Boehner, Republicans: Obama's SOTU Threats 'Don't Add Up to Much'

Image: Boehner, Republicans: Obama's SOTU Threats 'Don't Add Up to Much'

Wednesday, 29 Jan 2014 04:51 AM

By Newsmax Wires

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
At the dawn of an election year, congressional Republicans responded quickly and forcefully to President Barack Obama's nationally televised vow to act on his own if lawmakers won't cooperate on "creating new jobs, not creating new crises" in a nation with a yawning income gap.

"The president must understand his power is limited by our Constitution, and the authority he has doesn't add up to much for those without opportunity in this economy," House Speaker John Boehner said Tuesday night after Obama's State of the Union address before a packed House chamber and a prime-time television audience.

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama's Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll

"The real answer is for Obama to refocus his priorities and work with us on the things that we can achieve together to create jobs and promote greater opportunity," added the speaker, who leads the House Republican majority in a politically divided government.

Hoping to gain the political initiative, Obama summoned lawmakers to create jobs, overhaul immigration laws, combat climate change and more, and said he would act unilaterally where possible if they won't compromise.

"America does not stand still, and neither will I," the president declared. "So whatever and wherever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that's what I'm going to do."

But on Newsmax TV
, conservative analysts Dick Morris and Allen West said Obama set off the "liar light" in an extremely confrontational speech.

"What I saw, it was carefully selected political fights that really put the Republicans in a tough position along the lines of income inequality, minimum wage, unemployment benefits, and women's pay," said West, a former Republican representative from Florida. "He was very confrontational. When you ask me about humility, I didn't see any of it."

Morris, meanwhile, found that Obama's lack of admission to the numerous errors surrounding the Affordable Care Act rollout was tantamount to being "ashamed" without having to apologize.

"I mean it's his signature program and he let the whole speech go by before he talked about it. I've written two State of the Union speeches. My attitude here is that this one was very boring, very hard to listen [to]," added Morris, a former adviser to President Clinton, saying the address lacked the strength of presenting "bite-sized achievements" while going overboard on "trying to govern through executive action."

Democratic political analyst and pollster Doug Schoen told Newsmax that the address was largely "a rehash of what we've heard before: 'thank you very much, goodnight.'"

"It provided nothing that will demonstrate leadership to the American people," he said. "He made a real effort to connect with people by using individual examples, but I'm not sure if he achieved much of anything."

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., had sharp criticism for the president’s expanded authority.

“I think it’s unfortunate, I think it’s divisive and quite frankly, borderline unconstitutional on many of those issues,” Rubio told Politico. “I understand the [legislative] process takes long and can be frustrating, but I think it truly undermines the republic.”

Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., also told Politico the president requested more controversial pieces of legislation — like immigration reform — than he did when Democrats controlled both chambers of Congress.

ObamaCare:
You Can Win With The Facts

“Suddenly he wants things that Republicans won’t give him that he didn’t ask Democrats to do — it seems like a lot of theatrics,” Huelskamp said to Politico. Huelskamp said he joked with fellow members that he’s going to file legislation that doesn’t require a presidential signature.

The speech behind him, the president was setting out on a traditional round of travel, beginning Wednesday with visits to suburban Maryland to highlight his call for raising the minimum wage and to Pittsburgh to build support for improved retirement security.

For their part, House Republicans were departing for a two-day retreat on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Obama's promise to wield his presidential power was certain to be part of the discussion — and so, too, ways to gain concessions from the White House in exchange for increasing the nation's $17 trillion debt ceiling.

From Boehner down, there was little evidence they intended to move Obama's way.

"Too many people are falling further and further behind because, right now, the president's policies are making people's lives harder," Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers said in the Republicans' official response.

The State of the Union speech came at the beginning of the sixth year in Obama's presidency and was replete with all the political pageantry that Washington can muster. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg opened her arms wide to give a grinning Obama a huge hug as he walked past her on the way to the speaker's rostrum.

The galleries ringing the floor were crowded with guests, also part of the traditional setting. But in the evening's most stirring moment the longest — and most bipartisan — applause went to one of them. Army Sgt. 1st Class Cory Remsburg, grievously injured by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan, acknowledged the cheers from his seat next to first lady Michelle Obama.

By contrast, Obama's mention of the health care law that bears his name brought cheers from Democrats and silence from Republicans, who have spent the past three years trying to repeal a program they loathe.

He said he didn't expect Republicans to change their minds but challenged them to offer improvements. "If you have specific plans to cut costs, cover more people and increase choice — tell America what you'd do differently. Let's see if the numbers add up.

"But let's not have another 40-something votes to repeal a law that's already helping millions of Americans."

Republicans have yet to offer a comprehensive health care alternative, and the remarks appeared to be an attempt by the president to frame the issue to his party's advantage in the long campaign ahead for control of Congress.

Similarly, Obama's heavy emphasis on income disparity underscored the importance pocketbook issues will have in Congress this year and in the election in November.

"Opportunity is who we are. And the defining project of our generation is to restore that promise," he said.

Obama announced before the speech that he would soon sign an order raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour for federal contractors. He urged Congress to make it the law of the land — even though Republicans had already rejected the proposal as a threat to those at the bottom of the wage ladder.

Among the president's other executive initiatives is a plan to help workers whose employers don't offer retirement savings plans. The program would allow first-time savers to start building up savings in Treasury bonds that eventually could be converted into traditional IRAs.

The president also announced new commitments from companies to consider hiring the long-term unemployed; the creation of four more "manufacturing hubs" where universities and businesses would work together to develop and train workers; new incentives to encourage truckers to switch from dirtier fuels to natural gas or other alternatives; and a proposed tax credit to promote the adoption of cars that can run on cleaner fuels, such as hydrogen, natural gas or biofuels.

In a speech that ran slightly more than an hour, Obama said he would streamline the approval process for key transportation projects — but made no mention of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that Republicans want built.

In one area where bipartisanship is most likely, he urged enactment of legislation to promote trade.

Much of the balance of the president's agenda has run aground on partisanship before, and will be hard to accomplish in an election year.

"Let's get immigration done this year," he said, although House Republicans have already ruled out his call to create a path to citizenship for millions of adults living in the country illegally.

Even tougher is climate change, an area where the president said the scientific debate is settled, but some Republicans deny that global warming is caused by humans.

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama's Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Google Building Fleet of Package-Delivering Drones

Thursday, 28 Aug 2014 23:16 PM

Google's secretive research laboratory is trying to build a fleet of drones designed to bypass earthbound traffic so pac . . .

GOP Slams Obama on ISIS: 'He Has Never Had a Good Strategy'

Thursday, 28 Aug 2014 20:52 PM

Republicans slammed President Barack Obama's admission Thursday that "we don't have a strategy yet" for battling the Isl . . .

Top Republicans Seek Strong Response to Russia in Ukraine

Thursday, 28 Aug 2014 22:40 PM

President Barack Obama on Thursday dodged the issue of whether Russia had invaded Ukraine, as top Republicans called for . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved