Bishop Statement on State of the Union

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Congressman Rob Bishop (R-UT), Chairman of the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands and co-founder of the 10th Amendment Task Force, issued the following statement in response to President Barack Obama’s 2012 State of the Union Address:

“Based solely on the rhetoric of tonight’s speech, there are many things upon which the President and I both agree.  This has been the case in several past speeches as well.  I agree that we must help reinvigorate the manufacturing industry so that jobs may return to the U.S., and that a skilled workforce, especially in the areas of science and technology is essential to the future of our country.  I also agree that education is better addressed at the state and local levels, giving teachers, parents, and communities, the flexibility necessary to meet the educational needs of every child.

“Hardly anyone will argue against the fact that the President is well practiced at delivering speeches.  However, when it comes time to actually developing or producing policies that uphold his commitments, the President consistently falls short of promised expectations.  I remain cautiously optimistic that 2012 will be different.

“While the President touted his record on illegal immigration, he overlooked the fact that not all areas of the border are safer.  Areas where the U.S. Border Patrol has access to the border have seen improvements, however, areas that remain virtually inaccessible, such as public lands and wilderness areas continue to be a haven of criminal activity.  In the last two years, two Americans have been killed on public lands, one of them with a weapon obtained through the botched Obama Administration Fast and Furious program. Comprehensive immigration reform must begin by securing our entire border, not just select areas.

“If the President were as committed to advancing domestic energy production as he claimed tonight, he would fully reinstate the 77 oil and gas leases in Utah that were canceled in the earliest weeks of his administration.  In addition he would reinstate uranium mining in Arizona—an essential component of clean and safe nuclear energy and he would approve the Keystone XL pipeline. Clean energy should be part of our domestic energy efforts, but they are just that – a part.  Our public lands should be utilized to pursue a real all-of-the-above energy strategy, not just those sources hand-selected by the President at the request of his special interest group supporters.

“The President has spent the majority of his tenure not doing what’s best for hard-working Americans, or in the best interest of our nation’s energy independence and security, but instead what’s most politically advantageous for him.  That has never been more evident than tonight.  Pandering to special interest group allies may help the President’s re-election campaign, but it does nothing to create jobs, encourage economic growth or bring us closer to energy independence.  The 77 oil and gas leases in Utah and the Keystone XL Pipeline are prime examples.

“While I agree that we must reform tax loopholes, raising taxes is still not the answer.  No hard working taxpayer should be required to pay over 37 percent of their income to a federal government that will waste it on more government programs.  This will not help create jobs, in fact it will do just the opposite.  However, unleashing America’s true potential through pro-growth free-market principles will.

“It was evident tonight that the House floor was merely a stop on the President’s campaign tour.  A year ago, he committed to work with Congress.  Instead, he spent most of the year blaming Congress for his failures.  He made no attempt at compromise, no attempt to seek common ground and traveled from state to state vilifying Republicans in hopes that casting blame would help win reelection.  It’s time he plays by the rules.”

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