U.S. Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state focused on addressing what she called "opportunity inequality" as she gave the Republican response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech.
She said Mr. Obama is focused instead on inequalities in income, and that his administration's policies are widening the gap between where people's lives stand now and where they want to be.
"Because our mission, not only as Republicans, but as Americans, is to once again ensure that we are not bound by where we come from, but empowered by what we can become."
The congresswoman said Republicans have plans to add jobs without increasing government spending, and to improve education and training programs to better prepare people for the workforce.
She also said Republicans want to let workers keep more of their paychecks through lower taxes, and more affordable energy and healthcare.
"We hope the president will join us in a year of real action by empowering people, not by making their lives harder with unprecedented spending, higher taxes and fewer jobs."
She briefly highlighted a desire to address the nation's immigration system, saying reforms must begin by securing the country's borders.
Senator Mike Lee of Utah represented the conservative tea party in giving his own response Tuesday, blaming government policies for inequality. He discussed proposals to reform the criminal justice system and healthcare, and plans to improve education and transportation as ways to help Americans by both cutting spending and making government work better.