Here’s how the four men who represent Memphis and Shelby County in Washington reacted to President Trump’s address to a joint session of Congress Tuesday night.
9th District Congressman Steve Cohen (Democrat):
“We should be focusing on creating good-paying jobs, restoring faith in our criminal justice system, fine-tuning the Affordable Care Act, and improving educational opportunities. We should be increasing funding for programs that are vital for the health and well-being of my constituents and so many people across the country such as food stamps, Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) programs, energy assistance and community health care centers.
“We should be protecting the environment and addressing the undeniable threat of global warming. Unfortunately, based on what we heard from the President tonight, I fear we may see the opposite. The President's plan to increase defense spending to historic levels will likely result in cuts to these important programs and services.
“I don’t feel that this apparent billionaire who lives a lifestyle of the rich and famous understands, much less is trying to serve, the middle class who often live paycheck-to-paycheck and find themselves in need a helping hand.”
8th District Congressman David Kustoff (Republican):
"Tonight, we heard an uplifting and unifying speech from President Trump that outlined bold plans to strengthen our country. I’m glad the President addressed the need for a new health care law with patient-centric, cost-efficient choices. After years of struggling to recover from the devastating recession, we can expect relief for small businesses and individuals through reduced regulations and lower taxes.
“I was also pleased to hear how this Administration is prioritizing American safety by increasing defense spending, strengthening border security and supporting law enforcement. It is clear President Trump is already keeping his promises to the American people, and I look forward to working with the Administration and my colleagues in Congress to achieve real solutions and revive the American spirit.”
U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (Republican):
Here is the Senator’s anticipatory statement before the speech:
“What I hope to hear from the president tonight is his determination to restore local control to public schools the way Congress passed the law fixing No Child Left Behind more than a year ago. I want to hear more about deregulation of this country – getting rid of the regulations that are smothering job growth. I’d like to hear more about tax reform – lowering taxes and making it easier for companies to stay in the United States.
“And of course, in Tennessee, we badly need a rescue team to deal with Obamacare because it is failing in our state, according to our state insurance commissioner, and we need a new system of healthcare that will move decisions out of Washington back to the states so people can have more choices of lower-cost insurance.”
And here is what Alexander said after the speech:
“The president’s speech was hopeful and well-delivered. I especially liked his focus on the importance of national defense, on restoring local control of schools, and on repairing the damage Obamacare has caused and replacing it with health care systems that provide Americans with more choices of health insurance at a lower cost.”
U.S. Senator Bob Corker (Republican):
Here is what the Senator had said prior to the speech:
“There is a lot of anticipation about the president’s speech tonight to Congress – his first. I know that a lot of people will be tuned in.
“I spend a lot of time with him on foreign policy issues – and those throughout government – so for me, what is more interesting tonight is to hear what he is going to talk about regarding domestic issues.
“I hope there is going to be some clarity around repealing and replacing the health care bill. I hope there is going to be some clarity as to how he plans to deal with tax reform in a way that will grow our economy and at the same time cause us to be able to reduce our deficits. And, finally, just the whole issue of out-of-control spending, in general.
“Those are three areas that I hope he will address. I know he will talk about a number of other things, but I look forward to it and hope it goes well.”
Afterward the Senator was quoted by a television station as saying, apropos the President’s recommendations for bipartisan action on a number of subjects:
“It’s up to us.”
And he tweeted as follows:
“It was great to see members of @realDonaldTrump’s impressive Cabinet last night. Honored to have a front row seat for the #JointSession.”