WASHINGTON, DC (WECT) - Several members of North Carolina's Congressional delegation responded to President Obama's final State of the Union address Tuesday evening.
"Tonight, the issues and fears that are front and center in the hearts and minds of the American people were not addressed. We need a clear and comprehensive strategy to defeat ISIS and regain our influence in the world. Additionally, we should be reducing the size and scope of government so we can create a strong economy that produces jobs. What we heard from the President tonight will accomplish neither." -Rep. David Rouzer (R-NC7)
"Tonight, President Obama delivered a message to America that makes us proud of what we've accomplished as a nation under his leadership and gives us hope about the future of our country. In his final State of the Union address, President Obama reminded Americans that there is far more that unites us than divides us.
Congressional Democrats are eager to work with our Republican colleagues to further strengthen our economy to create jobs, ensure North Carolinians earn a living wage, and bring fairness to our justice system. These social justice issues are important to all of us, but the recalcitrant Republican majority continues to block consideration of reasonable policies that are supported by the majority of Americans.
Our nation is better off because of President Obama's work that has expanded opportunities for all of us to achieve the American Dream. Since being elected, the economy has added more than nine million jobs, and the African American unemployment rate has been cut in half. We've grown manufacturing here at home, given nearly 20 million individuals health insurance for the first time, and improved our education system so that truly no child is left behind.
I applaud President Obama on delivering an optimistic message to the American people. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to advance policies that promote jobs and justice.
It has been an honor and privilege to fight alongside President Obama to secure a brighter future for us all." -Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC1)
"Tonight, President Obama described a new kind of American leadership: leadership sustained by our values of acceptance and equality, our diversity of thought, and our ingenuity and determination; and leadership putting first reliance on diplomacy rather than military intervention. During the President's administration, this new paradigm has allowed us to negotiate an historic nuclear agreement with Iran, to overcome the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, to protect the rights of LGBT Americans, to broaden access to health care, and to secure a global commitment to address climate change. This kind of leadership is our greatest strength in combating extremism and intolerance, and it allows us to protect our core economic and cultural values.
We still face serious threats as a country, both domestically and internationally. But I share President Obama's optimism that this new American leadership and the values behind it will allow us to address these challenges and continue to thrive in the 21st century." -Rep. David Price (D-NC4)
"For the past seven years, President Obama has given us 47,625 words of meaningless promises. Tonight's State of the Union address was more of the same empty words.
President Obama has never adequately focused on what really matters in this country - keeping America safe and defending our cherished freedoms. Instead he wants to maintain the status quo and continues to promote top-down, one-size-fits-all federal dictates that stymie economic growth. It's clear he doesn't understand the solutions that will get our nation back on track begin with the American people, not Washington bureaucrats.
President Obama promised hope and change, but his failed agenda has brought the wrong kind of change and many North Carolinians are losing hope. Fortunately, Republicans are committed to restoring confidence in America and empowering her people to make their own decisions and pursue their own dreams." -Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC5)
"Tonight we heard President Obama deliver his final State of the Union address. Regardless of your views on the President's politics or his policies, it's a special occasion for the American people to hear from their President and participate in a healthy debate about the future of our nation.
With that said, even some of the President Obama's own supporters will acknowledge the disappointment created as a result of the many broken promises and mistakes made by this administration.
Our economy has failed to fully rebound following the global recession of 2008. Inadequate job creation, weak economic growth, and fewer opportunities for younger generations of Americans have become the new "normal" for our country.
Simply put, we're not where we need to be.
The President has seemingly forgotten that we're a nation blessed with the hardest-working people, the most innovative minds, and the greatest abundance of resources the world has ever known.
We can't allow mediocrity to become the new normal. We must do better.
And that's why I'm committed to working with my colleagues–both Democrat and Republican—on commonsense solutions to reduce burdensome regulations, reform our broken tax code, and produce opportunities for hardworking families.
During his speech tonight, we heard the President once again call on Congress to approve his resolution authorizing the use of military force against ISIS. But the problem is that the authority the President is requesting would actually be counterproductive to our goal to destroy ISIS.
That's because it would codify, into law, limitations that would force the United States to fight against ruthless Islamic terrorists with one hand tied behind our back. Instead of telegraphing to the world what actions he won't take, the President needs to formulate a clear and decisive strategy to completely defeat ISIS and secure our homeland.
While President Obama and I may not see eye to eye on many issues, we both agree Washington needs to be doing far more for the brave men and women who have served our nation.
Over the past year, I've worked across the aisle with the Secretary of the VA and my colleagues on the Veterans' Affairs Committee to improve care for our veterans, with a particular focus on expanding access to mental health care services and reforming the bloated VA bureaucracy.
I was happy when President Obama recently endorsed two pieces of legislation I introduced to increase educational opportunities for veterans, and I'll work hard this year to send them to his desk so he can sign them into law.
The reality is, the American people are sick and tired of the gridlock in Washington.
The President has a choice to make. He can finally engage with Congress and work to find common ground, or he can continue to side-step Congress and the American people by implementing executive actions that divide rather than unite.
I hope the President will choose the path of collaboration and bipartisanship.
Regardless, I'll continue to work hard on behalf of all North Carolinians, and I'll work across the aisle to produce results for our great state and nation.
Thank you for your time. May God bless the United States of America." -Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC)