News / USA

US Congress Reacts to Obama Address

President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address on Capitol Hill in Washington, 25 Jan 2011
President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address on Capitol Hill in Washington, 25 Jan 2011

Reaction to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address broke mostly along party lines in Congress, with Democrats reacting more favorably than Republicans.

President Obama’s attempt to unify a divided Congress reflective of a politically-polarized nation got a positive review from Democratic Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee of Texas.

"It [the speech] was innovative, it was exciting.  You could see the president thoughtfully approach how we would move forward," she said. "That is what presidents do.  They lead.  They lay out a vision, a road map, and you are ready to go."

But President Obama’s call for a five-year domestic spending freeze to combat a trillion-dollar federal deficit did not satisfy Republican Representative Steve King of Iowa.

"He [President Obama] still believes in spending money as a recovery tool for this economy.  And, he still believes in nationalizing when he gets the opportunity to do it," said King. "So I think we [Republicans] have a giant fundamental disagreement with the president."

If Mr. Obama is attempting to adopt a more centrist tone to appeal to Republicans, the effort has not won over Arizona Congressman Trent Franks.

"He took a hard, hard turn to the center.  And, if the people believe that he means that, then shame on them," said Franks.

Despite partisan divides, not all Republican reaction was negative, and not all Democratic reaction was positive.  Representative King praised some of the president’s words on foreign affairs.

"The president’s remarks on Iraq were very good.  They were inspiring," added King. "They articulate the level of accomplishment and sacrifice.  And, the statement on Afghanistan, when he said of the enemy ‘we will defeat you’ -- that was a strong point in his speech."

At the opposite end of the political spectrum, Representative Jackson-Lee worries about the impact of a federal spending freeze on programs for the poor and disadvantaged.

"We have a vulnerable population in America.  We have to worry about those individuals who would be lost without the support, the helping hand of the federal government," said Jackson-Lee.

The speech came in the wake of a mass-shooting in Arizona that nearly claimed a congresswoman’s life.  In a show of unity and an attempt to erase partisan barriers, many members of Congress of one party exchanged seats with colleagues of another, rather than separating along party lines.  Democratic Representative Jim McDermott of Washington state noted a change in atmosphere during this State of the Union address, compared to speeches of the past.

"This was a somber evening, started by the acknowledgment of our comrade and colleague [Representative Gabrielle] Giffords," he said. "I think there was a different tone in the room and people understand that we have to work together if we are going to make this country work."

Any sense of camaraderie achieved during the State of the Union address will be put to the test as a Republican-led House of Representatives attempts to work with the a Democratically-controlled Senate and White House over the next two years.

You May Like

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid