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Mid-South lawmakers react to President Biden’s address to joint session of Congress

By Olivia Gunn

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Mid-South lawmakers react to President Biden’s address to join session of Congress

President Joe Biden outlined his priorities for the country Wednesday night during an address to a joint session of Congress.

Biden pushed Congress to pass the nearly $2 trillion American Families Plan, which pour billions into education, from universal pre-k to community college. He also spoke about the state of racial justice and police reform.

Several Mid-south lawmakers released statements on Biden’s address. View statements from lawmakers below.

Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09)

“President Biden emphasizes helping the people most affected, and those most in need, during these difficult economic times. I’m pleased to be working with him on the front lines of this pandemic, where we are far ahead of his ambitious goals to get people vaccinated and repair the damage done to our economy. I strongly support helping working people and creating good-paying jobs.

“I’m glad the President’s American Families Plan includes key provisions I have championed, including part of the MEAL act, which provides formerly incarcerated individuals convicted of drug-related felonies with restored access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The plan also closes the carried-interest loophole, a tax giveaway for hedge fund owners that I have worked to eliminate with Representatives DeLauro and Doggett.

“Infrastructure is so important for our future in competition with China. I agree with President Biden’s bold vision that ‘infrastructure’ is more than roads and bridges and should include help for our growing elderly population, for residents of both urban and rural areas in need of internet access, for an improved and secure electric grid, for an expansion of our child care system and for the replacement of dangerous lead pipes. It’s all infrastructure, and for too long the nation’s needs have been neglected. I strongly endorse the direction the President is taking to ‘build back better’ and look forward to advancing his agenda in Congress.”

U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.)

“I first want to thank Mississippians and Americans across the nation for helping to overcome the pandemic. We can enjoy a growing sense of well-earned optimism as we get back to work, back to school, and back to spending time with friends and loved ones.

“I respect what good intentions President Biden may have behind the ideas covered in his joint address to Congress, but I believe the President has set a misguided course to expand federal government intrusion into almost every aspect of our lives.

“There are real problems facing our nation—an economic downturn, unacceptable jobless rates, aging infrastructure, and unrelenting enemies.

“I am willing to work with anyone in Congress to address these serious challenges, but I do not believe a radical, big-spending, big-government agenda will unify a nation working to rebuild from the pandemic.

“In his first 100 days, the President has asked for more than $6 trillion in new spending. That’s an astounding amount of tax dollars and debt.

“We should be suspicious of any ‘infrastructure’ package that spends more on Green New Deal ideas and social programs than on roads, bridges, and harbors. We should question the wisdom in increasing taxes, eliminating American energy jobs, opening our borders, and limiting national security investments. And I, for one, oppose anything that infringes on Second Amendment rights, expands abortion, or undermines our election laws.

“Going forward, I hope we will set a course correction that allows us to work together on policies that respect individual liberties and freedoms as defined by the Constitution. In doing so, we can improve the ability of our citizens to achieve the American dream.”

U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR)

“President Biden claimed to be a consensus builder, but beyond getting his party to agree to his far-left proposals, he’s done little to unite Congress behind polices that bring our country together.

The president rejected Republican ideas for bipartisan COVID-19 relief and the parade of partisan priorities continues with his progressive wish list masked as an infrastructure plan which spends more taxpayer dollars on electric vehicles than roads, bridges, runways and water systems. It’s clearly a Democrat slush fund that has little to do with actual infrastructure and is paid for on the backs of businesses through higher taxes on job creators.

Instead of working across the aisle, the president is relying on executive orders to carry out a radical agenda that has halted immigration enforcement and led to a crisis on the southern border. He has also restricted the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens, rolled back pro-life policies, and threatened to help end the filibuster and pack the Supreme Court.

President Biden’s first 100 days have not lived up to his rhetoric during the campaign and his own inaugural address. Instead of a unifying, pragmatic approach to governing, the Biden administration continues to roll out highly partisan policies and reject serious counter-offers made in an effort to find compromise. Instead of continuing down this path, the president and his administration must make good-faith efforts to work with Republicans on solutions that help put this pandemic behind us, get our lives back to normal and help our economy recover. That’s what hard-working Arkansans expect and deserve.”