Thursday, 28 January 2010

Obama call for bipartisanship embraced by Congressmen

Members of Congress hail U.S President Barack Obama's call for bipartisanship during his first State of the Union address.

WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES (JANUARY 27, 2010)POOL - Members of Congress came out in support of U.S President Barack Obama's call for bipartisanship, but some questioned the president's agenda.
In his first State of the Union address on Wednesday (January 27) Obama told a full chamber of Republican and Democratic lawmakers that the change he campaigned on -- will only be realized if both parties change the tone of political debate.

Democratic Congressman John Lewis said described Obama's speech as "hard-hitting"

"He didn't bite his tongue, he was very strong, solid and he really stuck it to members of the United States Senate. He said, in effect, that the House...we did our work, we did uplifting, now it's time for the Senate to act," Lewis said.

With two of his major initiatives in trouble -- legislation to revamp healthcare and stem global warming -- Obama told lawmakers that Americans expected Democrats and Republicans to work together.

"I thought the president struck the perfect tone, making it clear he understands the gravity of the challenges that we face, but leaning into them, not at point saying, woe is me, these are tough things, we are going to go into reverse....he basically laid out a pretty challenging, forward leaning agenda and that's what a good State of the Union does," said New York Congressman Anthony Weiner.

Obama's appeal for bipartisanship was met with scepticism by members of the GOP.

Florida's Republican Senator George LeMieux said he was looking for "real solutions."

"Well, I thought there was a lot of good rhetoric, but unfortunately, I didn't think there were a lot of good solutions. I come from a state where there is very high unemployment, almost 12 percent, and I hope there will be some real solutions to get people back to work," LeMieux said.

"I am hoping again, those words turn into action because Republicans are ready. I am a Republican, I am ready. I want to work on healthcare, I want to work to get these jobs and the economy moving again," said Republican Congressman Dave Reichert.

Obama spoke one week after Republicans won a special election in Massachusetts, costing Democrats their 60th vote in the Senate needed to clear procedural roadblocks.

The election immediately jeopardized much of Obama's agenda, gave Republicans new clout and sent a rush of fear through Democrats facing tough races in this November's congressional election.