Americans today are faced with economic uncertainty, and they are right to expect leadership from their elected representatives in Washington. President Obama touched on many important issues, but actions speak louder than words. While some might have been impressed with his delivery, I contend that he must be judged on his policies.
I do not blame the President for the difficulties he inherited when he took office, but I do hold him accountable for the ineffective, expensive, job-killing policies he has forced onto the American people over the last three years. Has he forgotten about the first two years of his presidency when almost all of his economic policies were implemented with the help of a Democrat-controlled Congress? For two years, Democrats controlled the White House and both houses of Congress, and if the President wanted to do something to fix the housing crisis, address student loans, reform immigration policy, and promote a comprehensive energy policy, or work towards any of the goals he brought up tonight, he could have easily done so. His inaction proves that the things he called priorities in last night's address were not high on his list at the time.
It is time for President Obama to face the facts ? his policies have failed and are making our economy worse. Our debt has reached record heights under his watch, and unemployment has exceeded 8 percent every month that he has been in office. Many of the challenges the President mentioned tonight were created here in Washington by expanding the size and scope of the federal government and increasing the debt limit in hopes of turning the economy around. As we have learned, however, throwing money at our problems is not the right approach to restoring economic prosperity.
The President should stand behind his bipartisan pledges and work with Congress to find ways to enact change that will truly put us on the path to prosperity.
I was glad to hear the President address the need to increase our production of domestic energy, and I am pleased that there is already a bipartisan framework in Congress to spur the production and use of natural gas called the NAT GAS Act. Energy independence plays a vital role in America's national security, and this bill represents a step in the right direction towards decreasing our dependence on imported energy sources. However, I wish the President would listen to his own concerns and the recommendations of his own ?blue-ribbon? commission and reverse his decision to halt construction on the Keystone XL Pipeline. Instead, he pays lip service to energy security.
I also applaud the President?s call for fiscal responsibility, but we have heard all of this before and the American people demand action, not just more of the same. We must rein in spending from Washington to begin paying off our enormous debt and live within our means. At last year?s State of the Union, President Obama called for the merging of federal agencies to reduce duplicative functions and waste. I proposed bills that would accomplish this goal, and I hope that the Administration will consider this approach and urge the Majority in the Senate to act.
However, fiscal responsibility will never be achieved without a sound, responsible federal budget. It has been 1,000 days since the Senate passed an annual budget, and this is simply unacceptable. I was disappointed that the President announced that he is once again delaying his budget recommendations for the coming fiscal year. Annual budgets are absolutely vital to get our fiscal house in order, rein in government spending, and put our economy back on the right track. Even more, we should work towards a balanced budget amendment to restore the confidence in our government and our economy. Instead, the President pays lip service to fiscal responsibility.
I was also happy to hear the President discuss the need to make the tax system more equitable and less burdensome on middle class families and small businesses. There are ways to accomplish this goal without raising taxes on job creators. Raising taxes on American families is a non-starter, but we can simplify the tax code and eliminate tax loopholes so that small businesses in North Carolina aren?t paying more than large corporations who take advantage of the loopholes in our system.
The President?s State of the Union address sounded a lot like speeches we have heard from him since he took office, but words alone are not enough to turn our economy around and put the American people back to work. I hope he will heed his own advice and work to advance policies that help instead of hurt and promote growth rather than stifle it.
"A pen in the hand of this president is far more dangerous than a gun in the hands of 200 million law-abiding citizens."