Local members of Congress react to State of the Union address - KXLT - Fox 47 Rochester MN News, Weather, Sports #rochmn

Local members of Congress react to State of the Union address

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (FOX 47) -

Sen. Tina Smith
(DFL) Minnesota

“I’m not a Washington insider—my family and I are proud Minnesotans—so it was a new experience to see the State of the Union in person. And sitting in the U.S. Capitol tonight gave me an opportunity to reflect on my first month in office and think about what I want to fight for in Washington.

Over the past month, I’ve traveled all around our state to meet with Minnesotans—working families, educators, community leaders, pensioners, steelworkers, native communities, those on the front lines of the opioid crisis, Dreamers, and many others. 

Many of the people I’ve talked to are concerned by the direction that President Trump and Republicans in Congress have steered the country. They continue to see a majority of economic gains flow to the wealthiest Americans, while their families struggle to make ends meet. They’re concerned about whether their jobs will be around next year. They’re concerned about the cost of health care and prescription drugs. They’re concerned about their immigration status, their retirement accounts, or their educations. I’m working for all these Minnesotans, and I call on President Trump to do the same.

President Trump talked a lot tonight about the need for bipartisanship. I couldn’t agree more. But he needs to put those words into action—something he and Republicans in Congress repeatedly failed to do in the first year of this administration. I sincerely hope that changes.

So, here’s my promise: I’ll fight back when the President pursues policies that harm people, and I’ll also look for ways to find common ground to get things done in a bipartisan way. That’s what Minnesotans want from their elected officials.

Minnesotans expect me to be a fierce advocate for them, and that’s exactly what I will continue to be.”

Sen. Charles Grassley
(R) Iowa

“President Trump rightly discussed the many accomplishments of the past year, as well as a long to-do list on behalf of the American people in the year ahead.

Once-in-a-generation tax reform is already improving the lives of millions of hardworking Americans, from increased wages and take-home pay to a hiring and investment spree that is creating new jobs and revitalizing parts of the country that many discounted only a few years ago.

In the last year, Congress and the Trump Administration have cut unnecessary red tape that was holding back the economy and stalling innovation.

A record 13 appellate court judges, including Justice Neil Gorsuch, were confirmed in 2017. But there are still many judicial vacancies to fill, and as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, one of my top priorities in the year ahead will be to vet and review judicial nominees who will apply the law as written and not legislate from the bench.

President Trump laid out a framework for solving some of the most immediate immigration issues facing America. It’s now up to Congress to heed the President’s call, be willing to compromise and engage in serious, bipartisan negotiations that will protect those who were brought here through no fault of their own while respecting the fact that we are a nation of laws. Americans deserve and expect secure borders, protection from dangerous criminal aliens and an immigration system based on ability to contribute to society.

I’m glad the President discussed the importance of trade to U.S. workers and industry. In Iowa, one out of every five jobs is trade-dependent. As President Trump’s administration continues to renegotiate NAFTA and other trade pacts, I expect the President to stick to his word to protect American agriculture.

The President was right to call on Congress to come together to find creative solutions to upgrade infrastructure throughout our country. American agriculture and other industries depend on functioning waterways, bridges and roads to export products to foreign markets. For the United States to stay ahead in the 21st century, the nation needs infrastructure that can compete.

Access to health care and health care costs remain one of the most significant challenges we face as a country. I’m working across the aisle on a number of initiatives to lower prescription drug prices and increase competition. And as the President said, it’s clear that the opioid epidemic is far from over. Much more can be done to end this scourge that is ruining so many lives.

A powerful military at a high level of readiness is essential to deter would-be aggressors and preserve the peace. It’s important that we never lose sight of the dangers that we face as a nation. The American men and women in uniform who give so much to their country should always be provided with the resources they need to do their jobs safely and effectively.

The President celebrated a nation that is optimistic about its future once again. He reached out with a message of unity and tasked Congress with making sure we continue to build on that progress. I look forward to getting back to work for Iowans and for the country.”

Sen. Joni Ernst
(R) Iowa

“Tonight, we heard a message of optimism from President Trump through his vision to continue keeping America safe, keeping America strong, and of course, remaining a proud America.

Already, under the Trump administration, we have seen tax reform signed into law for the first time in decades, which is helping to grow the economy and putting more money into the pockets of Iowans, while also eliminating an unnecessary tax break for Members of Congress through my SQUEAL Act. In addition, this administration has implemented our efforts to improve access to timely and quality care for our veterans; protected our citizens through Sarah’s Law; improved the readiness and strength of our military; and begun scrapping the Water of the United States (WOTUS) rule.

But there is a lot more work to be done.

As Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, I was pleased to hear the President discuss keys parts of his administration’s National Security Strategy which preserves peace through strength, protects the American way of life, sets America on a path to defeat any enemy, and prioritizes the need to continue working by, with, and through our allies to maintain global security. I’m also relieved to hear that President Trump will undo the Obama administration’s attempt to close Guantanamo Bay detention facility. The facility has housed many responsible for planning the attacks upon our nation on 9/11, and continues to imprison some of the world’s most dangerous terrorists. President Trump’s decision is an essential step in the right direction toward preserving our safety and security.

In addition to our national defense, the federal government has an important role to play in developing and maintaining our country’s infrastructure. Having a robust and efficient transportation infrastructure is vital to the economy, and I appreciated hearing from the president on this very issue tonight. As a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, I look forward to working with this administration on a path forward to repair and modernize our aging infrastructure.

Another important topic before Congress is immigration reform and securing our borders. As I have said previously, the framework the president laid out is a good starting point for discussions in Congress. A path forward should be reflective of the legal, economic, and security concerns that are present in the current debate and the unique challenges that DACA recipients face. At the same time, we must also make sure that we are enforcing our laws and strengthening border security. In the time ahead, I look forward to continuing to review these ideas, and working with the administration and my colleagues in Congress to address them.

We also heard President Trump talk about trade, which plays an important role in Iowa’s economy. Iowans’ strong work ethic and ingenuity place our manufacturers, farmers, and service providers in a position to compete in the global market – provided they are operating on a level playing field. I will continue to work with this administration toward trade deals that promote fairness by reducing trade barriers, enhancing transparency, and cutting red tape.

There has been a great deal of progress over the last year, and I look forward to building on these efforts with the administration on behalf of Iowans throughout 2018.”

Rep. Tim Walz
(DFL) Minnesota / 1st District

“I simply cannot in good conscience respond to tonight’s address as if it is a normal State of the Union. Whether with his complete disregard for the rule of law, his clear intent to obstruct justice, his efforts to tear down our law enforcement institutions or his dangerous rhetoric, this President has made it abundantly clear he is unfit to serve. 

What we heard tonight from the President was, as always, all talk, and I have no doubt it will be different by tomorrow morning. In Congress, our efforts must focus on working together on behalf of all Americans and restoring the damage done by this Administration in the past year.

What gives me hope in the future of our country tonight are the men and women from all walks of life that gathered in the House chamber. Soldiers, teachers, immigrants, students, scientists, first responders, farmers and small business owners. Their contributions and service will truly build a better world.” 

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