Albany, Ga -The State of the Union is usually an opportunity for members of congress to score political points by either agreeing or disagreeing with topics brought up by the president. Last nights was no exception as Sanford Bishop, Johnny Isakson and outgoing senator Saxby Chambliss sent out statements regarding President Obama’s speech.
From Representative Sanford Bishop (GA – 2):
“The President summarized the nation’s stark challenges in an impressive and measured speech this evening. The President believes, as I do, that the economy grows when the middle class is strengthened—that when small business and our infrastructure are supported, jobs are created—and that the only way to balance our budget is to reach across the aisle and come to an agreement.
“Unfortunately, we find ourselves in a tough situation. Education and training initiatives are underfunded, high unemployment rates persist, and the federal government continues to sink deeper in debt. Sequester looms on the horizon while the current state of government seems to be mired in partisan bickering.
“There remain many differences to be worked out in Washington, not only between Democrats and Republicans but also between the President and Congress. While opposing sides may reasonably disagree within debate, there comes a time when we must find a middle ground and advance the agenda. Otherwise, our nation strays towards stagnation.
“And yet, I believe we will find a way. I look forward to Congress working in a bipartisan and bicameral fashion with the Administration in tackling those challenges the President has presented. Truly, the future of the Union will depend on government working in a reasonable manner to put the interests of hard-working American families first and foremost so we get our fiscal house in order and move forward, together as a nation.”
Senator Saxby Chambliss, who announced his retirement last month, had the following to say:
“I am pleased that President Obama is once again pivoting to jobs, but was disappointed in his larger message. Bigger government and more spending are not the keys to American prosperity. To create more jobs and a better quality of life for all Americans, we must tame our debt and deficit while getting our nation’s spending under control. Instead of trying to grow government and raise taxes yet again during a time of economic hardship, we should be enacting meaningful legislation that reforms entitlements, simplifies the tax code and cuts spending.”
The junior senator from Georgia, Johnny Isakson, offered up his own comments regarding the president’s speech:
“The president said that he is pivoting to jobs. While I agree that creating jobs is a top priority, I believe that the most important jobs are private sector jobs. We need to empower the private sector by having more predictable and less burdensome regulations. We addressed taxes in January, but now it’s time to cut spending and get our fiscal house in order. We have too many government jobs and not enough private sector jobs. If we are serious about turning the economy around, we must focus on this area.
“Sequestration is going to happen, and it is going to happen because the president has failed to lead on this issue. I hope that the president will lead and demonstrate the places where we can make meaningful cuts, the places where we can find savings and the places that we can have greater efficiency. He’s the president, he needs to lead.
“The president talked about the need to improve our education system and to that end, I am glad that he is coming to Atlanta on Thursday to visit Georgia’s pre-k program as a shining example of state education improvement in this country. I emphasize ‘state education’ because the main role of government is at the local level and at the state level, not at the federal level. With the exception of our poorest kids and those with disabilities, there are really no federal roles in education, except to ensure the education of our children.”
To observers, it appears as though Rep. Bishops belief that a middle ground will be found may just be a pipe dream as Republicans and Democrats alike point the fingers across the aisle, assigning blame to the other party.