What Oneida County's federal representatives are saying about Biden's State of the Union

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President Joe Biden gave his first State of the Union address Tuesday night, amid an escalating invasion of Ukraine by Russia, soaring inflation and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Oneida County’s current representative, U.S. Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-New Hartford, released a statement after. U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, who will see part of the county enter the footprint of her district next year, weighed in on Biden’s speech as well.

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand also commented on Biden’s first State of the Union address.

State of the Union recap: Biden aims to reset presidency, addresses Russian invasion of Ukraine

Full transcript: What Biden said about Ukraine, COVID, the economy in his first State of the Union

Tenney: 'President Biden failed to deliver'

In a statement released shortly after the address ended, Tenney called the state of the nation and world “much worse” than a year ago, putting the blame on Biden.

“Tonight Americans deserved to hear real solutions,” she said. “It was an opportunity for President Biden to acknowledge the challenges we face and deliver a call to action that was unifying, bipartisan, and results oriented.”

Tenney said Biden failed to deliver, however. While she appreciated bipartisan solidarity in support of the Ukrainian people and the condemnation of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the congresswoman said the rest of Biden’s speech “attempted to shift blame and salvage a failing presidency.”

Tenney cited challenges like high inflation, open borders and the withdrawal in Afghanistan.

“President Biden once again failed to acknowledge these challenges let alone present a unifying, commonsense vision for how he plans to address them,” she said.

Biden spent several minutes of his speech on the economy, including his intention to deal with inflation by boosting domestic manufacturing for cars, semiconductors and other goods that rely on foreign supply chains.

The president also acknowledged the need to secure the border using technology to detect drug smuggling and joint patrols with Mexico and Guatemala to catch human traffickers.

Stefanik: 'They’re just words, but they’re not backed up by action'

Stefanik, representing New York’s 21st Congressional District, said Biden didn’t go far enough in support for Ukraine in an interview following the speech. She called for harsher energy sanctions, including a stop on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, and boosting domestic energy production.

“So while there were some comments, it did not go far enough and we should have never been in this situation,” Stefanik said. “There should have been sanctions ahead of time to deter.”

The congresswoman also was critical of Biden’s comments on border security and funding law enforcement, which she called hypocritical. She cited record-high illegal border crossings in fiscal year 2021 and rising crime rates in major metropolitan areas.

During an appearance on Fox Business on Tuesday, Stefanik had predicted the president wouldn’t address border security during the address, which he did.

Stefanik also criticized the president for using New York as an example for law enforcement reforms.

“We’ve seen the skyrocketing crime,” she said. “We’ve seen the impact and the lack of safety and security from the failed bail reform. Joe Biden wants the rest of the country to go in that direction.”

Schumer: Biden 'laid out a bold, strong and comprehensive vision'

The senate majority leader praised Biden’s address, especially its focus on fighting inflation and rising costs of living, in a statement.

“The president focused on lowering costs, creating new jobs, and a brighter sunnier America, which is just what our country wants and needs,” Schumer said.

Democrats are focused on reducing costs at grocery stores, gas pumps and pharmacies by addressing supply chain disruptions and price gouging, Schumer said. Inflation jumped 7.5% in January, the highest rate in 40 years.

Schumer praised Biden’s work in Ukraine and called standing ovations during the address on both sides of the political aisle appropriate recognition. He also pushed for Congress to come together on a bipartisan bill to aid Ukraine.

“In short, tonight President Biden showed America why they elected him,” Schumer said. “And Congressional Democrats will work to enact his broad, bold vision for our country’s future.”

Gillibrand: 'A reminder of the power and importance of democracy'

Gillibrand said Biden’s State of the Union address was a “reminder of the power and importance of democracy - at home and abroad” in a statement. She said she looks forward to working with the president to rebuild the economy and manufacture more goods in America through well-paying jobs with paid leave.

“His address reminded us of the unlimited potential the American people have to build a better future, no matter the challenges we face,” Gillibrand said. “Together, we will make sure that the future is bright and that it is made in America.”

Steve Howe is the city reporter for the Observer-Dispatch. Email him at showe@gannett.com.

This article originally appeared on Observer-Dispatch: Oneida County's federal representation responds to State of the Union