Members of Indiana’s congressional delegation offer their responses to the President’s State of the Union address.

U.S. Senator Dan Coats

  •  “The November election was a rejection of President Obama’s policies, but it is clear that he did not get the message. In his first State of the Union address to a Republican-led Congress, President Obama doubled down on many of the same failed policies – tax hikes, increased regulation, more spending and bigger government. It is time for a new course. In the coming months, Congress will be sending legislation with bipartisan support to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. President Obama must decide if he is willing to work with us on solutions to create jobs, increase wages and help hard-working families.”

Jackie Walorski – (2nd CD)

  • “The president and I have two very different visions for the future of this country. His vision is an idea of higher taxes on hardworking Americans, burdensome government regulations, higher spending, and a reckless national defense that further endangers our country.   “My vision is one I share with my constituents and Americans across the country – they want a future that empowers people, not Washington, DC.  Our vision is lower taxes, less government intrusion and the strongest military to protect America. We want a balanced budget, not taxes on hardworking people and higher spending.  We want our country, and our Commander in Chief, to lead on national security.  Whether it’s ensuring America’s veterans receive the benefits they deserve, strengthening our national defense and military, or making sure hungry kids have food to eat, these are the priorities I have, and will continue to fight for on behalf of my constituents.”

Todd Rokita – (4th CD)

  • “As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, I understand the power of knowledge.  I believe all Americans should have access to quality education, which empowers the individual – not the government – to build better lives for themselves and their families. Unfortunately, the President’s plan for education directly hurts the middle class, taking away the benefits of 529 college savings plans to pay for “free community college.”  To adapt a quote from P. J. O’Rourke, if you think college is expensive now, just wait until it’s free.  We don’t need more federal education programs.  Instead we need to empower students, families, teachers, and our state and local officials.”  “I understand too many Americans are struggling to make ends meet.  I agree with the President that the tax burden on the middle class is too large and that our tax code is too complex.  However, I disagree that the solution is more tax hikes to fuel a federal government that is already too big, too inefficient, and too unaccountable.  We have a spending problem, not a revenue problem.  When President Obama took office six years ago, our national debt was $10.6 trillion.  It’s now $18.1 trillion.  Instead of tackling this issue six years ago, the President ran up the tab and is now trying to escape the consequences of his tax-and-spend agenda.  As Vice-Chairman of the House Budget Committee, I am committed to making the difficult choices to reform our tax code, cut federal spending, and secure the future for our children and grandchildren.”

Susan Brooks – (5th CD)

  • “Leaders on both sides of the aisle want to see our middle class grow and prosper. But President Obama must recognize penalizing one group of Americans in order to help others is not a winning strategy. It will not produce real results and only makes our political discourse even more divisive.   There are proposals with significant support from both Republicans and Democrats that can increase economic opportunity and bring peace of mind to our middle class. Instead of using 2015 to focus on issues that divide us, I hope the President will reverse course and usher in a new era of genuine bipartisanship. A good start would be working with Congress to build the Keystone Pipeline, restore the 40 hour work week and end the Affordable Care Act’s harmful tax on medical device innovation. From there, I am hopeful we can build momentum to tackle vital priorities such as cyber-security and comprehensive tax reform. Let’s take advantage of the common ground that clearly exists on these issues and pursue real solutions for a healthy economy.”

Luke Messer – (6th CD)

  • “Tonight, the President talked about coming together but put forth policies that divide us, like higher taxes, increased spending and more debt.   Washington does not need more money. Last year alone, the Federal government took in a record $3 trillion.  That’s a 40% increase over five years ago.  If the private economy grew at that same rate, we’d be experiencing historic job growth.  D.C. bureaucrats don’t need more money.  Middle class Americans do.   Let’s stop giving Washington more power at the expense of everyone else.   The truth is it’s time to invest in the middle class by lowering taxes, putting more money back in their pockets and growing our economy from the bottom up.  I’m committed to working with my colleagues on policies that get this done.”

Andre Carson – (7th CD)

  • “Tonight, I was pleased to hear President Obama’s call for improving the lives of millions of middle-class families. From raising wages and increasing gender equality in the workplace to making home ownership more affordable and lowering taxes, his proposals will make a real impact for families who have struggled the most in our recent economic downturn.   I was particularly interested in the President’s push to make tuition-free community college accessible for all Americans.  Within the next few years, over 35 percent of all job openings will require a bachelor’s degree.  This plan is not just about educating our young people; it is about preparing them for a modern workforce and embracing the economic boost that their future employment will bring.  I will be encouraging Speaker Boehner to make this proposal a top agenda item in the 114th Congress.     Finally, I was pleased to hear the President address the growing threat of terrorism and the role our men and women in uniform are playing to combat this threat abroad.  The recent attacks in Paris demonstrate that the fight against terrorism is not confined to ISIL in Iraq and Syria or Al-Qaeda and Afghanistan.  As a new Member of the Intelligence Committee, I will be doing everything I can to support those who monitor and combat these threats, both at home and overseas.”

Larry Bucshon – (8th CD)

  • We all learned at a young age that there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Yet, the President announced tonight a plan filled with more tax increases to pay for even more spending and growth of the federal government. At the same time, he failed to offer a plan to reduce the mountain of debt that has been placed on the backs of future generations. This speech completely missed the mark. Wages for low- and middle- class families have declined, while prices at home are on the rise. The American people just want a break, but unfortunately, we heard the same stale, divisive rhetoric from President Obama.   We have a real opportunity to work together on permanent solutions that will give those who need it a hand up. We can invest in our nation’s greatest asset, our people, not in government bureaucracy.  That means a pro-family tax code that is fair for everyone and helps make America more competitive abroad; an all-of-the-above energy plan that secures American energy independence and lowers energy prices; a healthcare system where every American can see the doctor of their choice at a price they can afford; and America where our citizens are safe at home and abroad.  We are the greatest country the world has known and there isn’t a challenge we face that is too big or too great.  I’m hopeful the President will break from his rhetoric tonight and put forth a good-faith effort to work with his party and Republicans in Congress to get American back on track.”

Todd Young – (9th CD)

  • While the President closed his State of the Union address by noting his desire to work across the aisle, much of his speech was spent digging in his heels on the same tax-and-spend policies rejected by the American people rather than identifying areas of common ground.  But while I’m generally disappointed he took this tack, I still think there were some hints of bipartisanship that might present opportunities to grow a stronger economy.  For starters, I agree with the President that Congress must pass a trade promotion authority bill.  With two of the largest free trade agreements in the history of the world currently being negotiated, it is vital that the administration works with Congress to set negotiating priorities so that a deal might be completed quickly.  In order to grow our economy, we must continue to open foreign markets to agricultural products and manufactured goods from places like Indiana, and that won’t happen without Congressional authorization.  I look forward to President Obama following through on his words tonight, and helping us gather more Democratic support. Second, I appreciate that the President recognizes the need to overhaul our antiquated tax code.  However, given the details we’ve heard about his plan, I question the seriousness of his approach.  He proposes to increase revenues by shifting wealth and making the tax code more complicated, rather than trying to broaden the tax base by simplifying the tax code and growing the economy from the bottom up.  Additionally, he proposes tax reform that only lowers rates for large corporations, while leaving rates high on individual Americans and small businesses.  In coming months, I hope he’ll rethink this strategy.  Finally, too often over the past few months, the President has made it clear that he intends to act unilaterally whenever possible.  In our system of government, where a duly-elected Congress is responsible for writing laws, that course of action only creates more gridlock, erodes the trust of the American people, and sets a dangerous precedent.  That’s why tomorrow, I plan to reintroduce the REINS Act with Senator Rand Paul.  This bill would require Congressional sign-off before major rules and regulations from the executive branch could take effect, thus helping to restore the Constitutionally-defined role of Congress to the legislative branch.  If the President is serious about working with Congress to do what’s best for America, I hope he’ll engage us in this effort to ensure Congress plays a part.