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Iowa lawmakers react to President Biden’s first address to Congress

Iowa (KWWL) -- On Wednesday night, President Joe Biden made his first formal address to a joint session of Congress.

WATCH HERE: President Biden gives first address to Congress

Lawmakers in the Hawkeye State are reacting to his speech.

Senator Chuck Grassley (R)

“President Biden campaigned on unifying a divided nation. Part of that means working with a Congress divided right down the middle. Thus far he’s done very little to back up his words from the campaign trail, and he’s stood by while others in his party use divisive rhetoric that only serves to further inflame discord in our nation.

We didn’t hear enough about how President Biden plans to address the worst border crisis in recent memory. This is a crisis fomented by the White House’s policy pronouncements, and fixing the issue requires leadership that we have yet to see from this administration. 

Republicans in Congress are willing to work with the administration, but bipartisanship takes commitment from both sides. Cutting Republicans out of the process, like he did on the COVID package and may do on infrastructure, is no way to unite the country.

My Republican colleagues have put forward a bold proposal that’s actually focused on infrastructure. The administration’s plan is unfocused, expensive and sounds more like a product of the Sanders campaign than the Biden White House. And the preoccupation with raising taxes is counterproductive.

The pre-COVID economy was the best our country has seen in decades. We saw record-low unemployment across demographics, historic wage growth and a renewal of American manufacturing. All of that was possible because of the 2017 Republican tax bill and Trump administration policies. The quickest way to slow our post-pandemic economic recovery is to hike taxes.

Even though Senate Democrats filibustered police reform last summer, the bipartisan appetite for change still exists today. The path forward, as on other policies, requires compromise. Here again, Republicans have a plan that includes policies supported by both sides.

President Biden is only 100 days in, so there’s plenty of time for him to turn things around and make good on his campaign promise to unite the country. I’d still like to work with the president and his administration to lower prescription drug prices and further reform the criminal justice system. I know from his time in the Senate that he’s capable of being a bipartisan dealmaker. The question is will his left-wing base let him?”

Senator Chuck Grassley

Senator Joni Ernst (R)

“It’s been nearly 100 days since President Biden delivered his Inaugural Address, promising our nation bipartisanship and unity.

But folks, the reality is, those words ring hollow.

In 100 days President Biden has completely abandoned bipartisanship and has taken a very sharp Left turn down a path that solely prioritizes Democratic special interests over the American people.

In his first day in office, the president signed a flurry of executive actions that have created a new migrant crisis at our southern border; targeted Iowa-grown biofuels by attempting to transition to electric vehicles; and killed thousands of American jobs by canceling the Keystone XL pipeline.

Instead of working with Republicans to pass a COVID relief bill, President Biden ignored efforts by Senate Republicans to seek a bipartisan solution and fast-tracked trillions of dollars in non-COVID spending in a strictly partisan fashion.

And now, President Biden is blowing up a traditionally bipartisan issue—infrastructure—and is looking to pass a partisan, over 2 trillion dollar package that spends less on roads and bridges than it does on elements of the Green New Deal and other progressive priorities.

The Biden Administration has made many reckless foreign policy decisions—from immediately reviving negotiations with Iran, a state sponsor of terrorism who continues to inch closer to a nuclear weapon, to potentially destabilizing the Middle East with a non-conditions based drawdown of troops in Afghanistan.

On top of it all, President Biden has refused to fully condemn calls from members of his own party to fundamentally change our democratic process by abolishing the filibuster and packing the Supreme Court.

Iowans are tired of the partisan bickering in Washington and the radical ideas of the liberal left. They want Congress to work together on real issues that will improve the lives of all Americans.

That’s why I was so proud of and thrilled to hear the inspiring message from my dear friend and fellow Senator Tim Scott. 

Senator Scott has lived the American dream and has continued to be a tireless advocate for underserved people and communities throughout the country.

Senator Scott laid out a better vision for America: one of opportunity and freedom, and of growth and prosperity.

Just like Senator Scott, I’m an eternal optimist and I believe in America. I sincerely hope that my Democratic colleagues and President Biden will change course and truly work with us in a bipartisan way to support the hardworking men and women across this great nation.”

Senator Joni Ernst

Congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R)

“Last night, President Biden reiterated some of the same topics he touched on in his Inaugural Address. The President was well-received by Members of Congress, and his speech was well-toned and well-delivered. He spoke on unity, bipartisanship, and coming together as a nation. Unfortunately, I do not believe we have seen much of this in the first 100 days of his Administration.

I am discouraged over the President’s plan to raise taxes, which I believe will inevitably harm hard-working taxpayers. I appreciated President Biden’s rhetoric on bringing jobs back to America and I look forward to working with the Administration to do so. But, in the first 100 days, the Biden Administration killed the Keystone XL Pipeline, eliminating thousands of jobs, and giving more power to foreign energy producers. The President also talked about taking on China, yet the masks we were given last night were made in China.

I welcomed the President’s support for vaccinations, and I believe that his Administration has done “admirable” work encouraging Americans to get vaccinated. I also believe that there needs to be more credit given to former President Trump and his Administration for developing Operation Warp Speed, which miraculously gave us three safe and effective vaccines in just nine months.

I was disappointed to see that President Biden did not address the ongoing crisis at our southern border. Since coming to Congress in January, I have traveled to the border twice, and I can assure you that it is a crisis that must be addressed. Our border agents are overwhelmed, underfunded, and they need our help now. The President and Vice President, who was put in charge of the border, need to see the crisis for themselves as soon as possible.

It is my sincere hope that these are not just empty words and that we will start to see real bipartisan compromise to improve the lives of all Americans.”

Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (IA-02)

Congresswoman Cindy Axne (D)

Congressman Randy Feenstra

Iowa Democratic Party

“President Biden and Vice President Harris are already delivering the leadership we need to build back from this pandemic and provide relief to families and small businesses in Iowa. In just 100 days we have witnessed a transformation in our nation’s response to this pandemic.

The American Rescue Plan is already helping Iowans by providing much-needed relief, including direct payments for more than 90 percent of the state. Instead of denying science, we’re now empowering health care professionals, improving vaccine distribution, and getting vaccines in arms at a record pace.

Nobody expects our recovery to happen overnight, but in the past 100 days, we’re already building a foundation that will bring our nation back better than before. It’s never been more important to continue building back. That’s why we need to pass the president’s American Jobs Plan, to put people back to work while building the infrastructure we need to be successful and competitive for decades to come. This plan creates well-paying, union jobs, that will continue to grow the American middle class.  It’s also why we need the American Families Act to invest in our kids, families, and our economic future.

In the past 100 days, we’ve seen clearly that leadership matters. That’s why it’s so disappointing to watch Iowa Republicans, including Kim Reynolds and Chuck Grassley, choose partisanship and gridlock over what’s best for Iowa. They have opposed the historic progress that has already been made, and in 2022 Iowans are going to remember who fought against Iowa’s recovery.”

Iowa Democratic Party Chair Rep. Ross Wilburn
Author Profile Photo

Olivia Schmitt

Morning Anchor

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