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Area congressional leaders react to State of the Union address

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013 9:57 a.m. CDT

(MCT) — BLOOMINGTON — Congressmen from Central Illinois welcomed President Barack Obama’s call for bipartisan solutions to a range of America’s problems, but as one put it, “talk is cheap” and action needs to follow the words.

“I agree that we need to come together with bipartisan solutions to our problems, and there are a number of the president’s proposals that I agree with, such as repairs to roads and bridges and an all-of-the-above approach to domestic energy,” U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, a Republican from Taylorville, said. “But talk is cheap and it is up to the president to lead the charge on many of his proposals tonight.”

Davis, attending his first State of the Union address Tuesday as a member of Congress, added that he thinks Obama needs to do more than “asking Congress to ‘stop by’ to talk about these issues. It is my hope that the President will be actively engaged with legislative leaders and members of Congress.”

“We owe it to all Americans to stop being politicians and start being statesmen,” he said.

U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock, a Republican from Peoria, said Obama’s speech once again offered “soaring rhetoric and promises” but was disappointingly short of substance and true bipartisanship.

“If the President negotiates in good faith and lives up to his words tonight, we can jointly act — in a bipartisan way — to prevent a debt crisis and get our economy back on track,” Schock said. “But this will require presidential leadership.”

He said Obama and Democratic leaders have done far too little over the past four years on job creation, spending cuts, comprehensive tax reform and encouraging private-sector economic growth.

“While speeches can offer a vision, what our country needs is a road map back to prosperity,” Schock said. “That is why the House will once again introduce a budget that will make the tough but necessary decisions to curb spending and eliminate the yearly trillion-dollar deficits.”

Like Schock, U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a Manteno Republican, said he heard Obama repeat old, partisan ideas. He agreed with Schock’s assessment on economic issues and called for a stronger stand on defense and foreign policy.

“Tonight, Americans heard more of the same from President Obama, which is disheartening news for our economy – and our country,” Kingzinger said. “Tonight was a major opportunity for the president to call Republicans and Democrats together to say both sides must work together to find common ground in order to solve the huge problems facing this country for the future generations.

“That’s something that was sorely missing here tonight; the discussion of what will happen to the next generation of Americans. And, unfortunately, President Obama once again descended back into more partisan rhetoric that only divides the nation rather than unites our country to conquer our spending addiction and gets us back on the path toward prosperity.”

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