Congressman Peter Roskam

Representing the 6th District of Illinois

Obama's Last SOTU: A Missed Opportunity

Jan 12, 2016
Press Release
Congressman Roskam Reacts to the State of the Union Address

Washington, D.C. — President Barack Obama delivered his final State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress this evening. As has become his tradition, he filled the chamber with thousands of empty words and hollow rhetoric. Congressman Peter Roskam issued the following statement:

“Earlier this evening, I sat and listened patiently while President Obama delivered his final State of the Union address. I was hoping he would acknowledge the shortcomings of a foreign policy that has damaged our reputation abroad and a domestic agenda that has weakened us at home. Had he done so, the President would have found a Congress eager to work with him to deliver results for the American people. Sadly, he instead chose to wax philosophical and retreat back to his partisan corner in an attempt to frame his legacy.

“The President touted his healthcare law as one of his signature accomplishments. In the real world, Americans are paying more for less. 49 of 50 states will see premium hikes in 2016. More than 1 in 3 states will see spikes of 20% or more. Some Illinoisans are facing premium increases of more than 30%, including a constituent of mine whose monthly premium effectively doubled from last year to about $900 per month. And while our costs go up, our access to care is diminishing. An October 2015 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found one in seven health insurance plans offered on the Obamacare exchanges did not provide access to a specialist inside the plan’s network.

“State exchanges, once touted for their relative success when compared to their federally-administered counterparts, are dropping like flies. Even after receiving over $1 billion in federal grants to help get their operations up and running, states are switching to HealthCare.Gov. You know things are pretty desperate when HealthCare.Gov becomes a better alternative. So far it has cost taxpayers more than $2.1 billion, including more than $200 million in cost overruns. Still today, its back-end systems have yet to be completed and thoroughly tested.

“President Obama is similarly misguided when it comes to his naïve and dangerous foreign policy. The simple fact is the world is a far more dangerous place following his two terms in office. Our friends don’t trust us and our enemies don’t fear us.

“Israel, our dear friend and the only free democracy in the Middle East, wasn’t mentioned at all during the speech. Our friend and ally Ukraine was inexplicably referred to as a Russian ‘client state.’ This reflects a lack of understanding of geopolitical reality. Sadly this is what we’ve come to expect from President Obama.

“I’m not surprised the President only made a passing reference to Iran. His horrendous nuclear deal has left America, our allies, and the international community less safe. Despite assurances that the Iranian Regime would integrate peacefully into the international community, the Mullahs have done the opposite. They’ve launched ballistic missiles, targeted American ships in the Persian Gulf, and continued their support for terrorist groups across the globe. President Obama can’t bring himself to condemn their illegal acts of aggression despite clamoring from his own party. Just a few hours ago, Iran detained 10 American sailors – yet the President didn’t see fit to mention it.

“In Syria and Iraq, the Islamic State has established territorial control over land swaths the size of Great Britain, where terrorists have the freedom to plan attacks against the United States and enslave and kill Christians and other religious and ethnic minorities. This is what happens when there is no American leadership—our enemies fill the vacuum.

“If the President honestly believes the world is a more ‘secure’ and ‘peaceful’ place and Americans should feel more confident about their children’s futures, he’s the only one who thinks so. And yet, this is the best the liberal agenda has to offer. The Obama Presidency does not represent an aberration from Democratic orthodoxy – it is the very embodiment of the liberal ideal. The American people certainly know this, and that’s why I can’t wait to work with a Republican president next year.”