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Republicans Respond to Obama Speech

Rep. Paul Ryan (file photo)

Rep. Paul Ryan (file photo)

Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin has delivered the Republican response to U.S. President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech, calling for efforts to reduce spending, shrink the size of government and tackle the nation's debt.

Ryan, the new chairman of the House of Representatives Budget Committee, criticized President Obama for presiding over spending that he said plunged the nation deeper into debt.

He also criticized the president's health care reform law, saying it is raising insurance costs and stifling job creation. He said House Republicans will work to replace it with what he described as "fiscally responsible, patient-centered reforms" that reduce costs and expand coverage. Republicans in the House voted for a full repeal of the health care law last week.

Ryan said the nation is approaching a "tipping point," where if the government's growth is left unchecked and unchallenged, America's best century will be considered a time of the past.

He said lawmakers owe people a "better choice" and "different vision" and vowed that a new Republican budget plan will tackle debt reduction, job creation and government reform.

A short time later, Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota made remarks representing the Tea Party. She accused President Obama of overseeing an "unprecedented explosion of government spending and debt." She also promoted cutting the size of government and expressed her belief that the House of Representatives is in the early days of a history-making turn.

Republicans took control of the House in November's midterm elections.

The Tea Party movement developed in earnest last year following an outcry against big government, taxes and President Obama's health care reform.

The movement derives its name from the Boston Tea Party of 1773, when colonists destroyed British tea to protest taxes that were being imposed.