‘Nothing to suggest we’re going to change course’
"A majority of American’s believe that our country is headed in the wrong direction. Unfortunately, I believe they’re right. And I heard nothing tonight to suggest that we’re going to change course.
"At home, our economy is stagnate and abroad, our nation is very much at risk.
"I heard nothing from the president tonight to suggest that we’re actually going to destroy ISIL.
"I fear 2016 will be a very dangerous year abroad and a challenging year here at home. I hope and pray I'm wrong.”
— U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.
‘Wish list of a lame-duck president’
"Instead of offering serious solutions to keeping our nation safe and ensuring that every family has access to the American Dream, tonight we heard the political wish list of a lame-duck president. I heard a president unconcerned with governing by executive order, and who will attempt to continue ignoring the will of Congress and the American people.
"While the president seeks to define his legacy this year, its important that we remember just what happened over the past seven years:
“The rise of ISIS
“Multiple misguided attempts to close Guantanamo Bay, which have led to former detainees returning to prominent roles in terror groups
“A horribly misguided deal with Iran
“46 million Americans living in poverty
“Many American families facing with higher health-care premiums and deductibles
“Even more Americans leaving the workforce because they felt they simply could not find work
“Massive systematic failures at the Department of Veterans Affairs
“Attempts to shut down successful school choice programs
"And that’s just the beginning. To put it as simply as possible, the policies of the past seven years have been incredibly damaging for the American people. But we now have a chance to change that.
"We must lead in the fight against extremists and terror, and make certain that our allies in the Middle East are playing a significant role on the ground. We cannot simply hope ISIS or al-Qaeda will disappear. The men and women of our armed forces are true American heroes, and they deserve nothing less than the strongest strategy possible behind their missions.
"At home, our nation is powered by the people - hardworking men and women doing all that they can to support their families. Unfortunately, Washington likes to get in the way of that. We need to ensure that innovation and entrepreneurship are thriving while re-energizing the American dream.
"By implementing school choice and encouraging apprenticeships and other job training initiatives, we can give every family the opportunity to thrive. By restructuring our social welfare programs, we can see that they act as a trampoline that encourages success. And through a reinvention of our tax code, we will see our small businesses grow and their innovations multiply.
"America’s future is bright because the American people are strong. Despite the failures of the past seven years, that will not change."
— U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C.
‘Jimmy Carter all over again’
“As anticipated, tonight’s State of the Union painted an optimistic picture. I appreciated what the president said in looking toward the future and in embracing the changes that will come with it. It’s something we all need to do.
“At a personal level, I wish him well in life’s next chapter 11 months from now, and though any president is entitled to their own self-defined and proclaimed victory lap, reality is not quite as rosy as Obama would like each of us to believe. He may say that the future looks bright for America, but saying and proving are two different things and I can think of at least a few reasons why I respectfully disagree with his perspective.
“One, we are less financially secure as a nation than at any point in recent American history. Since he took office, the debt has increased by almost $8.5 trillion, up from $10.6 trillion. And this number will continue growing so that the total national debt will likely double during his tenure. It’s understandable that he doesn’t want to emphasize this, but it’s a disservice to taxpayers to avoid the issue. The cost of growing government is a growing debt. Fixing this issue isn’t easy, but it’s necessary for America’s future.
“Two, he spoke about America’s strength globally. This is, in fact, Jimmy Carter all over again. Tonight, Iranians hold ten American sailors. Days ago, they fired a missile in front of one of our nuclear carriers. In fact, this is the first time since Jimmy Carter’s days that we have seen this kind of action out of Iran. North Korea detonated a nuclear bomb, and Syria’s red line became a blurred line that has bled refugees. The Middle East has boiled over. Terrorism has come to America. The ISIS ‘junior varsity’ squad has proven to be anything but what the pesident has suggested. His equivocation has weakened America internationally and made us less safe.
“Finally, he pointed to the need for America to be driven by the best of what is within us and in looking for ways to work together. On this point, he has my full support. I applaud some of what he has done on things like allowing Americans their constitutional right to travel, and it’s my hope that we can find other things to work together on over the next 11 months."
— U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford, R-Charleston
‘The good news is that the sun is setting on the Obama Administration’
“The American people see the state of our Union much differently than our president, and perhaps that is why this administration continues to be a disappointment. The unfortunate reality is that for too many Americans, our country and the world is in a worse situation today than we were seven years ago. The good news is that the sun is setting on the Obama Administration, and the country has an opportunity to set a new course. While the influence of this administration is already notably waning, I will continue to vigorously hold the administration accountable and oppose unilateral executive actions that weaken our democratic institutions. I will also continue putting forth conservative solutions to improve our economy, provide opportunity for all Americans, and protect our national security. However, it is important to note that the greatest policy decisions this year will be made by the American people this November.”
— U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-Laurens