U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida focused on economic issues as he gave the Republican response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address.
Rubio stressed the benefits of a "free enterprise economy" to grow the nation's middle class, instead of policies "bestowed" by the federal government.
The Cuban-American rebutted criticism that opposing the president's policies means siding with millionaires. He says Mr. Obama's policies would hurt immigrants by creating tax increases that may lead to the loss of benefits and jobs.
Rubio says "economic growth is the best way to help the middle class," and that such growth could help reduce the nation's budget deficit. He says tax increases cannot do the same and that Mr. Obama is promoting a "failed idea" of a government that taxes and spends more to solve its problems.
He singled out the president's health care reform as a example of programs that "claim to help the lower class," but often end up hurting.
Rubio backed a legal immigration system for attracting what he called "the best and the brightest" to come to America. He says the country needs a responsible system for dealing with illegal immigrants, as well as enforcement of immigration laws and efforts to secure the country's borders.
The senator says the United States must effectively deal with a "rise of violence," but not by violating Constitutional rights to own guns.
Senator Rand Paul also highlighted economic issues in giving a response for the conservative Tea Party.
He stressed the need for Washington to adopt a balanced budget and urged Congress to pass a Constitutional amendment to limit taxing and spending.
Paul also called for an end to foreign aid to what he called "countries that are burning our flag and chanting 'Death to America,' as well as a halt to providing military assistance to "Islamic radicals" in Egypt.