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Kelly, Casey, Fetterman react to Biden’s State of the Union address

President Joe Biden delivers his State of the Union speech to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Feb. 7. Associated Press

U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, R-16th, and Pennsylvania’s two Democratic U.S. senators had different reactions to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address Tuesday, Feb. 7.

Biden gave his second annual report on the condition of the nation and the economy, and touted the achievements of his administration, bipartisan legislation passed and goals of the Democratic Party in his prime time televised speech before a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol.

“The story of America is a story of progress and resilience. Of always moving forward. Of never giving up. A story that is unique among all nations. We are the only country that has emerged from every crisis stronger than when we entered it. That is what we are doing again. Two years ago, our economy was reeling,” Biden said, about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As I stand here tonight, we have created a record 12 million new jobs — more jobs created in two years than any president has ever created in four years. Two years ago, COVID had shut down our businesses, closed our schools, and robbed us of so much. Today, COVID no longer controls our lives. And two years ago, our democracy faced its greatest threat since the Civil War. Today, though bruised, our democracy remains unbowed and unbroken,” Biden said.

He also called for bipartisan cooperation in House and Senate.

In a statement, Kelly said Biden did not address many issues facing the country.

"I was disappointed to hear he did not provide actual solutions to some of the most pressing issues facing the American people, including everyday costs, wide-open borders and threats posed by China,“ Kelly said.

“The Democrats' one-party rule led to record spending, sky-high inflation and shortsighted energy policies that cost Pennsylvanians thousands of dollars more than they can afford. Additionally, let's be clear: Republicans will continue to protect and secure Social Security and Medicare. President Biden's scare tactics are just plain false.

“The hardworking people of Pennsylvania's 16th Congressional District deserve better than a sugarcoated review of the last year — they deserve real solutions. I am hopeful that we can work together to solve all of these problems and provide relief to the American people in the upcoming year,“ Kelly said.

Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., also in a statement, backed Biden’s comments about the post-COVID economy and credited his administration for many accomplishments.

“Our economy has roared back from the pandemic and American families are starting to see the impacts of President Biden’s agenda. National unemployment is at the lowest since 1969 and Pennsylvania unemployment is at the lowest ever recorded.

“Seniors on Medicare are paying no more than $35 a month for insulin and as the president’s law to cut down drug prices takes effect, more and more seniors will see their prescription drug expenses go down.”

Casey pointed to the Fern Hollow bridge in Pittsburgh, which was rebuilt in under a year, and noted more work will be starting soon on roads and bridges across the state.

He also said that rural communities in Pennsylvania have started to receive what will be billions of dollars to start cleaning up abandoned mine lands and polluted rivers and streams left behind as a result of Pennsylvania’s industrial legacy.

Casey said the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act closed the “boyfriend loophole,” making it harder for abusive dating partners convicted of domestic violence to own a gun, and noted that LGBTQ Pennsylvanians have a right to marry enshrined in federal law.

“We’ve got more work to do to tackle the challenges facing working families, but the past two years have shown that the state of our union is strong and President Biden, Vice President (Kamala) Harris, and Democrats in Congress are here to finish the job,” Casey said.

Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., said: “It was an honor to attend my first State of the Union speech. I agree with President Biden that even considering the progress we’ve made in the past two years, America’s best days still lie ahead.

“I’m proud that the president specifically mentioned the need to fight for our forgotten communities. Now it’s time for us to do just that. It’s time to stand up and have the backs of America’s workers. It’s time to protect benefits for working families, including Social Security and Medicare. And it’s time to make sure the wealthiest corporations finally pay their fair share in taxes.

“Let’s finish the job, that’s why I came to Washington.”

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