President Barack Obama outlined a wide range of policies during an hour-long State of the Union address. Whether the speech contained serious policy proposals or kicked off the president’s re-election campaign remains to be seen, according to Nebraska’s United States Senators.
Sen. Ben Nelson, a Democrat, says the president mixed politics with policy, but says Congress must look beyond an election year.
“You know, we have to set aside partisanship, we have to set aside election-year politics for the good of the country,” Nelson tells Nebraska Radio Network. “If we don’t do that, then those who don’t do it don’t deserve to be elected.”
Nelson says it was important that Obama hit on the energy needs of the country and tied that to America’s economic health. Nelson also believes the country sustain a half-trillion dollar cut to its defense spending, as proposed by the president, without imperiling national security.
If the speech outlined policy, not politics we’ll know in 30-to-60 days, according to Sen. Mike Johanns, when and if the president brings serious proposals to Congress.
“If, on the other hand, what he is really doing is laying the groundwork for his re-election, we’re going to know that, too,” Johanns tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Johanns, a Republican, says he found portions of the speech he liked. He says proposals to reform taxes and provide job training for workers could find support in Congress. Johanns says Obama, a Democrat, could find common ground with Republicans in Congress on a number of issues if he brings serious legislative proposals to them.
AUDIO: Brent Martin interviews Sen. Ben Nelson about State of the Union address [6:20]
AUDIO: Brent Martin interviews Sen. Mike Johanns about State of the Union address [5:00]