WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Kansas lawmakers are reacting to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union Address.

Sen. Jerry Moran sent a statement through a news release:

The American people need look no further than their grocery receipts and bank accounts to understand the grave state of our union. President Biden’s policies have contributed to high inflation, driven up prices by more than 13 percent over the past two years and stifled American energy production – leading to higher energy bills and high gas prices.

The President recognized we have a serious fentanyl crisis here in our nation as thousands of people lose their lives to drug overdose. I support President Biden’s plans to increase screenings at points of entry along our border, but that will do nothing to stop the drugs that are being brought into the country through the unsecured points along our border. I recently visited the southern border, and it was clear that the administration’s policies over the past two years have exacerbated the crisis at the border.

While political rancor and gridlock are often the theme in Washington, D.C., supporting our veterans is a mission that often breaks through the dysfunction in Washington. Through a bipartisan effort, the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee was able to pass an historic expansion of benefits and health care for all generations of veterans exposed to burn pits and other toxic substances. I appreciate President Biden signing this legislation into law, and I look forward to working with the administration to see that the PACT Act is implemented so that Kansas veterans receive the health care and benefits they deserve.

Our country’s strength at home projects strength abroad where it is sorely needed. As seen by Kansans and Americans last week, China is using its increasing capabilities to threaten and intimidate the United States and our allies; Russia’s war against Ukraine disregards international law and innocent civilian lives; Iran is at the edge of having the material necessary for nuclear weapons; and North Korea continues to develop its nuclear arsenal. If we don’t have leadership that utilizes our nation’s capabilities, we’ve lost our ability to defend our homeland against our adversaries.

The American people elected a politically-divided Congress not to continue the discord in Washington but to force their elected leaders to find common ground and commonsense solutions. When President Biden was running for office, he stated he would be a middle-ground President. I urge President Biden to work with elected officials across the aisle to pass policies that reduce inflation, find consensus on the border crisis and send a clear message to our adversaries that we are a strong, unified nation.

Senator Jerry Moran

Sen. Roger Marshall sent out a response via a video:

Like many of you I waited with some unease to see how President Biden would approach this year’s State of the Union address given the unique and challenging issues facing our country: a looming recession, a war in Ukraine, an increasingly brazen China, an open southern border, and out of control federal spending causing record inflation, to name just a few.

America is a great Nation, more than capable of addressing all of these problems. But as I sat there listening as President Biden painted a rosy picture of the current situation in America I will admit I was frustrated, frustrated at his lack of understanding of what every day, hardworking American families are going through, at his lack of urgency, and most importantly, at his lack of accountability.

Throughout my life I have taken four oaths to our Constitution, once when I entered military service, twice when being sworn in as a Member of the House of Representatives and most recently when I was elected by the great people of Kansas to serve them in the Senate. If you don’t mind, I’d like to share with you once again The Preamble of our Constitution. It says quote,

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Tonight, let’s ask ourselves, has this White House “Insured domestic Tranquility, and Provided for the common defense?”

Now averaging over 8,000 encounters every day, no one can sensibly argue against the fact that President Biden has catapulted the southern border wide open.

Along with a record number of individuals encountered, over 1.2 million illegal aliens have evaded border patrol and disappeared into the country. Fentanyl has become a scourge, a slayer of our youth, and the number one killer of young adults in America.

Furthermore, after last week’s events, Kansans were reminded first hand of this administration’s weakness and how little our enemies respect this President. Our number one adversary casually floated an enormous spy balloon the entire length of our country because they know our Commander-in-Chief is too feckless to do anything about. And I ask you again, is this White House, “insuring our domestic Tranquility, and adequately providing for the common defense? “

Next, let’s go back to the preamble and talk about promoting the general welfare.

This President and his allies in Congress have recklessly borrowed and spent our nation into a recession. In fact, he has made life more expensive for every American, for under President Biden’s tenure inflation is up over 13 %. This is nothing to brag about, and no spin can sell this as a positive.

Let me emphasize, while the President can brag about wage growth, anyone who fills their car up with gas, goes to the grocery store, or pays their rent or home heating bill, is struggling to afford these basic necessities. Under this President inflation is outpacing wages and Social Security checks, and Americans are feeling the pinch.

Next, let us consider that despite economic uncertainty and recession clouds gathering, our President is trying to convince you that our economy is in good shape. Indeed, the President brags on a low unemployment rate, for which I’m grateful. But at the same time, he will not take accountability for the 7 million able bodied American men not working, men whom the federal government is paying 50, 60, up to 80 thousand dollars a year to stay off assembly lines, to quit delivering goods, to punch out and stay home for good.

Finally, let’s go back to the Constitution one last time on this State of the Union night and ask “is our government Securing the Blessings of Liberty, or is this president seizing power away from its citizenship?”

Listen to this if you would! Instead of recently announcing that he will be extending the COVID national emergency declaration until May, President Biden should have used this State of the Union address to announce that he would be terminating the emergency today and relinquishing the supersized Government powers and returning liberty to the people. We’ve lived under the weight of mandates and government restrictions for too long.

Instead of spending and borrowing outrageous sums of money, and saddling our posterity with generations of debt, this Administration should be working with Congress to restore fiscal sanity, balancing the budget, and decreasing the burdens we will be leaving our grandchildren.  

Make no mistake about it, how the 118th Congress and this president handles our national debt and our budgeting process will define the success or failure of our elected officials currently in office.

All this brings me back to accountability, because it doesn’t need to be this way. 

As we ponder this point of our history, this mark of the Biden administration, as we responsibly and honesty examine our state of the union, my mind takes me back to my boyhood hero, the 34th President of the United States from Abilene, Kansas, Dwight David Eisenhower. When Eisenhower spoke of leadership, he said leadership is, “nothing more than taking accountability.”

If this Administration would simply take accountability, admit their policies do not work, that they are drowning the American people, we can still adopt responsible, pro-growth, pro-liberty, and pro-security policies to right this ship.

The resiliency of our Nation and our people are truly phenomenal. While the State of the Union under the leadership of President Biden may not be strong our people will always be. We are the greatest nation on earth because of the people who live here, because there are still many modern-day patriots out there, patriots I meet on every trip back to Kansas. We are still a great nation because of our hard work and pioneer spirit, and mostly, because of the values we were founded upon. Those same values still ring true today. As long as we stay true to each other, true to our values, and to our Faith, take accountability for our mistakes, and defend the principles of our Constitution, America will always be prosperous, have a bright future.

So help us God.

Thank you and good night.

Sen. Roger Marshall

Rep. Ron Estes talked to our Washington D.C. Bureau after the address.

“I was actually kinda disappointed. He talked about a lot of issues, but then he turned and didn’t talk about the right solutions. For example, he talked about Republicans and Democrats need to work together, and then he went and promoted these partisan Democrat issues he’s been working on the last two years.”

Another Republican lawmaker, Rep. Jake LaTurner, released a statement via press release:

For the past two years under one-party Democrat rule in Washington, Kansas families and small businesses have paid the price for President Biden’s failed agenda. Prices are rising faster than paychecks, fentanyl is flowing across our wide-open southern border, energy costs are soaring, and the President’s lack of strength on the world stage continues to threaten our national security. President Biden ignored the pressing issues facing our communities tonight and instead used this speech as an opportunity to applaud his administration’s reckless policies and woke initiatives. Americans want real solutions, and House Republicans will continue to deliver.”

Congressman Jake LaTurner