as just part of life in the new America.

Iowans by their nature are humble and accountable, and they exercise commonsense judgment in their daily lives. I will continue to bring these values to my service in Congress and stand ready to work with any of my colleagues, regardless of party affiliation, to put people before politics and progress before partisanship to solve the urgent problems facing our country today.

Senator Chuck Grassley:

President Obama is a talented speaker and his White House has proven to be politically skilled.  At the start of the President’s second term, America needs the White House to set aside its campaign apparatus and take the lead with bipartisan discussions and policy work.  People at the grass roots know our country can’t afford to have those in charge in Washington continue putting off the hard work.

The biggest challenge facing America since President Obama was elected has been the economy and jobs.  By and large, the President’s programs have been enacted and in a partisan way.  The programs haven’t worked, with Americans facing an unemployment rate higher than 7.5 percent through next year.  America’s credit rating was downgraded for the first time ever.  Yet in his Inaugural address three weeks ago, the President barely mentioned the economy and jobs.

Employers need Washington to create an environment for job creation, with tax certainty, regulatory relief, new market opportunities for exports, affordable and secure energy, an education system that works, and fiscal responsibility with public dollars, including an effort to reform entitlement programs.  If structural reforms aren’t made, we won’t be able to keep the promise already made, as the President said, to future generations.  Growing deficits and debt are moral issues, too, because if we don’t act to curb excessive government spending, our children and grandchildren won’t inherit the same opportunities we did to work hard, earn a living, and build a better life.

Americans also need bipartisan leadership on other big issues.  Historically, major reforms have been made with broad-based bipartisan backing.  That kind of support ought to be the goal for initiatives like immigration reform and other priorities, including gun violence and protecting the 2nd Amendment, transportation, and national and homeland security.  In addition, policy changes should be made through elected representatives in Congress, who are the voice of the people in our system of government and can be held accountable more directly than the executive branch of our government.  Transparency must be a reality not just rhetoric.  Abuse of executive authority jeopardizes the checks and balances fundamental to our democracy and government of, by, and for the people.

Strong leadership takes more than lofty words and goals presented in a speech.  It takes the hard work of sitting down with people with different points of view to work through the issues.  It takes fighting for ideas and finding consensus.  It takes sweating the details.  The coming months will show if the President has what it takes to reach across party lines and tackle major issues facing this great nation.

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