Deep partisan divide evident as area lawmakers react to Biden’s address

U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood
U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood(WGEM)
Published: Feb. 7, 2023 at 11:54 PM CST
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(25 News Now) - Peoria-area Congressman Darin LaHood (R-16) said he’d like to work with President Biden and other Democrats, but he says they’re promoting more of the same failed policies and rhetoric from the past two years.

LaHood said both sides can and should work together on issues including growing threats from China and measures to curb use of fentanyl and opioids.

He issued a statement following Biden’s State of the Union address Tuesday night.

“Illinoisans are feeling the pain of two years under President Biden and one-party Democrat rule in Washington, with 40-year high inflation, skyrocketing energy costs, a fentanyl crisis from an overrun southern border, and rising violent crime. That’s why the American people elected a Republican House Majority to address these kitchen table issues, rein in out-of-control spending, and place a check on the Biden Administration.

“I agree that we can and should work in a bipartisan way on issues including combating growing threats from China and the increasing harm fentanyl and opioids are doing to our communities. However, tonight we heard much of the same failed policies and rhetoric that we’ve witnessed over the past two years. Instead of shifting blame, President Biden should work to find commonsense solutions with Republicans in Congress to reduce costs, curb inflation, secure our border, and reduce crime.”

Congresswoman Mary Miller (R-15) announced Monday she was boycotting the speech to protest what she said are lies by the Biden Administration. She posted a statement on her Facebook page.

“Joe Biden used the State of the Union to attack police officers, praise abortion, and call for gun confiscation. In downstate Illinois, we Back The Blue, we defend life, and we support the Second Amendment. Biden is a divisive, radical leftist. Please pray for our country!”

On the other side of the aisle, first-term Congressman Eric Sorensen (D-17) signaled a willingness to work with the GOP.

“I was encouraged to hear the President talk about the progress we’ve made to create jobs, lower unemployment, and bolster our physical and technological infrastructure, and yet, there is more work to be done to solve the problems Illinoisans face every day. So many of our neighbors still feel the impact of higher costs for gas, groceries, medications, and more. I look forward to partnering with anyone, Democrat or Republican, to produce solutions that will make life easier for working families in Central and Northwest Illinois.”

U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) focused on what she said were the president’s “significant accomplishments” during his first two years in office.

“After two years in office, President Biden reminded us tonight of the significant accomplishments Democrats delivered on for working families across the country. Because of our work—and despite Republican obstruction—we’re lowering the cost of prescription drugs for seniors on Medicare, bringing down inflation, investing in infrastructure improvements—including my landmark law that’s upgrading our drinking and wastewater systems—creating millions of good-paying jobs, boosting manufacturing, supporting our Veterans and tackling the climate crisis. On top of all that, President Biden signed into law the most sweeping gun safety reforms in 30 years and kept the NATO alliance together in support of Ukraine against Russia’s war of choice.

“While we’ve made a lot of progress, the President and I know that we can’t let up now. Women’s health is on the line as Republicans work to enact a nation-wide abortion ban and strip away women’s access to reproductive care—but Democrats are working to enshrine the protections of Roe v. Wade into law. We also know we need to address police and criminal justice reform, make quality childcare more affordable, enact paid leave, keep pushing prices down and much, much more. I share President Biden’s hope that Republicans will put aside partisan fighting, come to the negotiating table and make working families—not wealthy donors—the top priority so we can improve the lives of everyday Americans.”