Idaho delegation response to the State of the Union

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - Here are the responses from U.S. Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch, and Representatives Mike Simpson and Raul Labrador to Tuesday night's State of the Union speech by President Barack Obama.

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Senator Mike Crapo (R)

“We must focus harder on our massive national debt. Now at a staggering $17 trillion, this level of debt is irresponsible, unacceptable, and quite frankly, dangerous. An overwhelming majority of voters want the president and Congress to spend more time addressing the national debt, and while modest progress in cutting discretionary spending has been made over the last few years, these cuts still fall woefully short in addressing our country’s deteriorating fiscal picture. Our focus should be on implementing true reforms that fix our broken tax code, stop the federal spending machine and control the explosion of regulations that are choking our economy.

“Thousands of Americans are struggling to find work, and many have given up looking altogether. Now is not the time to double down on Washington’s tax and spend mentality. Jobs are created in the private sector by shrinking government and getting Washington out of the way. Starting construction on the shovel-ready Keystone XL pipeline project, overhauling the train wreck in our health care system and passing trade-related bills are all actions that could quickly be taken and would lead to positive economic growth.

“Lowering the tax burden on Americans should be a top priority of this administration and Congress that would spur economic growth and job creation. There is large bipartisan support for comprehensively reforming our tax code, but ‘reform’ should not be mistaken for endless increases in taxes on hard-working Idahoans. True reform means simplifying the tax code by eliminating its vast complexities and lowering the rates for all individuals, families and businesses.

“Many Idahoans are among the millions of Americans who have lost health care coverage and are facing much higher premiums due to the health care law. Repealing and replacing the failed policies with achievable reforms that result in affordable health care coverage and improved access to quality care is what people want and deserve.

“Our country will continue to face serious challenges in the months and years ahead. These challenges might seem daunting, but the solutions are achievable. Now is the time for cooperation, not polarization and executive actions. We must work together to put the United States on a sustainable, prosperous path for current and future generations.”

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Senator Jim Risch (R)

“After listening to the president, I am once again deeply disappointed he has failed to address our crippling debt and taken the wrong approach to creating jobs for middle class families.

“Idahoans do not need more government intrusion and free-wheeling federal spending in our lives.

“What we do need is less government spending and debt and more opportunity for middle class Idaho families.

“There is no doubt these are hard times for many people with the median household income plummeting $4,000 since President Obama first took office five years ago and now the cost of health insurance skyrocketing.

“Idahoans and all Americans deserve better and I will continue to fight for a balanced budget and fiscal sanity here in Washington.”

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Representative Mike Simpson (R)

“The President could have used this State of the Union address to admit to the American people what most of them already know – that his signature healthcare initiative has failed and that it must be delayed while Congress works on a better approach,” said Congressman Mike Simpson. “He didn’t use this moment to level with the American people on Obamacare and for that reason, among many others, I give the President an F.”

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Representative Raul Labrador (R)

“The best way for Congress and the President to enact positive solutions is to have a spirit of mutual trust, a commitment to good-faith negotiations, and a shared understanding of our Constitutional responsibilities.

“Unfortunately, what I heard from President Obama tonight was hostility toward our foundational principles, condescension toward a co-equal branch of government, and a general aversion to common sense and bipartisanship.

“Specifically, the President remains committed to a philosophy of ‘trickle-down government’ - a view that Americans can only succeed if the government spends money it does not have on programs that we can ill afford. This view has burdened our economy throughout his Administration, prolonged the recession and is putting America at risk of a fiscal crisis in the next few years.

“The fact that he is threatening Congress with executive orders if we do not follow his agenda is even more alarming. In response, Congress should insist that President Obama faithfully execute our current laws before trusting him to execute new laws. And if he refuses, we must hold him accountable.

“I will continue to be an advocate for a new approach – a better approach, focused on more freedom, more opportunity, and more innovation. I will work in a bipartisan way when possible and stand on principle when necessary in order to keep my promises to the people of Idaho.”