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

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed 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.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs