News Column

Lankford: State of the Union contained no genuine, constructive recommendations

January 28, 2014

Washington, DC --Following the President's State of the Union address this evening, Representative James Lankford (R-OK) lamented the President's continued reliance on political rhetoric. The President once again used the formal State of the Union address as another campaign speech. "The State of the Union did not answer the real questions the American people want to know: why have their wages continued to drag and economic growth seemed so slow," said Lankford. "People want jobs and opportunity, not federal mandates, government programs and rhetoric. Parents dream that their children will have a better future, not a better place in line at a government agency." "As the owner of small businesses in northeast Oklahoma City , this Administration's regulations--from the healthcare law to Dodd Frank's banking regulations--continue to add burden after burden on me and other local business owners serving our communities," said Lankford's State of the Union Guest, Russell Perry , a local Oklahoma City community bank owner and owner of the Black Chronicle newspaper and over two dozen radio stations across the nation. "As the owner of a community bank, Dodd Frank's regulations have made it nearly impossible to operate. Big banks should have one policy, and small banks should have another to ensure we promote a fair and secure system that works for citizens throughout our state. As we move forward in 2014 and beyond, the President must work with Congress to foster an environment from Washington that promotes hometown economic mobility and job creation for our nation's small businesses--the engine of our economy." "The constitutional purpose of the State of the Union is for Congress to hear--from time to time--the recommendations from the President that he deems 'necessary and expedient,'" observed Lankford "Instead, I heard a political stump speech for the fourth year in a row. I heard no constructive recommendations to Congress or the American people to reduce our debt, remove federal barriers to economic growth or strengthen our families. "Oklahomans want to pick their own healthcare plans, and they want to keep their doctor. They want a thriving economy and safe communities. In a state that has driven the energy industry nation-wide, we do not want to endlessly wait on a federal permit from Washington to lead us to energy independence. Oklahoma families want conservative solutions, not more sound bites. We do not need a complex bureaucratic structure to live the American dream; we simply need the federal government to do its limited role and get out of the way. Unemployment and Wages "We cannot solve our nation's fiscal issues and high unemployment with unpredictable executive orders and ever-changing regulations. We must provide an environment for small businesses to flourish, where workers can provide for their families and where our federal spending does not crush our nation's future. People do not want a government check; they want a job. As the job participation rate continues to decline, the American people can clearly see that the failed policies of this Administration have not put our nation back on solid economic ground. Anti-Poverty Initiatives "Poverty is a serious issue in our nation, but hundreds of government programs will not meet the needs of our families. The best thing we can do at the federal level for poverty is to ensure the programs we have are actually helping the families they purport to serve. Wasteful federal programs with compassionate names are no substitute for functioning families, locally-controlled education and a meaningful job. Our neighbors and communities must have the power and flexibility to care for the vulnerable without wasteful federal mandates. "My Taxpayers' Right-to-Know Act works to increase federal transparency by requiring agencies to report to the taxpayers the cost of each program, the number of people served and the evaluation metrics to determine the program's effectiveness. If a program does not help, why should that program continue to receive money from the hard-working American taxpayer? "The safety net should be temporary, and it should help people transition into meaningful work. The House continues to reform the food stamp program by reducing fraud within the program and encouraging work. The path out of poverty is a job, not a government check. "Oklahomans know how to help Oklahomans. Washington has no business dictating from more than 1,000 miles away how Oklahomans can best help their communities. Health Care "Tonight, the President predictably again touted the success of his healthcare law and exaggerated its progress while failing to mention its harmful effects. It has already severed the relationship between doctors and patients, cancelled plans for thousands of families and forced Americans off health plans they preferred. The President's plan simply created a new population of uninsured, another layer of taxes and added federal information security concerns to Americans' dinner table conversations. "The conservative plan to address healthcare delivery costs includes: true portability of insurance, cross-state insurance accessibility, availability of HSA and FSA accounts and state decision-making for greater oversight and control. Yet, the President and Senate democrats refuse to consider any changes to their flawed law. "I have worked through my Oversight Subcommittee to bring to light the need for expedited FDA approval of potentially life-saving medications for terminally ill patients. Healthcare begins with access to treatments that could make a difference between life or death. Energy "The President has consistently used his State of the Union to talk about an all the above energy strategy, but he means only energy sources he deems appropriate, while he vilifies traditional energy sources that have kept our nation moving for decades. I continue to support a conservative solution that includes all-of-the-above and an all-of-the-below energy strategy. North American energy independence must be a priority for the coming years. That strategy is achievable through a truly inclusive energy strategy. "The Keystone XL pipeline is a clear example of how the federal government is in the way of energy progress. Almost 2,000 days have passed while the administration 'studies' the pipeline's economic benefit to our nation. No matter the rhetoric, the reality of this Administration is fewer energy options and higher energy prices for all Americans. "Americans want the choice to purchase ethanol-free gasoline and they want their tax dollars to go toward solutions, not mandates. Americans demand a government that balances realistic conservation of our natural resources with the ability to meet future energy demands. "The President's Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) forces consumers to accept sub-par gasoline to accommodate his Administration's environmentalist political goals. His 'Social Cost of Carbon' rules, hidden in rulemaking for microwave ovens, challenges the Administration's promise that it would be the 'most transparent Administration ever.' "The conservative plan for North American energy independence includes utilizing abundant high-yield energy sources within our borders; exporting surplus supply to energy-hungry nations and exploring innovative energy solutions. "The state of our union is clearly strained, yet our republic is still strong. I will continue my work in the U.S. House of Representatives to push for Oklahoma common-sense solutions to the problems we face as a nation," concluded Lankford. Read this original document at: http://lankford.house.gov/press-release/lankford-state-union-contained-no-genuine-constructive-recommendations


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Source: Congressional Documents & Publications


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