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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., joined Congressional members to witness President Obama’s State of the Union address. Below are comments he made after the speech. 

“The President touched on a lot of areas tonight and Congress has a long to-do list, but the President needs to understand that pushing big government intervention,  programs and spending is not the answer to creating jobs. I don’t think many of the President’s proposals have been thought out beyond what words sound good according to popular polls and focus groups. As distasteful as it is to labor unions, some lawyers and left-wing progressives, it’s important to understand that in order to create jobs the federal government has to help, or at least not harm, those who create jobs.  Private sector businesses create jobs. The more money the federal government takes away from them for taxes to spend on new federal programs or initiatives, the less these employers will have to spend on wages or new jobs. I didn’t hear as much of this understanding in the President’s speech as I hoped. It is hard for small businesses to hire more help if there is uncertainty in their future. The detrimental proposals for business are the uncertainty I’m talking about.

Fancy Rhetoric Won’t Correct Flawed Accounting

“I applaud the President for taking a step in the right direction to freeze spending, but fancy rhetoric won’t correct flawed accounting. The President still leaves the federal faucet turned on at full blast. That is action. It’s not talk, but unfortunately it’s taking our country in the wrong direction. As the President talks about tiny spending freezes tonight, the majority will prepare to overspend by $1.9 TRILLION this year!!   Congressional Democrats tomorrow are going to vote on raising the debt ceiling by $1.9 trillion dollars. That shows me they intend to overspend that much. A lot more needs to be done. The American people will demand it.

  “I was hoping the President would focus more on the importance of stepping up national security and trying terrorists in military courts, not civilian courts. Not surprisingly the President continues to insist that terrorists be treated like citizens.

 “I was encouraged the President said he was going to take another look at health care reform. I hope he has now finally seen the practicality of a step by step approach that includes true bipartisanship, not just lip service. He asked for health reform ideas. I’ve presented them. They are on my Web site and have been for years. Some of them have been reviewed by the Congressional Budget Office which said they would save money and insure more people. But you won’t see my ideas in the reform bill no matter how many times I’ve presented them.

“It is better to work on a series of bills that get finished than to spend a year working on rhetoric. It isn’t time to simply change the marketing strategy for the same tired bill hoping the American people will finally start to like the majority’s health care reform proposal. Senators Grassley, Snowe and I spent hundreds of hours working with Senator Baucus and others on health care reform last year. We have plenty of work we can build on if we are ready now to put the focus in the right place - on the policy instead of the politics.

 “The President laid out a laundry list of his wishes tonight but he could have just stuck with jobs, debt and terrorism. He could finally do something for small business that will make a difference. Increasing regulation and useless paperwork won’t. It is time we recognize the innovative capability of Americans when it comes to national energy solutions. Cap and tax is not the answer. We need true debt reduction not phony accounting. The partisan divide won’t diminish if the same tactics keep being repeated.  I look forward to continuing to offer bipartisan solutions and focusing on the 80 percent of issues that everyone can agree on while leaving the polarizing 20 percent for another day.”