WASHINGTON – Republicans dismissed President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address as more of the same, saying his call for renewed investment in American education, infrastructure and technology is simply a push for another round of federal spending that shows little commitment to reducing the deficit.
“Whether sold as ‘stimulus’ or repackaged as ‘investment,’ their actions show they want a federal government that controls too much; taxes too much; and spends too much in order to do too much,” said Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, in the GOP’s official address following Obama’s speech. “We believe the days of business as usual must come to an end. We hold to a couple of simple convictions: Endless borrowing is not a strategy; spending cuts have to come first.”
Ryan’s address was part of an unusual two-pronged retort to the president’s speech. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota also delivered a response – on behalf, she said, of the tea party. Bachmann chairs the House Tea Party Caucus.
“For two years President Obama made promises just like the ones we heard him make tonight,” Bachmann said, according to prepared remarks. “Yet we still have high unemployment, devalued housing prices and the cost of gasoline is skyrocketing.”
Ryan is chair of the new House Budget Committee and was a member of Obama’s bipartisan fiscal commission, but he was one of seven members who voted to reject its final recommendations.
Ryan has issued his own budget blueprint, called the “Road Map,” which recommends major changes to entitlements like Social Security and Medicare. But even some Republicans have been reluctant to embrace his recommendations.
Republican leaders largely kept their distance from Bachmann’s independent response, streamed on the website of Tea Party Express, a political advocacy group.
Tribune Washington bureau