Just like our great nation, the State of the Union address has a unique history surrounded by traditions and pageantry. In 1913, President Woodrow Wilson gave the first in-person address since the 18th century. President Harry Truman’s address was the first to be broadcasted on television in 1947. In 1982, President Ronald Reagan invited the first guest to sit in the gallery and be referenced in his speech. The State of the Union has evolved from an address only given to leaders within our government to one that incorporates and is delivered to you, the American people.
Regardless of politics, I always look forward to the State of the Union. It is the only time when members of the House of Representatives, Senate, Supreme Court, President’s Cabinet, Diplomatic Corps, and our nation’s top military leaders are all in the same room. The press box is buzzing with members of the media. The House Gallery is full of special guests invited by members of Congress and the White House. Sitting in the House Chamber surrounded by the bright lights brought in by television networks, you feel like you are on the set of a Hollywood movie or at the Super Bowl. The air in the room is electric as everyone is on the edge of their seats, waiting for the President’s arrival.
As I was waiting for the speech to begin last week, I was thinking about you. I was thinking about you and your family and the struggles you have faced over the past year. I hoped President Biden would lay out real solutions on how to reduce inflation, tackle Washington’s out-of-control spending, solve the crisis at the Southern border, and stand up to adversaries like China. Instead, the President’s speech sounded like a lot of recycled rhetoric.
What the President doesn’t understand is that families in North Carolina are hurting. Inflation has cost the average household an extra $10,000 over the last two years. What could you have done with that money in your pocket or savings? Additionally, energy prices this winter are the highest they have been in 15 years, while a record amount of Americans say they are worse off financially since Biden took office.
One of the major drivers of inflation is Washington’s reckless spending and inability to tackle our national debt. The greatest threat to our future is our growing national debt, which has surpassed levels that have not been seen since World War II. Unfortunately, the President did not lay out any strategy to tackle our debt or reduce spending.
Raising the debt limit without making reforms is not the answer to fixing our current debt crisis. Think about your own children, grandchildren, or other teenagers you know. When a child maxes out a credit card, you don’t simply raise the card’s spending limit and allow their spending to continue. You make changes, so they know the importance of creating a budget and sticking to it for the future. As we stare down another debt limit increase, Republicans are ready to work with the President on a new budget framework focused on fiscal restraint and responsibility.
Instead of addressing the state of our border and national security, President Biden told the American people Tuesday that the border is secure. Ignoring this crisis has been the strategy of the Biden administration since the beginning, which has led to nearly 5 million illegal migrants and thousands of pounds of fentanyl to enter our nation over the last two years.
Furthermore, the President failed to address China in a meaningful way—especially following the spy balloon incident. Last week, a Chinese spy balloon was able to travel freely across our nation and near sensitive national security sites, including Fort Bragg. The balloon caused air space over our state to be closed for a period of time before it was finally shot down. Yet the fact that the balloon entered U.S. airspace at all is unacceptable. On Thursday, I was proud to stand with my House colleagues and vote to condemn and denounce the Chinese Communist Party’s use of a spy balloon to collect intelligence on our country—a direct violation of our sovereignty.
From the economy to the border to national security, the State of our Union continues to be challenged under President Joe Biden, and hardworking American families like yours are paying the price. Washington Democrat’s inability to address these ongoing crises directly impacting the wallets and safety of you and your family is inexcusable. America is the greatest nation on Earth, and our state of the union should always be strong. I believe our country is at a turning point where we have the opportunity to come together to address these problems you and your family face every day.
Challenges to our economy and national security have certainly set us back, but rest assured, House Republicans have solutions to set our country on the right track. As your Congressman, I will never stop working to make sure you, and our union, are strong, prosperous, safe, and free.
Richard Hudson is serving his sixth term in the U.S. House and represents North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District. He currently serves as the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee and is a member of the House Republican Steering Committee.