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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Troops Depart

Afghans are grappling with how exodus will affect country's fragile economy More

Video Scientists Say We Need Softer Robots

Today’s robots are mostly hard, rigid machines, with sharp edges and forceful movements, but researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say they should be softer and therefore safer 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs