Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, focused largely on government budgets and jobs, elicited strong negative reactions from conservatives and liberals alike.
Last night, President Obama offered more solutions on reining in the country’s debt. He suggested simplifying the nation’s tax code and cutting oil subsidies to pay for investments in bio-technology and fuel alternatives.
He identified excessive spending in the areas of domestic, defense, and health care. He also proposed a $400 billion-dollar freeze in domestic spending and medical malpractice reform.
Still, his speech was not enough to satisfy critics. GOP respondents still labeled Obama a spend-a-holic who was unable, in the midst of a spike in joblessness, to relinquish the government purse strings.
Republicans did, however, praise the president on some points in his speech. In response to the address, newly elected Tea Party candidate Rand Paul (R-Ky.) praised Obama for attempting to take on the country’s budgetary woes.
“President Obama clearly realizes the problem,” he conceded.
In the official GOP rebuttal, U.S. House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan also admitted that the president rightly focused on the economy and jobs.
However, Ryan also reminded the American public that Obama has had nearly four years to restore the economy, and that his chosen method to do so has been to authorize spending increases.
“Since taking office, President Obama has signed into law spending increases of nearly 25 percent for domestic government agencies - an 84 percent increase when you include the failed stimulus,” he highlighted.
Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann (R), who gave a response for the Tea Party Express, pointed out just how Obama’s method failed to repair the economy.
“The president’s strategy was to spend a trillion dollars on a failed stimulus program fueled by borrowed money. The White House promised us that all the spending would keep the employment rate under 8 percent. Not only did that plan fail to deliver, but within three months, the national jobless rate spiked to 9.4 percent,” stated Bachmann.
Ryan asserted the president’s address indicates that he will continue spending despite the slumping economy.
“All of this new government spending was sold as ‘investment.’ Yet after two years, the unemployment rate remains above 9 percent and government has added over $3 trillion to our debt,” he said.
Obama’s investments included infrastructure, energy and education, which the president states are critical to maintaining America’s leading edge.
House Majority Leader John Boehner expressed agreement with the president on the issue of education and is scheduled to announce today the roll out of a bill restoring the Opportunity Scholarship Program.
Republicans also rose and clapped in agreement when the president mentioned the curbing medical malpractice lawsuits and working on strong immigration reform during his State of the Union address.
By contrast, gay rights groups have criticized the president for not demanding even more reforms for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.
Robin McGehee, director of GetEQUAL said in a statement, “Tonight, President Obama missed an opportunity to lay out an agenda and strategy that continues progress made toward LGBT equality – removing the burden of being second-class citizens and acknowledging our families.”
During the speech, the president touted that the military is now receptive to openly homosexual soldiers and recruits. While Obama has expressed some changing views regarding homosexual issues, including same-sex relationships, his press secretary Robert Gibbs maintains publicly that the president believes in civil unions.
Still, GOP members remain adamant that the president must repeal the 2010 health care reform law.
“We believe a renewed commitment to limited government will unshackle our economy and create millions of new jobs and opportunities for all people,” urged Ryan.
Republicans have long established through the name of the health care reform bill, the Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act, that they believe that Obamacare will force business owners to halt growth and lay off employees in order to cope with the bill’s mandate to ensure workers.
During his address, Obama again stressed that he will not sign a health care repeal bill.
“If you have ideas about how to improve this law by making care better or more affordable, I am eager to work with you,” declared Obama.
Still he warned, “What I’m not willing to do is go back to the days when insurance companies could deny someone coverage because of a pre-existing condition.”