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

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL 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.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid