Newcomers to class share impressions of Biden’s State of the Union: NPR
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They may be new to school, but they have a lot to offer about Joe Biden’s State of the Union address, from the issues raised to the experience of sitting in the chamber for the premiere. time. Also, by school, we mean Congress.
Who are they? Two first-term House Representatives on both sides of the aisle.
- The first Gen Z congressman, Democrat Maxwell Alejandro Frost, of Florida’s 10th district.
- Republican Mike Lawler, of New York’s 17th Precinct.
What is the problem ? The address was widely seen as Biden gearing up for another campaign before the 2024 election. But what happens in the House until then is up to those in Congress, like Frost and Lawler. Here are their takeaways.
On experiencing the State of the Union for the first time
“It was surreal. I’m used to being in an apartment, listening with friends… Everything was surreal. But I’ll tell you the house was definitely rocked for the president and in the message that he provided.”
“Well, I’ve watched almost every state in the Union since I’ve been alive, and it’s been a wonderful experience personally, and certainly professionally, to be there. And all the more special, my wife, an immigrant from Moldova who became a citizen two years ago, was my guest so she could listen to the President of the United States deliver his State of the Union address.
On the possibility of bipartisan legislation in the coming months with the current split between the House and the Senate
“There are smaller bills and packages that I think will be helpful for our people. But in terms of bold, transformational legislation, as we’ve seen in the last couple of years – CHIPS and Science Act, the bipartisan infrastructure bill, the safer communities act, all these different big bills that have been passed – I don’t think we’re going to see anything that big this Congress, just because of the division and dysfunction that emerges in particular from the Republican majority.
“We’re going to have to work together. There’s no more one-party rule in Washington. So Democrats and Republicans need to come together to work on the big issues we face. Whether you’re talking about the debt ceiling , whether it’s immigration, issues at our border… Last night the president really could have made some concrete proposals on how we do this. And I didn’t hear that. And I think that’s a big part of where the missed opportunity has been to blaze that trail.”
On how they think Biden handled the address
“I mean, I thought what he said was great. We need to ban assault weapons. I love that he brought in someone who was a survivor of gun violence, which, because of his heroic actions, resulted in less deaths. But I always ask the question, what is the next step, right? What is the marker that the president put down? And I was kinda disappointed not to hear him talk about specific actions he would take… I know the president really cares about this issue and wants to be a leader on this, and we’ll keep pushing. together it’s just great to hear him stand up for it, talk about it and really give that bold cry to action where when he said we had to ban assault weapons.”
“Throughout the speech, I certainly applauded many of the things he talked about, including the bipartisan infrastructure bill, microchip legislation, the fight against fentanyl, and the opioid crisis plaguing the our communities. But to be honest with you, I was a bit disappointed. I think the president, both in tone and substance, could have done more to really chart a course for bipartisanship and, frankly, , to address the critical issues that we can really work on together, especially China, which is our biggest geopolitical threat in light of what happened last week with the Chinese spy balloon, I think it should have devoted a lot more time to it during his speech.”
So what now?
- Frost wants to continue working for gun control, one of his main arguments, as well as popular legislation in the works to curb entertainment companies and “junk fee” ticketing.
- Lawler wants to stay focused on raising the debt ceiling and cutting spending. He, alongside Mitt Romney, continued to call on New York Rep. George Santos to resign, after it was revealed he fabricated large parts of his resume.