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KGOU: Oklahoma Lawmakers React To State Of The Union

January 13, 2016
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KGOU Radio - Biran Hardzinski

Oklahoma's Congressional delegation roundly criticized President Obama's final State of the Union address last night.

Both U.S. Sens. Jim Inhofe and James Lankford recorded video responses after the annual message to Congress concluded.

Lankford said he appreciated the president's praise of the military and optimism about curing cancer. But he called the economic growth over the past seven years "sluggish" and "anemic."

“He talks about how great the economy is and how it’s grown, but most Oklahomans don’t feel that as wages have continued to decline, as there’s been all kinds of problems with employment,” Lankford said. “Many are in part time jobs that want to be in full time, or wanted to be able to see a job transition, but have just not been able to do that.”

Lankford also said the president skimmed over certain facts while touting his accomplishments, like rising healthcare costs under the Affordable Care Act.

“Many Oklahomans that have access to health insurance now don’t actually have access to healthcare,” Lankford said. “And they have a very difficult time using that insurance because the deductibles and the copays have gone up so fast.”

Inhofe focused his critique on energy and the environment, as well as the president's foreign policy.

“His lack of leadership has resulted in global instability, the rise in ISIS, the drastic weakening of our military,” Inhofe said. “Americans are now less safe because of Middle Eastern instability he caused with his hasty withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Inhofe also said the president tried to take credit for an energy renaissance that came despite increased regulations on fossil fuels.

“He vowed to veto the bill allowing American oil exports,” Inhofe said. “On federal land where he has control, oil production has actually fallen. On private land where he doesn’t have control, it has increased by 3 million barrels a day.”

U.S. Rep. Tom Cole said he was concerned by what he didn’t hear in last night’s address – a balanced budget proposal, plans for faster job and wage growth, and a more comprehensive strategy for defeating ISIS.

“Despite his claims to the contrary, the president has consistently shown that he is more interested in advancing policies—like Obamacare—that add to our massive debt, instead of coming up with reforms to pay it down,” Cole said in a statement. “Even more alarming is the president’s claim of foreign policy leadership when his clear lack of resolve and understanding of the world have undisputedly weakened America’s standing among our allies and enemies alike.”

In a video message posted on his Facebook page, Congressman Markwayne Mullin said the president has “wasted” the last seven years.

U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas criticized climate change regulation and gun control proposals in his own video message posted before the Tuesday night address. Congressman Jim Bridenstine suggested securing the border, abolishing the Internal Revenue Service, and defunding Planned Parenthood as ways to boost the economy and national security.

Online: KGOU Radio