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

US Border Patrol Union Accused of Taking Sides on Immigration

Report alleges agents leaking info to immigration opponents, appearing at their private events; Center for Immigration Studies director defends agents' actions More

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Reporting from Somali capital for past decade, Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal has been working at one of Mogadishu's leading radio stations covering parliament More

Video Rights Monitor: Hate Groups' Use of Internet to Inflame, Recruit Growing

Wiesenthal Center's Abraham Cooper says extremists have become skilled at celebrating violence, ideology on Web 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.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs