President Biden delivers SOTU, Gov. Sanders responds
In his State of the Union address to Congress, President Joe Biden touched on the economy, bipartisan legislation and urged lawmakers to raise the debt ceiling. Biden’s State of the Union was the first time he addressed the new Congress, which now has a Republican-controlled House.
When making his plea for a clean debt ceiling increase, Biden reminded his Republican colleagues that the debt ceiling was raised three times under former President Donald Trump.
“Let us commit here tonight that the full faith and credit of the United States of America will never, ever be questioned,” Biden said.
Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has said he wants spending cuts before raising the debt ceiling, which is the amount the U.S. Treasury can borrow. Both Republicans and Democrats applauded when Biden said Social Security and Medicare is off limits in the debt ceiling negotiations.
When speaking about the economy, Biden highlighted the nation’s 3.5% unemployment rate. Part of the reason for the surge in job creation and lowering of the unemployment rate can be attributed to the country coming out of the pandemic and the economy reopening.
“As I stand here tonight, we have created a record 12 million new jobs, more jobs created in two years than any president has ever created in four years,” he said.
With his party no longer controlling both chambers of Congress, Biden reminded his colleagues it is possible to get legislation passed on a bipartisan basis.
“To my Republican friends, if we could work together in the last Congress, there is no reason we can’t work together in this new Congress,” he said.
Biden claimed he signed into law 300 bipartisan laws in his first two years. He narrowed his focus on the Infrastructure and Jobs Act and CHIPS Act. Neither of those bills received support from any of Arkansas’ congressional delegates. Biden also mentioned the PACT Act, which was championed by U.S Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark. The PACT Act helped veterans receive treatment for toxic exposures.
Biden urged Congress to work with him on legislation dealing with issues like junk fees, police reform, expanding the child tax credit, climate change, lowering prescription drug costs and lowering the debt.
SANDERS’ RESPONSE TO BIDEN
Arkansas Gov. Sarah Sanders was chosen by Republicans to deliver the response to Biden’s State of the Union. Sanders gave the speech from the Arkansas Governor’s mansion, a far distance from her days serving as press secretary for President Donald Trump in the White House.
Declaring herself as part of a “new generation of Republican leadership,” Sanders touted her signing of executive orders and repeated her campaign-themed rhetoric of offering “bold, conservative leadership.”
Sanders said she believes the country is going in the wrong direction under Biden’s leadership.
“And while you reap the consequences of their failures, the Biden administration seems more interested in woke fantasies than the hard reality Americans face every day,” she said. “Most Americans simply want to live their lives in freedom and peace, but we are under attack in a left-wing culture war we didn’t start and never wanted to fight.”
Sanders also took some personal shots at Biden, certain to stoke her base of supporters.
“At 40, I’m the youngest governor in the country. At 80, he’s the oldest president in American history. I’m the first woman to lead my state. He’s the first man to surrender his presidency to a woke mob that can’t even tell you what a woman is,” she said.
She shared two personal stories, one of her battle with thyroid cancer and the other an often-told story about a visit to soldiers overseas who claimed their loyalty to America.
Sanders also said that when she reveals her LEARNS education bill tomorrow, she will include teacher pay raises that will make Arkansas teachers among the highest paid in the U.S.
“My plan empowers parents with real choices, improves literacy and career readiness, and helps put a good teacher in every classroom by increasing their starting salary from one of the lowest to one of the highest in the nation,” Sanders said.
DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF ARKANSAS RESPONSE
Rep. Ashley Hudson, D-Little Rock, was chosen by the state Democratic party to respond to the Sanders’ State of the Union response. In her speech, Hudson credited Biden’s policies for helping Arkansas.
“President Biden and Democrats in Congress continue to deliver on a Bipartisan Infrastructure Program, sending billions of dollars to Arkansas for roads, bridges, rebuilt schools, waterways, and broadband,” she said.
Hudson said the Democratic Party of Arkansas will work on trying to pass the RAISE Act, which would raise teacher and non-teacher staff pay. She criticized her Republican colleagues for not focusing enough on the issue.
“While some of my Republican colleagues are writing laws to police school bathrooms, regulate drag shows, and ban books they haven’t read but don’t like, Democrats in Arkansas remain focused on making Arkansas the very best place in the country to receive a public education,” Hudson said.