WASHINGTON – The nation cannot afford the spending Democrats have enacted or the tax increases they propose, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said Wednesday in the Republican response to the State of the Union address.
McDonnell, in excerpts of his speech released in advance, said Democratic policies are resulting in an unsustainable level of debt. He said Americans want affordable health care, but they don't want the government to run it.
"Top-down, one-size-fits-all decision-making should not replace the personal choices of free people in a free market, nor undermine the proper role of state and local governments in our system of federalism," McDonnell said.
"All Americans agree, we need a health care system that is affordable, accessible, and high quality," McDonnell said. "But most Americans do not want to turn over the best medical care system in the world to the federal government."
McDonnell is to deliver the Republican response after President Barack Obama's speech Wednesday evening. National GOP leaders picked McDonnell after he was elected in a rout last fall in a state Obama and the Democrats swept in 2008.
Republicans are feeling emboldened following a string of GOP victories at the polls, including a stunning win by Republican Scott Brown last week in a special Senate election in Massachusetts. Since then, Obama has amped up his populist rhetoric and promised a renewed focus on job creation.
Republicans said they want Obama to change more than his rhetoric. They complain that a $787 billion economic stimulus package enacted last year did not do enough to increase employment. And they oppose Obama's plan to let income tax cuts expire next year for families making more than $250,000 a year.
"This isn't about a pivot in terms of his message," said House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio. "I think that most Americans know that actions speak louder than words."
McDonnell will speak live from the Virginia House of Delegates before an audience of about 300 friends, family, supporters and members of his administration.
In a new twist for Republicans, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., will tape a Spanish-language version of the Republican response. Diaz-Balart's speech will be carried by Spanish-language media.
© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.