Wednesday, March 02, 2022

Elected officials react to Biden's State of the Union

I'm going to echo U.S. Sen. James Lankford's comment about President Joe Biden's State of the State address last night: "Well, that was interesting."

It was pretty standard Biden-fare, which means it was generally disastrous from delivery to content. And what on earth was going on with Nancy Pelosi? She was behaving rather more bizarelly than normal.

Following his speech, members of Oklahoma's Washington delegation, plus Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell, emailed out their responses. I'm posting them below in the order I received them: Cong. Hern, Cong. Lucas, Lt. Gov. Pinnell, Cong. Bice, Sen. Lankford, Sen. Inhofe, and Cong. Cole:

Hern’s statement in response to Biden’s energy-killing State of the Union Address

WASHINGTON, DC – Representative Kevin Hern (OK-01) released the following statement after President Joe Biden finished his first State of the Union Address to a joint session of Congress.

“There was only one thing Oklahomans needed to hear from their president tonight: an immediate commitment to energy independence,” said Rep. Hern. “We didn’t hear that. President Biden could have announced the relaunch of the Keystone Pipeline and the reversal of job-killing energy policies he put in place on Day 1, but that didn’t happen. In fact, Biden barely mentioned his job-killing energy plan at all. He doubled down on all the bad policy choices he’s made in the last 13 months, and committed to spend even more federal tax dollars, increasing our deficits and causing further inflationary pressure on American families.

“This isn’t what Oklahomans were expecting from their President. Americans are crying out for help and their Democrat-led government is ignoring them. Given Biden’s abysmal approval rating and a never-ending line of disasters, I had low expectations for tonight. Biden managed to underperform even that. Oklahomans deserve better. The American people deserve better.”

Congressman Lucas Reacts to President Joe Biden's State of the Union

Washington, DC – Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03) released the following statement responding to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union:

“Tonight, President Biden delivered his State of the Union address. Just like in his speech last year marking his first 100 days, President Biden spoke at length about his leadership, and of policies and actions that were supposed to put our country on the right path. But as a nation, Americans seem to disagree, and it’s clear that, under his leadership, the state of our Union is not as strong as President Biden would want us to believe. 

“Across the United States, millions of hard-working families are feeling the pinch of inflation- inflationary pressures not felt since the late 1970s and early 1980s during the Carter Administration. In January, inflation accelerated 7.5%, soaring at the highest levels in 40 years. While President Biden spoke about took credit for a robust economic recovery, the American people seem to feel and think otherwise. 

“President Biden took credit for low unemployment and bringing more than 6.6 million Americans back into the workforce. But the truth of the matter is, there are still nearly 3 million fewer jobs today than there was before the pandemic. And while the President touted the strong position America’s families are in, in fact, inflation and America’s economic crisis has actually erased many Americans’ pay growth during the economic recovery. 

“For months, the Biden Administration label inflation as a “high-class problem” and transitory while Republicans, independent experts, and even liberal economists warned of the consequences of unnecessary and irresponsible spending. Even tonight, President Biden urged Congress to embrace parts of his Build Back Better legislation. Once again, the priorities of the American people are being ignored by President Biden and Democrats in Washington.

“Across the globe, the United States and Western allies are facing growing threats from authoritarians from the likes of Russia, China, and others. At this very moment, the world is watching in real-time Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Russia’s premediated invasion of its sovereign neighbor is spilling blood into the streets of Ukraine and is wreaking havoc across Europe and the rest of the world. On foreign affairs, in particular with Ukraine, I am sincerely rooting for President Biden’s and Congress’ success. We need steady, clear leadership to help guide the West as we all continue to support Ukraine and deter Vladimir Putin from continuing his aggression.

“But, make no mistake, this crisis does not end with Ukraine. America’s adversaries such as China and Russia have only grown more aggressive, responding with economic and technological espionage, cyberattacks, the violation of human rights, and military posturing. It’s because of this that America must bolster and increase its investment in basic research, science, and innovation. We must scale-up America's research and development capabilities over the next decade, ensuring the Chinese Communist Party does not achieve its goal of overtaking the U.S. in science and technology, giving them a dangerous economic and national security advantage.

“America’s scientific and technological superiority has never been more important than it is right now. We will find ourselves in a dangerous place if we don’t invest in basic research and act quickly to address our shortage of semiconductor chips. While I’m glad the President recognizes this need, his remarks tonight were just that – remarks. Democrats have been saying for months now that the CHIPS Act and research and development funding are priorities, but we’ve yet to see any real action. It’s been more than nine months since the Senate and House each passed bipartisan competitiveness legislation. It’s been more than three months since Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer announced that we’d be conferencing that legislation. It’s been more than a month since Speaker Pelosi used the CHIPS Act and Science Committee competitiveness legislation as the vehicle for her clown car of climate change priorities. We need more than words – we need action.

“Tonight, the American people deserved a commitment that the Biden Administration and the Democrat-controlled Congress would drastically change course. The American people deserve a Congress that finds common ground and moves this country forward together. My Republican colleagues and I stand ready to renew the American Dream and restore our way of life.”

Lt. Governor Matt Pinnell responds to President Joe Biden's State of the Union address.

While President Biden attempted to paint a picture of progress and accomplishment during his State of the Union, the reality of his first year in office is one crisis, failure, and one broken promise after another. By cancelling the Keystone XL pipeline and placing a moratorium on new oil and gas leases on federal lands, Biden’s assault on oil and gas producers resulted on tens of thousands of lost jobs, the highest gas prices in seven years, and American reliance on our enemies for our energy needs. Meanwhile, the number of illegal crossings at the border has risen at a faster rate under Biden than at any time in recent history. And all of this while many Americans have struggled to keep food on the table as empty shelves and high prices affect nearly every product in grocery stores.

If Joe Biden is interested in supporting policies that work and improving the lives of Americans, he should look to places like Oklahoma where we focused on keeping our citizens healthy and safe, while keeping our schools open for students and our economy open for business. While Joe Biden may try and run from his record and his sagging poll numbers, I am proud of the strides we have made in Oklahoma, while also knowing the hard work is far from done.

Bice Statement After President Biden's State of the Union

Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Stephanie Bice (OK-05) released the following statement after the State of the Union:

“It is clear, the policies of the Biden Administration are not working for the American people. While I am grateful that Biden highlighted the importance of standing with Ukraine and protecting our law enforcement, he ignored numerous issues that are negatively affecting our country. I am deeply disheartened that President Biden did not lay out a detailed plan to cut spending, lower inflation, secure our border, or restore American energy independence. As we move forward, these problems must be solved. I wholeheartedly agree that the American people are strong, but we must find bipartisan solutions to the problems they face every day.”

Lankford’s Reaction to Biden’s State of the Union Address
Lankford: “Well that was interesting.”

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) offered his reaction to President Biden’s State of the Union address to the nation. Lankford laid out his questions, answers, and concerns from the President’s speech in his reaction on Facebook Live following the address.

Lankford highlighted how “audacious” it was that President Biden would talk about border security with the many areas of lack of law enforcement of our border. Lankford pointed out Biden’s attention to the deficit when his “COVID relief” programs both caused the inflation we see today and added trillions to the deficit.


On starting the speech with Ukraine

Lankford: The biggest issues that I saw as we were going through the speech and I was kind of flowing through the argument—obviously that we’re going to stand with the people of Ukraine. Good, we should stand with the people of Ukraine. It was good that the loudest, longest applause through the entire speech was actually right at the beginning for the ambassador from Ukraine to be able to tell the world that we are standing with the people of Ukraine, and we should be standing with them for humanitarian, supporting them, cutting off Russia and isolating them from the world’s economy. We should do what it takes to be able to make it very, very clear to Russia that the world will not put up with their aggression and continue to be clear on that.

So I was pleased to be able to see that he actually started with that, but the speech went downhill from there…

On Biden’s misleading message about addressing gas prices with releasing strategic petroleum reserves

Lankford: Then he started talking about that we’re going to save oil prices and try to bring down the cost of energy in America by releasing 60 million barrels of oil worldwide. That seems like a big number except the United States alone uses 20 million barrels of oil a day, so that 60 million barrels worldwide they’ve coordinated equals three days in America or less than one day of actually world consumption. And that’s actually got to be replaced. That’s our strategic oil reserve

What we really need to do and what he wouldn’t talk about tonight is actually put pressure on Russia by increasing Oklahoma and American oil and gas production to be able to send to Europe. You want to be able to hurt Russia long-term, you’ve got to be able to cut off their customers.

On Biden’s mixed message on addressing inflation when his American Rescue Plan caused it

Lankford: He talked about the American Rescue Plan and then talked about inflation right after that, which I thought was interesting because the American Rescue Plan is what directly led to the inflation that we’re facing today. He talked about inflation, and he said, ‘This is all because of COVID,’ basically, but what he conveniently left out is, this is not the kind of inflation they have in Australia or in Japan or in South Korea or in Canada or in multiple countries around the world that are western economies. They’re not experiencing seven-and-a-half percent inflation because they didn’t do a plan like what Biden put in place last year…

On Biden’s comments that we need to secure the border

Lankford: He talked about border security. Wow. That’s all I could say. While I was sitting there listening, knowing what they’ve actually done on border security, he started talking about technology and how they’re going to stop people from illegally crossing…I was just in Brownsville, just a few weeks ago. I saw the court rooms that he was talking about. Those court rooms that he was talking about were empty the day I was there. Zero people in them. 50,000 people had illegally crossed that border just last month. They had three different hearings in that, so while he talked about, ‘We’re going to do these court rooms, and we’re going to have these judges,’ I’ve seen it firsthand. They’re not actually doing hearings there. And he can talk a big game about what’s actually happening, but they’re not really enforcing it. So that was literally not true.

Every American knows we had 2 million people illegally cross the border last year, and then he has the audacity to stand there and talk about how we’re going to have strong border security on that. That’s pretty audacious to say the least…

Inhofe Response to President Biden’s 2022 State of the Union

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) responded to President Biden’s 2022 State of the Union address:

The speech we heard from President Biden tonight was just that — talk. I am incredibly disappointed in this administration’s continued harm of Oklahomans and America. It is clear that under President Biden, the state of our union is not as strong as it should be.

President Biden’s foreign policy and national security strategy are making our country less safe, failing to secure U.S. interests, and weakening our reputation around the world. In the last year alone, we have witnessed two of the greatest national defense blunders in my lifetime. For months, we watched Russia's military buildup around Ukraine — it was plain as day that Putin intended to violate Ukraine’s sovereignty, and this administration wasn’t ready. The only real action taken by the Biden administration came much too late. His deterrence strategy failed, unfortunately for the millions of Ukrainians now fighting for their country and lives. Putin is going to great lengths to get what he wants, and we can no longer afford to drag our feet in acting to support Ukraine. Congress must provide additional aid to help now, because the administration won’t.

Even though President Biden didn’t even acknowledge it once — not even to commemorate the 13 American service members who lost their lives in Kabul on August 26 — no one should forget the rushed withdrawal from Afghanistan that left the Taliban stronger than it was on 9/11. Biden is solely responsible for this terrible decision and the chaos that followed. Perhaps worst of all, the administration told us they’d conduct “over-the-horizon” counterterrorism to mitigate the terrorist threat against the homeland. In reality, we’ve carried out no strikes, and we don’t have the intelligence to even know what al-Qaeda or ISIS is planning.

Across the globe, our adversaries, like Communist China, are taking notes on how the United States and our allies and partners are responding to the crises in Ukraine and Afghanistan. This administration has proven unable to take calculated risks, to think creatively, or to make the investments in national security across the government that would gird America for long-term strategic competition. Instead of focusing on making our world safer from these threats, President Biden has focused our Department of Defense on progressive priorities like climate change and a “woke” social agenda. I will continue to use my position as ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee to hold the Biden administration accountable and to make sure our military gets the resources it needs to defend this country. I don’t want to see yet another mistake — like a return to the failed Iran nuclear deal or an even worse new deal. 

Even though we face all of these threats, President Biden has tried to underfund national defense at every turn. Let’s not forget that his very first budget cut funding for our military because it didn’t keep up with inflation — let alone provide the 3 to 5 percent real growth above inflation recommended by the National Defense Strategy Commission. I led the charge to reject his underwhelming budget, and on a bipartisan basis, my colleagues worked with me to boost defense spending. As he works to strengthen our union this year, I hope President Biden makes investment in our national defense a higher priority.

This is even more important because of inflation. President Biden’s policies have led to skyrocketing prices — a 40-year high of 7.5 percent. Oklahomans and Americans are paying the price — the average family will lose thousands of dollars in buying power this year. Everyday necessities like food and gas should not cost a small fortune. Gas at the pump is near an 8-year high with prices only expected to rise in the months ahead. For our troops, that means lower pay, fewer modern weapons, and less training. Instead of working to cut costs and boost production, Democrats have sought reckless tax-and-spend sprees that would stick Oklahoma families with higher costs and lower wages. I will fight these policies and continue to work toward solutions that bring about real economic recovery for Oklahoma.

President Biden’s terrible record on energy and climate has not been forgotten and is on full display across America. Take the Paris Climate Agreement—President Trump wisely withdrew from the job-killing deal altogether. It was a failure when Obama introduced it, with no means of enforcement, sustainability or legal significance. President Biden has rejoined this failed agreement by executive action with no effective plan to actually hold accountable the world’s largest polluters, including China, Russia or India. Not to mention the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline and its associated 10,000 jobs. This pipeline would have strengthened our energy independence as it was expected to carry over 800,000 barrels of oil per day, which would have increased domestic supply and reduced the supply and demand disruption we are witnessing today that have increased oil prices above $100. While this administration has called for more foreign oil production, it remains clear to Oklahomans that the real solution to our energy needs is to cut regulations and unleash American energy production like we did under the Trump administration — and the situation in Ukraine makes this even more essential.

This administration has lost sight of what is important to the people of this nation, but I have not. While the Biden administration is working against Oklahomans and America, I will continue to fight for policies and initiatives that improve our national security and provide real relief to families.

Cole Statement on President Biden’s State of the Union Address

Washington, D.C. (March 1, 2022) – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after President Joe Biden delivered his State of the Union address this evening before a joint session of Congress.

“At such a perilous time in the history of the world, I was encouraged that President Joe Biden used his State of the Union address to further condemn Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked aggression and to commit additional lethal and humanitarian aid to support the Ukrainian people in their heroic defense of democracy,” said Cole. “Indeed, Americans stand united with freedom loving people everywhere against this tyrannical bully and thug. In the days ahead, the United States must demonstrate clear resolve and unyielding leadership – with President Biden doing everything in his power to punish Putin and his criminal and repressive regime for the egregious act of aggression against an innocent neighbor.

“Sadly, prior foreign policy decisions and actions taken by the Biden Administration have emboldened our adversaries and resulted in other bad actors testing the limits of the world order, particularly after the completely botched withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan. While there is certainly no predictable outcome of the Ukrainian crisis, we cannot gamble with the possibility of further aggression from Putin and other likeminded countries such as China tomorrow. There is no room for President Biden to propose underfunding of our national defense, and I wish his speech had provided assurances that he planned to reverse that error in his previous budget.

“Unfortunately, I believe President Biden tried to use his speech to rewrite his first year and paint missteps and failures as successes. Indeed, President Biden and Democrats have peddled trillions of dollars in social spending and proposed Green New Deal-like policies that have left our country in a far worse place than we were at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. It is no accident that Americans are experiencing the highest inflation we have seen in 40 years and empty shelves nationwide in grocery stores and supermarkets. This inflation is directly attributable to misguided policies and runaway spending initiated and promoted by the Biden Administration. Additionally, our southern border continues to be overwhelmed by migrants trying to illegally enter our country, including the flow of bad actors and dangerous drugs. Indeed, Biden’s open border crisis has caused opioid overdoses in our nation to drastically spike.

“Finally, I am also disappointed that President Biden did not use this opportunity to ban the buying of oil from Russia and restore our nation’s energy independence. Amid an energy crisis at home, created by the president’s cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline and moratoriums on new oil and gas leasing on federal lands, continuing to rely on Russia for oil leaves America more vulnerable to foreign threats. At any time, Putin could choose to retaliate on the dozens of countries, including our own, that have imposed sanctions on him and his regime by simply turning off the spigot. The United States has the ability to produce enough liquid energy for ourselves and our European friends that need it most. President Biden should end the ongoing vilification of America’s oil and gas industry and ensure an all-of-the-above energy policy that paves the way for American energy independence.”


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