WASHINGTON — Republican lawmakers from Iowa and Nebraska were full of praise Tuesday night for President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address.
Rep. Jeff Fortenberry of Lincoln called it “all American” and particularly lauded a section on health care and the need to address escalating prescription drug prices.
“The strong emphasis on keeping us safe, stopping illegal immigration, touting the accomplishments on jobs and the economy, starting with that was very important, and lacing it with beautiful human stories,” Fortenberry said. “It really was a portrait of America.”
Omaha-area Rep. Don Bacon focused on Trump’s highlighting the need for technical training in all schools, which Bacon said could help reduce economic inequality.
“We have a huge shortage right now of electricians, welders, all those skills,” Bacon said. “And those jobs pay $50,000 after you get your license. And I just think it’s an area, that is something new that we need.”
Bacon expressed misgivings, however, about a portion of the speech devoted to bringing U.S. troops home from Afghanistan.
“I worry about a precipitous withdrawal from Afghanistan without the right conditions, because the Taliban will come back in and then you have safe havens,” Bacon said.
Bacon criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., for ripping up the president’s speech. Trump used some partisan lines but nothing that would justify Pelosi’s move, Bacon said.
And what about Trump’s awarding a medal to conservative talk radio icon Rush Limbaugh in the middle of the speech?
“It’s the president’s prerogative,” Bacon said. “I’ve been listening to Rush for twenty years.”
Rep. Adrian Smith of Nebraska’s 3rd District also was upbeat on the speech.
“Tonight, President Trump presented an optimistic agenda to continue growing economic opportunity for all Americans,” Smith said in a statement.
And the four Republican senators representing Iowa and Nebraska all issued positive statements afterward.
“He put forth an optimistic vision that I hope will inspire Congress to work together across party lines on solutions that will ensure a brighter future for Nebraskans and all Americans,” Nebraska Sen. Deb Fischer said.
Ben Sasse, Nebraska’s junior senator, said the president talked about Nebraska priorities including the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement and border security.
“Last, but certainly not least, we’ve got to promote a culture of life with a compassionate agenda that’s pro-baby, pro-woman, and pro-science,” Sasse said.
“From our booming economy to securing our border and maintaining a strong military … President Trump laid out a clear plan for supporting American workers and families,” Ernst said.
In the speech, Trump referred to discussions he has had with Sen. Iowa. Chuck Grassley about addressing prescription drug prices.
“Importantly, President Trump announced that he will continue pushing forward to lower health care costs,” Grassley said. “Specifically, he and his administration will be working with Republicans and Democrats in Congress to pass my bipartisan prescription drug pricing bill. This is the exact approach we need when the American people are looking for more solutions and less politics.”