Democrats praised the president's address as expansive and far-reaching, Republicans blamed Obama for gridlock and for failing to draft proposals that are agreeable to both conservative and liberal legislators.
Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Chesapeake, decried the president's proposals on immigration, taxes and military spending.
"If you look across the globe, the world is more dangerous and there are greater threats than almost any time before, but we've seen the military budget slashed during this administration
That has an enormous impact on the people in Hampton Roads, Virginia and across this nation as well."
Rep. Scott Rigell, R-Virginia Beach, said Obama wrongfully attributed the economy's recent growth on the White House's policies.
"Despite having served six years in office, President Obama has failed to address our nation's serious fiscal challenges while weakening the separation of powers framed by our Constitution – which is so essential to good governance," Rigell wrote. "Finding and advancing sound fiscal solutions that represent common ground has never been easy, yet our nation's biggest challenges require just that for our nation to prosper."
Sen. Mark Warner said he is awaiting details on the president's "aggressive agenda" to "expand economic opportunity and security for the middle class."
The Democratic senator added: "These are policies and programs which traditionally have enjoyed bipartisan support.I remain committed to working across the aisle to create that fair shot which every Virginian deserves."
Rep. Robert "Bobby" Scott, D-Newport News, said American workers still face stagnant wages, even though the economy is growing.
"Congress must heed the President's call to refocus our efforts to enact policies that truly benefit the middle-class by expanding opportunity for all," wrote Scott in his prepared remarks. "One of the most important things this Congress can do to help the middle-class is to end the threat of sequestration, which will return in fiscal year 2016. Sequestration will not only wreak havoc on our nation's military, but it will also greatly limit what we invest in education, job training, health care, advanced research and development, roads, bridges, and public transit."
Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Westmoreland, issued a statement after the address, saying:
“President Obama seems quite content with our nation’s current state of affairs. However, most folks I hear from don’t express the same level of satisfaction. The president gave little attention to our debt and deficit, which still remain too high. I also didn’t hear enough about his plans to facilitate a robust middle class where a path to progress exists through strong career ladders, effective career and technical education, and an economy driven by private sector growth, not government programs. Above all, we must strengthen the opportunity for the middle class to succeed.
“I am relieved that the president acknowledged the challenges ‘beyond our shores.’ There is no question that our world is not getting any safer. And the role of Congress in granting authority to the president to engage ISIS is especially critical. However, the president did not mention the impending cuts to our military budget, known as the sequester, which will be absolutely devastating for our nation’s ability to defend itself. As Chairman of the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee, I am committed to staving off these irresponsible, unbalanced cuts and ensuring that our men and women in uniform are trained and equipped to execute their missions successfully and return home safely. We owe that to them.
Virginia’s Speaker of the House William Howell responded to the address by saying:
“The President tonight sadly took a familiar approach, threatening to bypass the legislative branch rather than seeking areas of common ground with them,” said Speaker Howell. “President Obama tonight outlined a political agenda for his liberal base, rather than a governing agenda that can win bipartisan support. The challenges our country faces will not be solved by President Obama’s new taxes on hardworking families.”
Brauchle can be contacted by phone at 757-846-4361.