Standing before a Tea Party Express background, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) gave a separate response for that conservative wing, arguing “what America needs is not Robin Hood but Adam Smith.”
“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,” Paul said. “…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.”
“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,” Paul continued. “It is time for a new bipartisan consensus. …The president could begin by stopping the F-16s and Abrams tanks being given to the radical Islamic government of Egypt.”
The senator called for a balanced budget amendment and threatened to take Obama to court again — like with the recent successful challenge of recess appointments — if he attempts to legislate by executive order. “I have seen the inner sanctum of Congress and believe me there is no monopoly on knowledge there,” Paul said. “…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.”
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), whose facial expression said a thousand words during much of Obama’s speech, said the president “had an opportunity to offer a solution tonight, and he let it slip by.”
“We are only weeks away from the devastating consequences of the president’s sequester, and he failed to offer the cuts needed to replace it,” Boehner said. “In the last election, voters chose divided government which offers a mandate only to work together to find common ground. The president, instead, appears to have chosen a go-it-alone approach to pursue his liberal agenda.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) praised Obama for outlining “an agenda in which fairness is not just a principle for which to strive, but a powerful engine of growth and prosperity for all Americans.”
“So far, Republicans have shown that they would rather cut Medicare, education, and cancer research than close a single tax loophole, or ask millionaires to contribute,” Reid complained.
“Families in Washington state and across the nation are hungry for bold solutions to the challenges they see their families and neighbors confront each day. Tonight the president spoke directly to them and reassured them that their daily struggles will continue to drive his agenda,” said Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), promising to put forward a budget plan “in the months ahead.”
“It’s fitting that President Obama gave his State of the Union on Mardi Gras Day, since he’s spent the last four years throwing record levels of taxpayer money at failed federal programs like cheap beads at a parade,” Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, said.
“For more than four years, the American people have been subjected to President Obama’s empty rhetoric, and tonight’s State of the Union was no different as he chose to retread the same failed agenda that has divided our country and handcuffed our economy throughout his entire presidency,” Scalise added.
“He looks to enforce a far-left philosophy on all matters rather than focus on individual rights and responsibilities and recognizing, as our founding fathers did, the preeminent role the states have through their sovereign status,” said Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho).
Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), who famously yelled “You lie!” during a 2009 joint session of Congress, said he hoped Obama would “extend an olive branch and work with House Republicans to help put our economy back on the right path.”
“Over the next four years, the only way our nation will begin to fully recover is if the president begins to change course,” Wilson said.
“Fourteen years ago, I sat in this chamber when President Clinton declared during his State of the Union address that the ‘era of big government is over,’” said Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.). “After listening tonight to President Obama’s State of the Union, I can sum his speech up in two words: ‘it’s back.’”