WASHINGTON — President Joseph R. Biden presented his State of the Union address before Congress Tuesday night, and the north country’s representatives were disappointed with what he presented.
In a roughly hourlong speech, President Biden talked about the legislative priorities he’s successfully passed in the last two years, many of which were bipartisan, and called for the nation to “finish the job,” on many of his priorities.
Reps. Elise M. Stefanik, R-Willsboro, and Claudia L. Tenney, R-Canandaigua, said they felt much of President Biden’s speech was ineffective.
“We did not hear Joe Biden effectively reach out on key issues like the border, ensuring that we bring our budget back towards balance, and I think the American people saw a weakened Commander-in-Chief,” Rep. Stefanik said.
“The State of the Union is weak, it’s poor, and we’re projecting weakness,” Rep. Tenney said. “Our economy is really bad for middle-class Americans, and he didn’t really say much on that.”
The president referenced fentanyl, called for immigration reform, and called for tax increases on corporations and people making over $400,000 annually to fund programs and lower the federal deficit.
A small number of House Republicans, including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., yelled “border” and “liar” during the address when the president referenced issues that have some relationship with border policies.
Rep. Stefanik, the fourth-senior Republican in the House, did not rebuke the shouting that seemed to garner a “shushing” from Speaker of the House Kevin O. McCarthy, R-Calif., and said the reaction showed how important border policies are.
“(It was) frustration,” she said. “With Joe Biden talking about the fentanyl crisis in this country, which is a real crisis, whether you’re Republican or Democrat, communities are getting impacted by increases in fentanyl overdoses.”
Rep. Stefanik said addressing the fentanyl overdose epidemic requires stronger border policies to prevent the drug from crossing the border, which the president did not call for in his speech.
Rep. Stefanik said the president failed to substantively address the alleged Chinese espionage balloon that crossed through U.S. territory last week before being shot down over the Atlantic Ocean.
There were points where Rep. Stefanik agreed with some of what the president said. Rep. Stefanik said she agrees with his proposal to fund a “cancer moonshot” research program that aims to cure cancer, and his call to more closely audit pandemic-era small business support programs like the Paycheck Protection Program and prosecute fraudsters.
“Those are important areas we can work in a bipartisan basis, but overall, Joe Biden attacked Republicans in part of the speech, and that’s just unacceptable,” she said.
The president criticized some Republicans for calling to “sunset” Medicare and Social Security, allowing the programs to dissolve every 10 years if not reauthorized by Congress. While this view is not shared by a majority of members, and does not represent the party’s platform, it has been proposed by some members. On Tuesday, however, almost every Republican appeared to support a commitment to not support such a proposal.
Rep. Tenney said she was wholly disappointed. She said the president was wrong on almost every issue he mentioned, taking victory laps on issues he had little hand in, and blaming corporations for problems they didn’t create.
She said his call to cap insulin at $35 a month was an attack on American companies spending billions on research and product development, failed to substantively talk about China or the alleged spy balloon, and said the few things she did approve of seemed to be ripped off from former President Donald J. Trump.
“He sounded an awful lot like Trump, made in America supply chains, sort of mimicking the Trump agenda,” she said.
Rep. Tenney said President Biden’s delivery — sometimes loud, especially when yelling over heckling from the House floor, and sometimes speaking softly — was “bizarre” and “Tourettes-like.”
When asked if she thought that characterization is offensive, Rep. Tenney said she did not mean it in a disparaging way, and said she was repeating the words of a Democratic colleague who made the same suggestion. She suggested asking if her statement was offensive was, in itself, offensive as well.
“I’m sitting here, one of my Democratic colleagues just asked me that while I was standing in line, so I misspoke in saying that, repeating a Democrat who made such a comment,” she said.
Stefanik/GOP needs to make a clean break from Trump, regardless of his policies... and get rid of Santos. Marjorie T Greene shouts out Biden's a liar with Santos sitting near her?? Clean up the party and win in 2024...
Whew, guess you don’t like her. I really do but she has to drop her attachment to Trump and go for the Republican that can win in 2024!!!!!
did they sleep through the speech? it was full of substance. (but, being a state of the union address, it was also not a detailed policy proposal on any one topic.)
We've had weakness iin representation in NY21 every since Stafanik showed up on the scene.
"Joe Biden attacked Republicans in part of the speech, and that’s just unacceptable,” she said. It's unaccepatable that you, Elise Stefanik, supported the insurrectionist past president then and now.
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