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Wednesday
Feb132013

Sen. Marco Rubio Delivers GOP State of the Union Response

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. used the Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday to challenge the president on how to best serve the middle class, arguing that the answer to alleviating the burdens on working class people is not through the president's "obsession" with taxes and spending but by supporting a free enterprise system.

“Tax increases can’t do this. Raising taxes won’t create private sector jobs. And there’s no realistic tax increase that could lower our deficits by almost $4 trillion. That’s why I hope the president will abandon his obsession with raising taxes and instead work with us to achieve real growth in our economy,” Rubio said from the Speaker of the House’s conference room in the U.S. Capitol.

READ the FULL TEXT of Sen. Rubio’s Republican Response

“The idea that more taxes and more government spending is the best way to help hardworking middle class taxpayers -- that’s an old idea that’s failed every time it’s been tried,” said Rubio, 41. “More government isn’t going to help you get ahead.  It’s going to hold you back.  More government isn’t going to create more opportunities.  It’s going to limit them. And more government isn’t going to inspire new ideas, new businesses and new private sector jobs.  It’s going to create uncertainty.”

Rubio’s speech, the first ever bilingual response to the State of the Union, comes at a time when the Republican Party is struggling with how to appeal to a growing constituency, which it lost in last year’s election: Latinos.  Rubio, whose parents immigrated to the United States from Cuba in the 1950′s, is one of the most recognizable Hispanic figures in the Republican Party and is often floated as a potential presidential contender for 2016.

Rubio, who lives in the same Miami, Fla. neighborhood he was raised in, tried to link himself to working class people, saying it is their concerns he has in mind, not the interests of the rich.

“His favorite attack of all is that those who don’t agree with him -- that we only care about rich people,” Rubio said of the president. “Mr. President, I still live in the same working class neighborhood I grew up in. My neighbors aren’t millionaires. They’re retirees who depend on Social Security and Medicare. They’re workers who have to get up early tomorrow morning and go to work to pay the bills. They’re immigrants, who came here because they were stuck in poverty in the countries where the government dominated the economy.”

And these modest people in his neighborhood, argued Rubio, will actually be hurt if taxes rise and government spending isn’t cut.

“The tax increases and the deficit spending you propose will hurt middle class families,” he said of the president. “It will cost them their raises. It will cost them their benefits. It may even cost some of them their jobs. And it will hurt seniors because it does nothing to save Medicare and Social Security,” Rubio said. “So Mr. President, I don’t oppose your plans because I want to protect the rich. I oppose your plans because I want to protect my neighbors.”

Rubio helped craft a bipartisan immigration plan which was introduced last month, but he only briefly mentioned immigration in his speech, saying a legal immigration system would benefit the economy.

“We can also help our economy grow if we have a legal immigration system that allows us to attract and assimilate the world’s best and brightest. We need a responsible, permanent solution to the problem of those who are here illegally. But first, we must follow through on the broken promises of the past to secure our borders and enforce our laws.”

The Florida senator promoted the issues of school choice and access to affordable student loans while also pushing Republicans’ efforts to reform the Medicare system. But Rubio also noted that the power to enact change comes not from politicians but from the American people.

“Our strength has never come from the White House or the Capitol. It’s always come from our people. A people united by the American idea that, if you have a dream and you are willing to work hard, nothing should be impossible,” Rubio said.

Rubio rehearsed his speech Tuesday morning, as can be seen in these photos released by his office, but when it came to the actual delivery of the speech, Rubio hit a snafu.

 

In the middle of his speech, Rubio stopped speaking and reached off screen to grab a water bottle to take a drink. The Florida senator made light of the moment afterwards, tweeting out a photo of a small Poland Spring water bottle resembling the one he took a swig from in the middle of his speech.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb132013

Sen. Rand Paul Delivers Tea Party State of the Union Response

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Rand Paul Tuesday night delivered the Tea Party response to President Obama’s State of the Union address. Below is a transcript of his remarks as prepared for delivery.

I speak to you tonight from Washington, D.C. The state of our economy is tenuous but our people remain the greatest example of freedom and prosperity the world has ever known.

People say America is exceptional. I agree, but it’s not the complexion of our skin or the twists in our DNA that make us unique. America is exceptional because we were founded upon the notion that everyone should be free to pursue life, liberty, and happiness.

For the first time in history, men and women were guaranteed a chance to succeed based NOT on who your parents were but on your own initiative and desire to work.

We are in danger, though, of forgetting what made us great. The President seems to think the country can continue to borrow $50,000 per second. The President believes that we should just squeeze more money out of those who are working.

The path we are on is not sustainable, but few in Congress or in this Administration seem to recognize that their actions are endangering the prosperity of this great nation.

Ronald Reagan said, government is not the answer to the problem, government is the problem.

Tonight, the President told the nation he disagrees. President Obama believes government is the solution: More government, more taxes, more debt.

What the President fails to grasp is that the American system that rewards hard work is what made America so prosperous.

What America needs is not Robin Hood but Adam Smith. In the year we won our independence, Adam Smith described what creates the Wealth of Nations.

He described a limited government that largely did not interfere with individuals and their pursuit of happiness.

All that we are, all that we wish to be is now threatened by the notion that you can have something for nothing, that you can have your cake and eat it too, that you can spend a trillion dollars every year that you don’t have.

I was elected to the Senate in 2010 by people worried about our country, worried about our kids and their future. I thought I knew how bad it was in Washington. But it is worse than I ever imagined.

Congress is debating the wrong things.

Every debate in Washington is about how much to increase spending – a little or a lot.

About how much to increase taxes – a little or a lot.

The President does a big “woe is me” over the $1.2 trillion sequester that he endorsed and signed into law. Some Republicans are joining him. Few people understand that the sequester doesn’t even cut any spending. It just slows the rate of growth. Even with the sequester, government will grow over $7 trillion over the next decade.

Only in Washington could an increase of $7 trillion in spending over a decade be called a cut.

So, what is the President’s answer? Over the past four years he has added over $6 trillion in new debt and may well do the same in a second term. What solutions does he offer? He takes entitlement reform off the table and seeks to squeeze more money out of the private sector.

He says he wants a balanced approach.

What the country really needs is a balanced budget.

Washington acts in a way that your family never could – they spend money they do not have, they borrow from future generations, and then they blame each other for never fixing the problem.

Tonight I urge you to demand a new course.

Demand Washington change their ways, or be sent home.

To begin with, we absolutely must pass a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution!

The amendment must include strict tax and spending limitations.

Liberals complain that the budget can’t be balanced but if you cut just one penny from each dollar we currently spend, the budget would balance within six or seven years.

The Penny Plan has been crafted into a bill that millions of conservatives across the country support.

It is often said that there is not enough bipartisanship up here.

That is not true.

In fact, there is plenty.

Both parties have been guilty of spending too much, of protecting their sacred cows, of backroom deals in which everyone up here wins, but every taxpayer loses.

It is time for a new bipartisan consensus.

It is time Democrats admit that not every dollar spent on domestic programs is sacred. And it is time Republicans realize that military spending is not immune to waste and fraud.

Where would we cut spending; well, we could start with ending all foreign aid to countries that are burning our flag and chanting 'Death to America.'

The President could begin by stopping the F-16s and Abrams tanks being given to the radical Islamic government of Egypt.

Not only should the sequester stand, many pundits say the sequester really needs to be at least $4 trillion to avoid another downgrade of America’s credit rating.

Both parties will have to agree to cut, or we will never fix our fiscal mess.

Bipartisanship is not what is missing in Washington. Common sense is.

Trillion-dollar deficits hurt us all.

Printing more money to feed the never-ending appetite for spending hurts us all.

We pay higher prices every time we go to the supermarket or the gas pump. The value of the dollar shrinks with each new day.

Contrary to what the President claims, big government and debt are not a friend to the poor and the elderly. Big-government debt keeps the poor poor and saps the savings of the elderly.

This massive expansion of the debt destroys savings and steals the value of your wages.

Big government makes it more expensive to put food on the table. Big government is not your friend. The President offers you free stuff but his policies keep you poor.

Under President Obama, the ranks of America’s poor swelled to almost 1 in 6 people last year, reaching a new high as long-term unemployment left millions of Americans struggling and out of work.

The cycle must be broken.

The willpower to do this will not come from Congress. It must come from the American people.

Next month, I will propose a five-year balanced budget, a budget that last year was endorsed by taxpayer groups across the country for its boldness, and for actually solving the problem.

I will work with anyone on either side of the aisle who wants to cut spending.

But in recent years, there has been no one to work with.

The President’s massive tax hikes and spending increases have caused his budgets to get ZERO votes in both houses of Congress. Not a single Democrat voted for the President’s budget!

But at least he tried.

Senate Democrats have not even produced a budget in the time I have been in office, a shameful display of incompetence that illustrates their lack of seriousness.

This year, they say they will have a budget, but after just recently imposing hundreds of billions in new taxes, they now say they will include more tax hikes in their budget.

We must stand firm. We must say NO to any MORE tax hikes!

Only through lower taxes, less regulation and more freedom will the economy begin to grow again.

Our party is the party of growth, jobs and prosperity, and we will boldly lead on these issues.

Under the Obama economy, 12 million people are out of work. During the President’s first term 800,000 construction workers lost their jobs and another 800,000 simply gave up on looking for work.

With my five-year budget, millions of jobs would be created by cutting the corporate income tax in half, by creating a flat personal income tax of 17%, and by cutting the regulations that are strangling American businesses.

The only stimulus ever proven to work is leaving more money in the hands of those who earned it!

For those who are struggling we want to you to have something infinitely more valuable than a free phone, we want you to have a job and pathway to success.

We are the party that embraces hard work and ingenuity, therefore we must be the party that embraces the immigrant who wants to come to America for a better future.

We must be the party who sees immigrants as assets, not liabilities.

We must be the party that says, “If you want to work, if you want to become an American, we welcome you.”

For those striving to climb the ladder of success we must fix our schools.

America’s educational system is leaving behind anyone who starts with disadvantages.

We have cut classroom size in half and tripled spending on education and still we lag behind much of the world.

A great education needs to be available for everyone, whether you live on country club lane or in government housing.

This will only happen when we allow school choice for everyone, rich or poor, white, brown, or black.

Let the taxes you pay for education follow each and every student to the school of your choice.

Competition has made America the richest nation in history. Competition can make our educational system the envy of the world.

The status quo traps poor children in a crumbling system of hopelessness.

When every child can, like the President’s kids, go to the school of their choice, then will the dreams of our children come true!

Washington could also use a good dose of transparency, which is why we should fight back against middle of the night deals that end with massive bills no one has read.

We must continue to fight for legislation that forces Congress to read the bills!

We must continue to object when Congress sticks special interest riders on bills in the dead of night!

And if Congress refuses to obey its own rules, if Congress refuses to pass a budget, if Congress refuses to read the bills, then I say:

Sweep the place clean. Limit their terms and send them home!

I have seen the inner sanctum of Congress and believe me there is no monopoly on knowledge there.

If they will not listen, if they will not balance the budget, then we should limit their terms.

We are the party that adheres to the Constitution. We will not let the liberals tread on the Second Amendment!

We will fight to defend the entire Bill of Rights from the right to trial by jury to the right to be free from unlawful searches.

We will stand up against excessive government power wherever we see it.

We cannot and will not allow any President to act as if he were a king.

We will not let any President use executive orders to impinge on the Second Amendment.

We will not tolerate secret lists of American citizens who can be killed without trial.

Montesquieu wrote that there can be no liberty when the executive branch and the legislative branch are combined. Separation of powers is a bedrock principle of our Constitution.

We took the President to court over his unconstitutional recess appointments and won.

If necessary, we will take him to court again if he attempts to legislate by executive order.

Congress must reassert its authority as the protector of these rights, and stand up for them, no matter which party is in power.

Congress must stand as a check to the power of the executive, and it must stand as it was intended, as the voice of the people.

The people are crying out for change. They are asking for us to hear their voices, to fix our broken system, to right our economy and to restore their liberty.

Let us tonight let them know that we hear their voices. That we can and must work together, that we can and must re-chart our course toward a better future.

America has much greatness left in her. We will begin to thrive again when we begin to believe in ourselves again, when we regain our respect for our founding documents, when we balance our budget, when we understand that capitalism and free markets and free individuals are what creates our nation’s prosperity.

Thank you and God Bless America.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jan252011

Reps. Paul Ryan, Michele Bachmann Give Respective SOTU Responses 

Photo Courtesy - ABC News Radio (WASHINGTON) -- Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., the Republican designated to deliver the party's official rebuttal to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address used his response to call for slashing spending, reducing the national debt and promoting job creation.

“Americans are skeptical of both political parties, and that skepticism is justified -- especially when it comes to spending," Ryan said. "So hold all of us accountable. In this very room, the House will produce, debate, and advance a budget.  Last year -- in an unprecedented failure -- Congress chose not to pass, or even propose a budget. The spending spree continued unchecked."

Ryan's remarks sounded themes that were at the core of the GOP's midterm election strategy last year -- a strategy that led to sweeping victories in the November elections.

Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, told Americans, "we owe you a better choice and a different vision."

"Our forthcoming budget is our obligation to you -- to show you how we intend to do things differently," he said, "how we will cut spending to get the debt down … help create jobs and prosperity … and reform government programs.”

Though Ryan's remarks constituted the official GOP response to the president's speech, it was not the only one that got attention. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., will delivered a Tea Party response in conjunction with the group, Tea Party Express.

Her comments touched on similar themes.

“After the $700 billion bailout, the trillion-dollar stimulus, and the massive budget bill with over 9,000 earmarks that the President signed, many of you implored Washington to please stop spending money we don’t have," Bachmann said. “But, instead of cutting, we saw an unprecedented explosion of government spending and debt at President Obama’s direction -- unlike anything we have seen in the history of our country.”

The congresswoman emphasized earlier this week that her words were "not meant to be in competition" with Rep. Ryan's comments.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jan172011

Obama Lauded on Response to Tucson

Photo Courtesy - ABC News | Langer Research Associates(WASHINGTON) -- Americans are divided on the risks posed by the tone of the country’s political discourse, but at the same time approve overwhelmingly of President Obama’s attempt to redirect it -- and most now hold some hopes of political conciliation in the aftermath of the Tucson shootings.
 
Seventy-eight percent in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll approve of the way Obama has responded to the shootings, which he addressed in a speech in Tucson last week; that includes 71 percent of Republicans and conservatives alike. By contrast, far fewer, 30 percent overall, approve of the response by his political rival, Sarah Palin.
 
Moreover there’s been a shift, small but significant, in a sense that Obama and the Republicans in Congress may find a way to work together on important issues in the year ahead. Fifty-five percent now are optimistic that this may happen, up from 48 percent in an ABC News/Yahoo! News poll earlier this month, before the attack occurred.
 
In policy terms, this survey, produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates, finds no shift toward support for gun control legislation; indeed, following the course of gun attitudes more generally, support for banning semi-automatic handguns actually is lower than it was after the Virginia Tech shootings in April 2007.
 
At the same time, a 57-percent majority supports another proposal: banning high-capacity ammunition clips, which were used in Tucson. And there’s vast agreement on a need for further efforts to keep guns out of the hands of people with a history of mental illness or drug abuse.
 
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio