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 a transcript 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.
“Today, the federal government is simply trying to do too much,” McDonnell said in prepared remarks. “In the past year, over 3 million Americans have lost their jobs, yet the Democratic Congress continues deficit spending, adding to the bureaucracy, and increasing the national debt on our children and grandchildren.”
McDonnell said that all Americans want affordable, high-quality health care. But, he added, “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.
“We want results, not rhetoric,” McDonnell said. “We want cooperation, not partisanship.”
House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said, “This isn’t about a pivot in terms of his message. 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 his remarks, McDonnell cites several areas of agreement with the president. On education, he said he agrees with Obama’s proposal to increase the number of charter schools.
On national defense, he said he agrees with Obama’s plan send an additional 30,0000 troops to Afghanistan. McDonnell said his oldest daughter, Jeanine, was an Army platoon leader in Iraq.
However, McDonnell said, Republicans have “serious concerns” about the administration’s treatment of suspected terrorists. McDonnell complained that a Nigerian man accused of trying to blow up a plane as it approached Detroit on Christmas “was given the same legal rights as a U.S. citizen, and immediately stopped providing critical intelligence.”
Some Republicans want suspected terrorists tried in military courts rather than civilian ones.
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.