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Area Lawmakers React to State of the Union Address

Several lawmakers from the region have responded to President Obama's annual State of the Union address, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who earlier criticized the speech before it was delivered.The responses follow the official GOP reaction from Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and an unofficial one from U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who both criticized the speech.From McConnell: "Tonight, the President delivered a campaign speech designed to please his liberal base. The President told the American people that he has a blueprint for the economy, but what he failed to mention is that we’ve been working off the President’s blueprint for three years. And what’s it gotten us: millions still looking for work, trillions in debt, and the first credit downgrade in U.S. history. The President also proposed some ideas tonight that could have bipartisan support. If he’s serious about those proposals — if he really wants to enact them — he’ll encourage the Democrats who run the Senate to keep them free from poison pills like tax hikes on job creators that we know from past experience turn bipartisan support into bipartisan opposition. The President can decide he’s not interested in working with Congress if his party only controls one half of it. That’s his prerogative. He can give up on bipartisanship. But we won’t. Our problems are too urgent. The economy is too weak. The future is too uncertain. Let the President turn his back on bipartisanship. But we intend to do our jobs. And we invite him to join us."Other regional leaders are also adding their thoughts to the president's address.From U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, D-Ky.: "Our economy is improving, but there is much more work to be done. The President’s call to boost American manufacturing is one way to move us further down the road to economic recovery by putting people back to work doing jobs that cannot be shipped overseas. As we’ve seen in Central Kentucky, our local economies succeed when manufacturers create jobs and invest in innovation. We need a fair economy that works for the middle class and for those who play by the rules, and I believe it’s time for those in Washington to put the best interests of the country above the interests of political parties."From U.S. Sen. Dan Coats, R-In.: "The President talked a lot about fairness and protecting the middle class, but it’s his failed economic policies that have unfairly put all Americans at risk. "The Obama economy has left our country in worse shape than before the president took office. Millions of Americans wake up every day without a job, and many have given up looking for work entirely. It’s time for a change. With a $15 trillion national debt and increasingly insolvent entitlement programs, this administration cannot continue to avoid the fiscal emergency we face. Americans expect and deserve more from their leaders. In Indiana, we have a more effective and efficient government because of the strong leadership of Governor Mitch Daniels. Governor Daniels has proven that with a credible plan and a willingness to make tough decisions, government can do more with less while still serving the people. We need that type of leadership in Washington today. It is time for President Obama to put the future of our country over the politics of the moment."From U.S. Rep. Todd Young, R-In.: "For the past year, the president has given speech after speech that is long on rhetoric and short on substance. What Americans needed to hear tonight was a specific and complete plan for solving our nation’s spending, debt and jobs crises. Instead, we heard poll-tested rhetoric with only a smattering of ideas that are ready to be put in legislative form. Given that today marks 1,000 days since the Senate last passed a budget—another failure by Washington to embrace a specific plan of action—and given the announcement yesterday that the White House will miss their statutory deadline to submit a budget to Congress, such a speech is especially disappointing. As we work through the budget process this year, though, I plan to work in good faith with the President and Senate Democrats to solve America’s problems. I take the President at his word that he wants to work with us. But we will find it nearly impossible to reach common ground unless all sides are willing to lead by putting concrete ideas on the table and are willing to set priorities. Without such a plan, we will never rebuild our economy or strengthen our middle class."

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