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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spin Control

Responses to the State of the Union

Our e-mail Inbox is full this morning with folks reacting to the State of the Union address. For those of you who can't get enough, we'll paste some in here:

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.:

“Tonight President Obama made it very clear that while we have made some real progress for Washington state families and the economy over the past seven years, and we are moving in the right direction—there is still so much more we can do to support workers and help the economy grow from the middle out, not the top down.
“So I join President Obama’s call for Democrats and Republicans to work together in this divided government, put politics and partisanship aside, and focus on how we can help the families we represent. Last year we showed that bipartisan work was possible when we finally fixed the broken No Child Left Behind law and reached another deal to restore investments in middle class priorities—and now we need to build on that.
“I was especially glad to hear the President lay out a vision for restoring economic security and stability for working families across the country. From raising the minimum wage so workers’ incomes can increase, to allowing workers to earn paid sick days so they don’t have to choose between their paycheck or caring for themselves or their loved one when they get sick—these are just a few of the many steps we need to take to support women, seniors, workers, and families and help our economy grow from the middle out, not the top down. And I join the President in hoping we can make progress on them.
“In addition to policies to increase economic security, helping our economy grow from the middle out will also depend on students getting a good education so they can earn their ticket into the middle class. I will continue working on efforts to reduce college costs and make sure more students can graduate without the crushing burden of student debt, and I am hoping that Republicans will join us at the table to get this done.
“I also agree with President Obama that while we’ve made important progress in recent years toward building a health care system that works for families and puts their needs first, we have much more to do. I am very hopeful this work can include bipartisan efforts to improve our mental health system and tackle the challenge of opioid abuse, and I look forward to working with Vice President Biden and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to continue strengthening investments in lifesaving, world-changing medical research.
“I am very glad that President Obama talked about threats from terrorists facing Americans both at home and abroad and that he made it clear that our highest priority must be keeping our families and our country safe.
“As my guest for the State of the Union, I brought Ernest Butler, a paralyzed veteran from Washington state who has dedicated himself to helping other veterans with serious injuries. The State of our Union is to a great extent determined by how we treat those who have sacrificed so much for the rest of us. So I am going to keep fighting, every single day, to make sure our country upholds its promise to take care of veterans long after they return home and never turns its back on those who so bravely fought for our freedom.”


Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash.:

 “For eight years, I have sat in the House chamber for each of President Obama’s State of the Union addresses — listening to thousands of words and hearing countless well-crafted applause lines. But one thing remains the same: he thinks government comes first and the American people second.
 “The American people have a choice in 2016. It’s a choice between two futures: President Obama’s legacy — cemented in status-quo, one-size-fits-all policies — or a future driven by families, students, small businesses, and seniors in every corner of America who each have their individual power restored to pursue their own dreams.  
 In the People’s House, Republicans are starting to build an agenda that’s for every American — produced by the their representatives. Ours is an agenda build from the bottom up, not from some place ‘on high.’ Our agenda will help us reach a future where people aren’t limited where they finish, because of where they start. This agenda is one that will make people’s lives brighter.” 

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.: 

“I am pleased the president noted the need to recalculate the true costs of federal coal and ensure that the American taxpayer gets proper value for this resource. I’ve urged the administration to reform the outdated, unbalanced, coal leasing program and I’ll work with them to address the fact that coal off of federal lands is a sweetheart deal and a taxpayer rip-off. We must better account for carbon pollution here at home.”

Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho: 

“The Obama administration has repeatedly undermined the Constitution and rule of law. They have targeted Americans’ First Amendment freedoms through the IRS‎, religious liberty through Obamacare, and Second Amendment rights through executive actions. Instead of attacking Americans’ liberties, the President should work with Congress to secure our borders and protect the country from terrorism. 
“This year Congress must advance bold conservative ideas to help families who have seen job loss and stagnant income during the Obama presidency. We will fight for policies that simplify the tax code, reform our welfare system, and provide patient-centered healthcare in order to help these struggling families and give hope to millions of Americans who believe their leaders have forgotten them.”

Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho:

“Tonight’s speech was no different from those before it, with the president presenting his confused version of the realities and hardships facing the American people. President Obama used this, his final State of the Union address, as a victory lap to claim that seven years of increased spending, increased taxes, increased debt, and increased regulations have made America a better place to live. Idahoans know better.
“President Obama tonight claimed to have made Americans safer during the rise of ISIS. On the contrary, his disinterest in a winning strategy to combat ISIS and his commitment to a very bad nuclear agreement with Iran leaves Americans in greater danger today than in recent memory.
“The futures of our children and grandchildren are greatly imperiled after seven years of the Obama presidency. Tonight’s speech was a reiteration of the many bad policies and disasters that came out of this administration; and that it is not the ‘hope’ or ‘change’ that was promised. I look forward to turning the page in 374 days.”

Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho: 

“Tonight, President Obama used his final State of the Union address to outline his vision and priorities for our country.  But again, he continues to pursue more growth in government and more unrestrained spending.  I have disagreed with many of the President’s initiatives during his presidency.  But our failure to deal with our fiscal crisis is paramount.  Over the last seven years we have seen an explosion of debt, an unprecedented growth of government and a restriction of our privacy and freedoms.  Our national debt now exceeds $18.8 trillion.  We cannot continue to ignore our debt and simply try to spend our way into prosperity with borrowed money.”

Gov. Jay Inslee, D-Wash.:

“Tonight President Obama outlined a justifiably confident and optimistic vision for our nation. We should be proud of the accomplishments we have achieved over the last seven years. The president helped dig our nation out of the deepest economic collapse since the Great Depression, and the American and Washington state economies are growing stronger every day. He helped in the fight to win the right of all of our citizens to marry the person they love. He didn’t give up in ensuring every American has access to affordable health care. He is making sure our nation is joining in reducing the carbon pollution that is driving climate change.
“Still, much work remains. Washington state ranks in the top five states in job growth, but all of us must do more to ensure that our economy works for everyone. Hard-working Washingtonians in every corner of our state should know that if they work 40 hours a week they will be able to put a roof over their heads and put food on the table for their families.
“This year our state made historic investments in the full continuum of education – investments that are our best bet in ensuring a stronger, modernized and more resilient Washington state economy. But we must – and will – do more to guarantee a quality education for every student.
“President Obama has been understandably frustrated by Congress’ relentless obstructionism. Nowhere has this shown itself more than in Congress’ refusal to address gun violence. But, fortunately, some states are moving forward without Washington, DC – states like Washington. In other areas, like immigration reform, Congress must act, and its refusal to do so is hurting our state every day.
“In each of these areas, Washington state has had a champion and a partner in the White House. I am glad that our efforts have been aligned on so many critical issues, and I will continue to find areas to work with President Obama to promote a stronger and more prosperous Washington state and America.”

Jim Camden
Jim Camden joined The Spokesman-Review in 1981 and retired in 2021. He is currently the political and state government correspondent covering Washington state.

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