President Barack Obama wants to work with congressional Republicans to create “better politics” in Washington. But Republican lawmakers from Wisconsin lawmakers said they heard very little talk of compromise during Obama’s State of the Union address.
“He kind of took a hyper-partisan tone for the first 45 minutes or so, and then he ended with kind of this flowery language about working together and being decent to each other and not running horrible campaign ads,” said Representative Reid Ribble.
“The president said that he wants to work with Congress, and I want to take him up on that offer,” said House Ways and Means Committee chairman Paul Ryan of Janesville. “But to make real progress, we need to focus on finding common ground, not issues that only divide us.”
“I am eternal optimist, but this address left me with little hope that the President is willing to work with the new American Congress,” Congressman Sean Duffy said.
The President’s Democratic agenda includes tax hikes for top income earners, as well as education and tax breaks for the middle class. “The last thing we need is another tax increase,” said Ryan. “What we really need to do is make the tax code simpler, flatter, fairer, so we can create more jobs.”
Republicans liked the president’s commitment to fast-track trade deals with Asia and Europe. “More and more Wisconsin businesses are having significant portions of their sales overseas, so insofar as we can expand that, that’s a good thing,” said new House member, Campbellsport Republican Glenn Grothman.
Grothman hoped Obama would “get in front of hard choices” now that he can’t run for re-election, but he heard nothing about spending cuts. “I was somewhat disappointed that the President didn’t address feasible solutions for many of the big problems the country is facing,” Grothman said.
Republican Jim Sensenbrenner has highly critical of the president’s remarks. “In November, the American people spoke loud and clear, in what was nothing short of a land-slide election. But instead of attempting to reach across the aisle and work with Republicans, the President dug in his heels-laying the groundwork for a Do-Nothing White House. This is a real shame.”