President Obama delivered the annual State of the Union Tuesday evening. Congressman Fleischmann released the following statement:
“Unfortunately, tonight we heard more soaring rhetoric from the President, but no real plan to fix our soaring debt and get Americans back to work. He spoke of a balanced plan and called for increasing taxes, again. He’s already increased the tax burden on American families this year. It’s time to address the true problem and work for real spending reform. Whether Democrat leaders are willing to admit it or not, we have a spending problem.
“I ran for Congress because I’m an optimist and a product of the American Dream. It is still my firm belief that our brightest days are ahead, but we will have to make some tough decisions. Republicans have passed budgets that get our fiscal house in order; we’re still waiting to see that from the President and Senate Democrats.”
Congressman Scott DesJarlais, M.D. (TN-04) released the following statement:
"Once again President Obama’s rhetoric simply does not match his actions. While the president talks about building a stronger middle class, his policies are placing heavier burdens on all hardworking Americans.
"Under this administration we have seen an onslaught of new federal regulations that are forcing businesses to spend resources to comply with miles of bureaucratic red tape rather than being used to hire additional workers. In fact, the Small Business Administration has estimated that regulations cost small businesses $10,585 each year per employee.
"President Obama’s deficit spending has resulted in more than 16 trillion dollars of debt. Employers know that today’s deficit spending will have to be paid with tomorrow’s tax increases. This causes businesses to hold back capital, thereby further hampering job growth. The president has offered no credible plan to control government spending. He talks about a balanced approach, but all he has proposed are more tax hikes on small businesses.
"Soaring energy costs are not only hurting Tennesseans at the pump, they are increasing the cost of both the products we buy and the way we do business. But rather than support measures that would have an immediate impact on reducing energy prices, he chooses to appease his far-left liberal base by blocking common sense domestic energy production. Specifically, the president refuses to allow the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would bring oil to the United States from neighboring Canada. The Keystone XL pipeline would not only reduce our dependency on foreign oil, it would create thousands of good paying jobs.
"Finally, we know that once the president’s health care law is fully implemented, many businesses will no longer offer health insurance to their workers. This will lead to increased healthcare costs for the Americans who will be forced to purchase insurance on the government run healthcare exchanges. But perhaps the group that will be hit the hardest by ObamaCare is our seniors on Medicare, who will see a significant decrease in their access to care.
"I agree with the president that a thriving middle class is essential to America's economic growth. But rather than empowering the middle class, this president is more focused on expanding government. His remarks tonight indicate that he has decided that he would rather double-down on his failed political agenda than work to ensure a brighter future for tomorrow and stop this generational theft.
Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ga.-14) issued the following response:
"America is a patchwork of unique states, with unique communities. Together, through our families, faith and hard work, we all contribute to form a more perfect Union. In the last four years, we’ve seen Washington growing more powerful and attempting to shape our lives. Rather than respect the differences that make our Union, Washington seeks to make us uniform.
"The president’s State of the Union address captured the power struggle we have in America today. It’s clear that the president wants to expand Washington’s power. From raising taxes to infringing on our Second Amendment rights, we see the long arm of the federal government reaching ever deeper into our wallets, our homes, our businesses and our communities.
"Think about it this way: Washington just took over $600 billion out of our communities with the latest tax increases. It wrapped its arms around one-fifth of our economy with the national health care law. It shackles our state budgets by refusing to modernize entitlements. Even young kids are getting a taste, literally, with their new federal diet at public schools.
"After four years of this, our national debt has exploded, the economy remains fragile and millions of Americans are still struggling to find jobs. President Obama’s vision for our country puts Washington first. I believe in putting Georgia first.
"The question of our future is, how do we transfer power out of Washington and let our state and local communities lead? One of the best ways to achieve this is through a balanced budget. It’s the commonsense solution for our debt problem, and it would require Washington to work more efficiently. The road to a balanced budget must have modern, 21st century solutions to the tax, spending and entitlement problems from the last century.
"For example, the current tax code is about 4 million words, and the annual filing process takes families and businesses over 6 billion hours to complete. It makes us less competitive in the global economy and bogs down progress. The slowness of this current tax code is more suitable for the era of telegrams and steamboats, not the age of the internet and commercial flight.
"You see, in order for hard working families to succeed, we do not need to take more from you in order to feed the government’s appetite. Instead, we must remove Washington’s barriers to progress. Americans deserve a tax code that is simpler and fairer, and puts families and businesses first. We must build the Keystone pipeline and allow more energy exploration in this country. Washington must be a better steward of your tax dollars so that we invest less in China and more in our ports, schools and roads.
"I recently received a letter from a high school student named Autumn. She wrote of her concern about the national debt and asked what it means for her future. Her letter reminds me that the task of shrinking Washington is tough, but it is so important for future generations.
"It will take some serious battles along the way. And yes, we’ll be faced with showdowns, shutdowns and fiscal cliffs. But, I know Georgians sent me to here to fight for your families and clear the way so that you can seize opportunities and succeed in life. Reading that letter from Autumn, I know our cause is worthy. Her future, and the future of our great country, depends on our success.