Reaction to SOTU Falls Mainly Along Party Lines
Reaction to President Obama's final State of the Union Address from southern Illinois' representatives in Congress fell mainly along party lines.
Republican Mike Bost took issue with the President highlighting benefits for veterans and active duty service members.
"Veterans are not getting the care they need. The VA is backlogged, and over 20 veterans are coming up and committing suicide every day."
The Murphysboro Republican also says he hopes Mr. Obama will join the GOP-led Congress in compromising on several big issues in his last months in office.
"It was a political speech. The bright side is, is that we have an opportunity to move forward as a Congress to address these issues.
We have an opportunity to move forward as a Congress to address these issues. ~U.S. Rep. Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro)
My hope is that in the few months that he has left in office, that he'll join us."
Bost says he hopes Congress and the President can work together on economic issues, including high unemployment rates in his district, as well as national security and benefits for veterans.
Representative John Shimkus also sided with many others in his party - saying Mr. Obama missed an opportunity to lead.
"Leadership this ability to get people to do what you want them to do not by forcing them to do it, but by inspiring them. The President hasn't inspired the nation to work together, the President hasn't inspired the federal government to work together."
The President hasn't inspired the nation to work together, the President hasn't inspired the federal government to work together. ~Rep. John Shimkus (R-Collinsville)
The Collinsville Republican says he would rather have heard the President address the energy sector that dominates his district - coal and fossil fuels - rather than a new energy policy. He says too many southern Illinoisans are losing jobs because of the current administration's decisions.
Shimkus says Mr. Obama has yet to adequately address the threat of terrorism at home and abroad. He says he wants the administration to do more.
"We need to have a plan to defeat ISIS. We need to take away that safe haven, we need to take away the training sites. And we need to work to ensure that Americans feel safe and secure."
Meanwhile Democratic U.S. Senator Dick Durbin says it will be a challenge this year to change the 'rancor and suspicion' between political parties that President Obama spoke of in his final State of the Union Address.
Durbin gauged the reaction from both sides of the aisle shortly after Tuesday's address:
"It is a tough thing to do in an election year. Tougher than any other time. And the reaction by the Republican side of the aisle was not very encouraging tonight. But I happen to know there are specific Republican senators on issues that I can work with, and want to work with. So I haven't given up. I still think we can find bipartisan solutions."
There are specific Republican senators on issues that I can work with, and want to work with. So I haven't given up. ~U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois)
Durbin, the Minority Whip in the Senate, says the president's pledge to enact criminal justice reform could mean resources for more effective policing throughout small towns in Illinois.
There only a brief mention of gun control in Obama's speech. Durbin says the president made a conscious effort two weeks ago to discuss the issue separately, to make sure it wasn't lost in a litany of other issues Tuesday night.