By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Tuesday, January 20, 2015, President Barack H. Obama outlined an ambitious agenda of liberal-progressive policy proposals in this year’s State of the Union Speech. US Senators Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) and Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) both released statements expressing skepticism after President Obama’s State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress.
Senator Shelby said in a written statement, “Tonight’s address from President Obama was once again heavy on rhetoric and light on real solutions for families and businesses across the nation. Voters sent a strong message in November that they are dissatisfied with the growing role of government in their lives, yet the President failed to discuss his plans to work with Republicans in Congress on addressing these important concerns.”
Senator Sessions said in his own statement, “Tonight President Obama stayed the course of tax, spend, borrow, regulate, and add to the debt. This policy has hammered working families, whose average inflation-adjusted income has fallen a stunning $4,200 since 2009. Labor force participation for both men and women between 25–54 has been steadily falling since the President took office, while 12 million people have left the workforce entirely.”
Senator Shelby wrote, “The President’s address tonight did not include plans to rescind his decision to circumvent Congress and unilaterally grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants. It failed to outline a way to provide the American people with relief from the destructive impacts of Obamacare. We also did not hear about his plans to enact policies that will reenergize the private sector and encourage job growth or to work with Republicans on common sense ideas to boost our nation’s energy independence such as allowing construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Sen. Sessions said, “On the national security front, President Obama has once again failed to deliver a clear vision for combating the threat of ISIS and Islamic extremism, and has still not lucidly articulated the nature of the threat challenging the West.”
Sen. Shelby concluded, “I believe that Alabamians – and all Americans – deserve better than more of the same failed tax and spend policies from this Administration. That is why I urge President Obama to join us in supporting policies that get Washington out of the way and create economic conditions to give the American people an opportunity to succeed.”
Sen. Sessions wrote, “On immigration, the President remains wedded to a lawless policy that serves only the interest of an international elite while reducing jobs and benefits for everyday Americans. All net employment gains since the recession in 2007 have gone to foreign workers, and yet the President has violated federal law in order to provide work permits to 5 million illegal immigrants—allowing them to take any of the few good jobs that exist. In effect, the President delivered an address tonight to a Congress whose authority he does not recognize and to a public whose votes he has nullified with an imperial edict. Congress must use every tool at its disposal to stop this unlawful edict, end the immigration lawlessness, and reverse our slide towards congressional irrelevance.”
The President’s legislative agenda faces an unlikely chance of passage in what is the most conservative, most Republican Congress since World War II. There probably has not been a greater ideological divide between a President and the Congress since Truman released his controversial “Fair Deal” in the 1940s. There has been a tremendous change since 2010 when a solid Democratic Majority in both Houses could do whatever they wanted to do without any need to even peel off Republican votes.