WASHINGTON — Republicans said President Barack Obama’s second-term agenda will bring more tax increases and increase deficit spending.
Republicans responded to Obama’s State of the Union address with fresh appeals to voters on the economy and promises to rein in federal spending with a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said in the Republican address that Obama should “abandon his obsession with raising taxes.”
Ohio Sen. Rob Portman said Obama is promoting “the same big-government policies that have failed to get our economy up and running again.”
Republicans cast the president’s policies as impediments to middle-class families he championed during his re-election campaign.
Rubio said he hoped that the president would pursue policies that would foster economic growth and help middle-class families achieve prosperity.
“Presidents in both parties, from John F. Kennedy to Ronald Reagan, have known that our free-enterprise economy is the source of our middle-class prosperity. But President Obama? He believes it’s the cause of our problems,” Rubio said.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, in excerpts from a separate tea party response, cast blame on both parties, saying “Washington acts in a way that your family never could. They spend money they do not have, they borrow from future generations, and then they blame each other for never fixing the problem.”
The two speeches helped frame how Republicans respond to Obama’s first State of the Union address of his second term and try to shape the agenda at a time of divided government.
Obama’s first term was marked by clashes with Republicans in Congress over the role of government, deficits and spending cuts, and both sides were using their addresses to offer prescriptions for rejuvenating the economy.
Rubio pointed to his Miami roots to address Obama’s frequent portrayal of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and his party, as only caring about the wealthiest Americans.
Rubio said he still lived in the “same working-class neighborhood I grew up in” and his neighbors “aren’t millionaires” but retirees, workers and immigrants.