SD delegation splits on party lines over State of Union speechSouth Dakota’s congressional delegation was predictably divided on party lines over President Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night.
By: Tom Lawrence, The Daily Republic
South Dakota’s congressional delegation was predictably divided on party lines over President Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night.
Sen. Tim Johnson, a Democrat, said Obama’s speech urged the country to head in “the right direction.” Sen. John Thune, and Rep. Kristi Noem, both Republicans, said while they heard the president speak, they want to see him act.
All three South Dakota officials attended the annual address held in the Capitol, but they had very different reactions to what they heard.
“The president’s focus on jobs and the middle class provides leadership to take our country in the right direction,” Johnson said in a statement issued shortly after the speech ended. “I was pleased that he stressed clean and renewable energy as the future direction for our energy policy. It is important for South Dakota with our abundant wind and ethanol resources.”
But he said he was “disappointed” Obama did not mention the farm bill.
“Producers in South Dakota and rural America need the certainty a five-year farm bill can provide,” Johnson said.
The three-term senator said he agrees with Obama on the need for “a balanced approach of targeted cuts and raising revenue” to reduce the deficit.
“We are not going to simply cut our way to prosperity,” Johnson said.
“We also need to invest in America’s future by investing in education from preschool to college to give our children the tools they need to thrive in tomorrow’s economy.”
Thune said he is waiting for “not the rhetoric, but the action” from Obama.
“Too often the president has said some of the right things, but unfortunately doesn’t follow up when it comes time to getting the job done,” he said in a statement. “I’ve said this before, but what we really need in Washington right now more than anything else is presidential leadership. We cannot solve the big problems we face as a country, we can’t deal with reforming programs like Social Security and Medicare to protect them and to save them for future generations unless the president is willing to lead.”
Thune said without the president’s leadership, the economy will not grow, jobs will not be added, and the tax code will not receive needed reforms.
“I look forward to working with the president when he gets serious about solving our nation’s problems,” he said. “I hope that in the next few months we will see that he is serious.”
Noem told The Daily Republic she wants to see Obama act and not just make promises.
“It was a lot of conversation, a lot of talk,” she said. “We haven’t seen action out of this president out of his priorities.”
Noem said while Obama discussed a broad number of topics, she wonders if any will become laws or policies.
“This large number of initiatives he wants to undertake, I have a hard time comprehending how he is going to pay for them without running up the deficit,” she said. “I honestly don’t know how you could put a price tag on these and deal with the deficit we already have.”
Noem said she was pleased to hear the president say he would support Americans in uniform, back immigration reform and legal immigration, and advocate for job creation. But she said the more than 40 bills on job creation that the GOP has supported have not become law.
Noem said Obama indicated he would use executive orders and regulatory actions to make the changes he wants. She said she disagrees with that, and will “keep an eye on” such moves in the coming months.