News / USA

US Lawmakers React to Obama Address

President Barack Obama gives his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, February 12, 2013.
President Barack Obama gives his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, February 12, 2013.
Michael Bowman
Lawmakers’ reaction to presidential speeches often cuts along partisan and ideological lines, and President Obama’s State of the Union address was no exception. Democrats warmed to his proposals; Republicans much less so.

Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire had high praise for President Obama’s economic proposals.

“I was pleased to hear him talk about what we need to do to improve the economy and create jobs, the investment in infrastructure, making sure that we have the human capital that we need,” said Shaheen.

New Hampshire’s other senator, Republican Kelly Ayotte, appreciated Obama’s acknowledgment that costly programs that provide income and health care for retirees will have to be reformed. But she is skeptical about the president’s proposed initiatives to boost America's economic vitality.

“He mentioned a number of new items on spending tonight. I did not hear how we are going to pay for them,” said Ayotte.

In fact, the president promised that his proposals would not increase the federal deficit. But that misses a larger point, according to Republican Congressman James Langford.

“He said, ‘All of my programs will not add a dime to the deficit’. And, I thought, ‘Not adding a dime to the deficit is not the goal here," said Langford. "Reducing the deficit by about ten trillion dimes is really the goal here.’”

On the other hand, Democratic Congressman Peter DeFazio wants to see even more government action to spur the economy than what Obama put forward.

“He certainly talked about the need for additional federal investment in infrastructure. The number was too low, but he talked about it,” said DeFazio.

On foreign affairs, Democratic Congressman Chris Van Hollen applauded President Obama’s commitment to end the war in Afghanistan.

“Our strategy all along has been to hand off responsibility [for security] to the Afghans," said Van Hollen. "The United States cannot be in Afghanistan militarily forever.”

But Republican Congressman Trent Franks fears the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan is premature.

“The objective is to prevail and come home, not only in victory, but in a way that leaves a secure environment behind that is not conducive to creating more terrorism that could threaten us in the future," said Franks.

Democratic Congressman Keith Ellison says Franks’ concerns are unfounded.

“He [Obama] affirmed that we are not going to abandon Afghanistan," said Ellison. "We are not going to leave them without training, without backup, without a real partnership with the United States.”

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham says there are areas where his party can work with the president, but added that Obama is the chief steward of the nation’s fortunes.

“He owns this economy. I will stand with him to do immigration reform. I will stand behind him to help find an insurance policy against Afghanistan falling apart like Iraq is. But, at the end of the day, this is his legacy," said Graham. "And, what happens economically and throughout the world foreign policy-wise, he owns more than anybody else.”

President Obama set forth his vision for the future. Congress will decide whether that vision becomes law.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: jimd
February 14, 2013 2:00 AM
Why did it take Obama 4 years to realize we have economic problems? Is he really that slow?


by: Ben
February 13, 2013 1:39 PM
Obama`s economic plans appeared the disaster : ruinous Obama-care,failed "green" economics,working-places created for the hundreds of dollars each - the well-known features of the socialist elefant in the crockery bench.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
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.


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