Kentucky Lawmakers React to State of the Union

President Obama gave his sixth State of the Union Address, and for the first time of his presidency, in front of a Republican-controlled Congress.

It was no ‘lame duck’ speech, President Obama sounded confident and defiant in Tuesday night’s State of the Union address, saying "it’s time to turn the page." But some Kentucky lawmakers aren’t so sure where the rest of the book goes.

Many of the proposals the President announced Tuesday are designed to benefit the middle class.

"At every moment of economic change throughout our history, this country has taken bold action to adapt to new circumstances, and to make sure everyone gets a fair shot,” Obama said.

His proposals included things like raising the minimum wage, free community college tuition and extending paid family leave.

Obama said some of which he wants to pay for by closing tax breaks for the wealthy.

"So the verdict is clear,” Obama said. “Middle-class economics works. Expanding opportunity works."

Republicans argue that while these benefits are nice, they all come with a price and it is one the federal government can no longer afford.

United States Senator Rand Paul, a possible front-runner in the 2016 presidential election, fired back Tuesday night after the address.

"America needs many things, but what America desperately needs is new leadership,” Paul said.

“It’s self evident that the President and Congress are unable to do what every family in America must do, balance their budget,” Rand said. “If Congress cannot or will not balance the budget, then we should amend the constitution to make it mandatory."

United States Congressman Andy Barr offered his comments on the State of the Union to the media on Wednesday. He said the idea of free community college tuition just won’t work and it’s not what Kentucky colleges want.

"I am happy to work with the President on making community college more affordable. But what we don’t need is more federal control over higher education,” Barr said. “What we don’t need is more Washington-centered top-down solutions and mandates from Washington."

United States Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the President’s State of the Union was a missed opportunity for bipartisan and constructive engagement from both sides of the aisle.

"The biggest problem is the President made a speech that made it look like he’s going to run for office again,” McConnell said. ”His time for running is over. His time for governing is here.”

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