Idaho officials react to State of the Union address

Joe Biden
Posted at 6:59 PM, Mar 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-01 23:39:05-05

During Tuesday night's address, several Idaho elected officials took to social media to share their takes on Biden’s first State of the Union speech - which focused on the nation's current foreign and domestic challenges.

In a letter with 23 Republican governors, Gov. Brad Little criticized the Biden administration's "complete failure" to live up to the president's campaign promises of "uniting the country and restoring America's respect." He further praised the work of Republican-led states for reporting record-low unemployment rates, supporting personal freedoms and supporting local law enforcement agencies.

"While the Democrats continue to look to find new ways to spend money on liberal projects and programs, Republicans are cutting regulations and red tape for small businesses and reducing taxes by putting money back where it belongs—in the pockets of our citizens," Little said in the letter. "The Biden Administration should take note of the successful leadership of Republican governors across America who are getting people back to work, standing up for law enforcement to keep our communities safe, and putting their trust in people, not government."

Idaho First Congressional District U.S. Rep. Russ Fulcher attended Biden's address in person, frequently slamming the president through a series of tweets.

Fulcher took to Twitter to post a photo of the U.S. Capitol surrounded by security fences ahead of the event.

During the hour-long speech, Biden applauded the Ukrainian people for defending their country against attacks from the Russian military. The president also called on U.S. lawmakers to support Ukraine by sending more military equipment and humanitarian aid.

Biden also condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin for the invasion.

"Putin's war was premeditated and unprovoked," he said. "He rejected efforts at diplomacy. He thought the West and NATO wouldn't respond. And he thought he could divide us here at home. Putin was wrong. We were ready."

Biden also stated that Putin would "pay a price" for his actions.

"Throughout our history, we've learned this lesson — when dictators do not pay a price for their aggression, they cause more chaos," Biden said. "They keep moving. And the costs and threats to America and the world keep rising."

On Tuesday, the U.S. banned Russian aircraft from flying in American airspace, copying previous European Union and Canadian decisions. The ban is the latest addition to the list of sanctions implemented against the Russian government in response to the Ukraine invasion.

Related: Sanctions could cause recession in Russia

Republican U.S. Sen. Mike Simpson, who has served Idaho's second congressional district since 1999, shared his grim outlook on Biden's presidency on Tuesday night.

"I find it hard to believe that he did not address American energy independence, which should be an immediate priority for his Administration. President Biden should approve the Keystone XL pipeline now and start approving domestic oil and gas leases," Simpson said in a statement following the address. "We also must begin responsibly mining critical minerals in the United States so that we are not dependent on foreign powers for these vital resources. These are major steps we can take today to make our nation more secure. "

On the Ukraine crisis, Simpson advised the Biden administration to "unleash the full power of crippling sanctions on Russia" and provide Ukraine with "lethal aid" to defend itself.

"The post-World War II world order — and American security — depends on it," he said.

Immediately after Biden's address, seasoned Idaho Republican U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo released a video statement blaming Biden for weakening America's foreign policy through a "botched withdrawal from Afghanistan to the current Russian invasion of Ukraine."

"The challenges of the present time require an immediate shift in focus away from far-left policies that weaken America's economy, national security, and foreign policy strength," Crapo said in the release. "Americans are experiencing the sting of the highest inflation in 40 years, a record-breaking crisis at the southern border, out-of-control crime rates, drastic attempts at federal government overreach and the Left's attacks on American oil and gas and our energy independence."

Crapo's full comments are available here.

Biden recognized rising inflation's impact on goods and services, notably in an uptick in the cost of gas and oil.

Biden and foreign allies agreed to release 60 million barrels of oil from petroleum reserves on Tuesday to counteract the costs.

Biden encouraged American manufacturers to drive up production to bring down inflation — calling on the sense of pride "Made in America" products convey.

"Lower your costs, not your wages," he said. "Make more cars and semiconductors in America. More infrastructure and innovation in America. More goods, moving faster and cheaper in America. More jobs where you can earn a good living in America. And, instead of relying on foreign supply chains, let's make it in America."

Related: Apple stops sales of products in Russia

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In a statement from Republican U.S. Sen. Jim Risch, the longtime Idaho politician said America "needs strong leadership now," citing inflation, immigration, and foreign policies as failures of the administration.

"The President should begin working with Republicans and reasonable people in his own party without delay," Risch said. "If he continues to surrender his agenda to the far left, the state of the union will continue to suffer."

As the U.S. continues into the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, Biden said the nation would "continue to fight" the virus. He announced the new "Test to Treat" initiative that would allow people who test positive for COVID-19 to receive free antiviral pills "on the spot."

Biden also pushed for increased preparedness against future variants, keeping children in school, and sending more COVID-19 vaccines to countries around the globe.

"Let's use this moment to reset. Let's stop looking at COVID-19 as a partisan dividing line and see it for what it is: A God-awful disease," he said. "Let's stop seeing each other as enemies, and start seeing each other for who we really are: Fellow Americans."

A copy of Biden's State of the Union address is available here.