Idaho’s Congressional delegation reacts to President’s “State of the Union” Address
Members of Idaho's all-Republican Congressional delegation were quick to react Tuesday night to President Obama’s televised State of the Union Address.
U.S. Senator Jim Risch stated: “Not surprisingly, the President continued the theme from his inaugural address of more federal government involvement in all aspects of American life. His view has always been to expand the federal reach and to spend more. He looks to enforce a far-left philosophy on all matters rather than focus on individual rights and responsibilities and recognizing, as our founding fathers did, the preeminent role the states have through their sovereign status.
Notwithstanding all of that, I stand ready to work with the president where we can agree to cut government spending, reduce the size and scope of government, stop the borrowing of money and preserve for our children and grandchildren the greatest nation on earth.”
Senator Mike Crapo, the ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee and member of the Senate Budget and Finance Committees, said that the debt crisis is the most pressing issue facing our nation today.
“Over the last four years, our national debt has increased $6 trillion to a massive $16.5 trillion,” Crapo said. “This spending spree needs to stop. The President claims the actions taken in the last two years have nearly solved our fiscal crisis. Nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office recently issued a report stating that the United States is on an unsustainable fiscal path, pointing to spending as the cause. Without a course correction, rising spending will fuel a $9 trillion increase in the gross debt, further slowing growth and hurting millions of Americans.
“The facts are that absent targeted, structural reforms, the Social Security Disability Insurance program will be insolvent before the President leaves office. The Medicare program will be insolvent before our next President leaves office and the Social Security program will be insolvent within a generation. To date, none of the actions taken in recent years by Congress and the White House have had any measureable effect on improving the solvency of these programs, nor will any of the new tax increases proposed by the President. Until we have serious leadership that addresses this looming insolvency head-on, the future of these programs remains at great risk.
“Further, it has been proposed that rather than replace the upcoming sequestration with prioritized cuts, we address our burgeoning debt with yet more tax increases. Excessive taxing and our massive debt are weakening economic growth today, resulting in fewer job openings, smaller paychecks and more dependence on the federal government. We need a comprehensive solution to our nation’s fiscal problems that incorporates discretionary spending reductions, mandatory program reforms and pro-growth reforms to our tax code to improve our economy.
“The President did talk about tax reform tonight, yet his interpretation of tax reform means finding new ways to increase taxes on the American people, rather than comprehensive reform. Tax hikes are not the answer—they will not grow the economy or create jobs. We must dramatically simplify our tax code by eliminating complexity, favoritism and loopholes, broadening the base and significantly lowering the rates. True tax reform would contribute significantly to reducing our national debt and creating jobs.
“There are other actions the President could take immediately to help spur job creation. Beginning construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which has been on hold for several years, would create 20,000 jobs and stimulate the economy by $7 billion. Eliminating excessive regulations like those included in Dodd-Frank, the new health care law and those imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency will promote capital formation and promote investment in American job growth. Americans deserve a government committed to free enterprise and limited government, not more taxing and spending.
“Fiscal reform and economic growth, including reforming the tax code and reining in spending, are keys to job creation and increased global competitiveness, and must be our main focus during the next four years. Real progress can only happen if both parties come together to develop solutions to these serious problems that affect all Americans. We must find agreement on these issues where we can. We must use this opportunity for real reform.”
Idaho’s First District Congressman Raúl Labrador released this statement: "President Obama again laid out a vision of government where Washington, D.C. has the solutions to all of Idaho's problems. Over the last four years, the Obama administration spent nearly $1 trillion of taxpayer money on an economic stimulus package and promulgated regulations that stifled small businesses. The result is unemployment for January 2013 at 7.9% – higher than the 7.8% in January 2009.
"After four years of trying things the president's way, it's now absolutely clear government interference, spending and debt aren't the solution. They're the problem. Too many recent graduates are still out of work. And too many parents can't afford to buy houses and provide for their families. Life's been tough in the Obama economy.
"We create jobs by growing the economy – not growing the government. It's time to get the government out of the way and let the free market work."
And Congressman Mike Simpson weighed by saying: “My disappointment in President Obama isn’t necessarily with his words, it is with his actions. As he has done before, he spoke tonight about reforming our tax code and entitlement programs. Yet when his own deficit reduction commission issued its recommendations, he ran away from them. He talked once again tonight about embracing bi-partisan change, yet he rejected the bi-partisan budget solutions Speaker Boehner put before him last year. He talked once again tonight about growing our economy, but is simultaneously threatening to circumvent the role of Congress in the issuance of new regulations. President Obama gives a good speech, but his actions rarely, if ever, match his words.”