U.S. Representative Judy Biggert (R-IL-13) tonight issued the following statement regarding President Barack Obama's State of the Union Address:
"Returning economic security to struggling Americans must take priority over everything -- including the wish list of any politician or political party. That's the message Americans sent to Washington in November, and today the President had to show that he has heard that message and really believes it. It sounds like he got the message. In fact, there were moments when it sounded like he hired a Republican speechwriter. Unfortunately, when it comes to important priorities like promoting free trade, nuclear power, and border security, I've learned to be skeptical of this Administration's rhetoric. The proof will only come in actions.
"In other areas, the President is still talking about policies that voters rejected. His rigid support for higher taxes on job-creators, big government health care, and stimulus-style spending proposals won't help him build the kind of bipartisan coalition he needs.
"But I remain hopeful that he will follow through with concrete proposals to reduce spending, restore an efficient and working government, and encourage private-sector jobs. The recent compromise with GOP leaders on tax cuts was a good start, and we must build from there.
"The President's focus on spending restraint and economic competitiveness will be well-received. Still, I'm disappointed that he failed to provide more details. A five-year discretionary budget freeze sounds good in theory, but it's almost identical to what he proposed last year. Freezing spending at budget-busting, post-stimulus dollar amounts won't bring down the nation's $14 trillion debt. We need serious, specific reductions. And with unemployment at 9.4 percent, his steadfast defense of failed stimulus "investments' sounds hollow, and I think that hurts his credibility on setting new priorities for job creation. I am, however, impressed that the President embraced the GOP earmark moratorium by promising to veto any spending bill containing pork. That's the kind of firm stance that we need to force strong action in Congress.
"In light of the recent tragedy in Tucson, Gabrielle and the other victims are still foremost in all our minds. On this point, I think the President did an excellent job of honoring those we lost, and reminding us all of our shared love for this great democracy. Like many of my colleagues, I chose to sit with a friend from across the aisle, Luis Gutierrez, to show that Members of Congress - like the American people - will always stand together in the face of adversity. Sometimes small gestures can make all the difference in the world, and with Congress under new leadership, it was an opportunity to start things off on the right foot.
"I must say I was absolutely delighted to hear the President sound a theme that we have been advocating for years in my technology and science-driven suburban district -- the need for a modern-day, Sputnik-like national reaction to the need for basic science research and economic advancement. I've always believed such an initiative is the key to our future competitiveness in the world economy. It's our link to the jobs of the future and the place where we can truly excel. At institutions like Argonne National Lab, our scientists are doing work that is absolutely crucial to America's edge in important areas like nuclear energy and automotive technology. Just recently, Argonne announced a new licensing agreement with GM and LG that will put advanced battery technology into new American-made cars. Supporting this type of innovation is a priority that the President and I share, and I am hopeful that we can make great progress over the coming year."