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

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs