Both President Obama and Republicans want to improve Americans’ lives, but they have different avenues to get there, House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers said during the Republican response to the State to the Union Tuesday night.
“So tonight I’d like to share a more hopeful, Republican vision. One that empowers you, not the government,” she said. “It’s one that champions free markets — and trusts people to make their own decisions, not a government that decides for you.”
The mother of three, and the first Republican woman to deliver a response to the State of the Union in over a decade, harkened back to her personal story, growing up on her family’s Washington orchard with a father who drove a school bus and a mother who worked as a bookkeeper.
McMorris Rodgers went on to detail how she became the first one in her family to go to college, won a seat in the House of Representatives, and then married her husband, a Navy commander.
“Like all parents, we have high hopes and dreams for our children, but we also know what it’s like to face challenges,” said the mother of three, one of who, Cole, has Down syndrome.
“Cole, and his sisters, Grace and Brynn, have only made me more determined to see the potential in every human life — that whether we’re born with an extra twenty-first chromosome or without a dollar to our name — we are not defined by our limits, but by our potential,” she said. “Because our mission — not only as Republicans, but as Americans — is to once again to ensure that we are not bound by where we come from, but empowered by what we can become.”
The Washington congresswoman went on to address the president’s concern with income inequality, saying that the real issue is not income inequality but “opportunity inequality.”
“And with this Administration’s policies, that gap has become far too wide,” she said. “We see this gap growing every single day.”
“Last month, more Americans stopped looking for a job than found one,” she continued. “Too many people are falling further and further behind because, right now, the President’s policies are making people’s lives harder.”
According to McMorris Rodgers, Republicans have viable plans to help more Americans get jobs without more government.
“Every day, we’re working to expand our economy, one manufacturing job, nursing degree and small business at a time,” she said. “We have plans to improve our education and training systems so you have the choice to determine where your kids go to school so college is affordable and skills training is modernized.”
She went on to advocate for immigration reform as another way to improve the economy, pointing out that House Republicans are “working on a step-by-step solution to immigration reform by first securing our borders and making sure America will always attract the best, brightest, and hardest working from around the world.”
From Republican solutions to the country’s economic woes, McMorris Rodgers move to the target-rich environment of Obamacare.
“Not long ago I got a letter from Bette in Spokane, who hoped the president’s health care law would save her money — but found out instead that her premiums were going up nearly $700 a month,” she said. “No, we shouldn’t go back to the way things were, but this law is not working. Republicans believe health care choices should be yours, not the government’s.”
She called on Obama to join with the GOP in a “year of real action” by “empowering people.”
“As Republicans, we advance these plans every day because we believe in a government that trusts people and doesn’t limit where you finish because of where you started,” she said. “That is what we stand for — it’s for an America that’s every bit as compassionate as it is exceptional.”