East Texas Congressman: Better days ahead 'in spite of government'
President Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday night prompted strong responses from East Texas representatives in Congress.
Congressman Louie Gohmert attended Tuesday night's speech, but said the President simply offered nice words and noble goals with little productive action behind them.
The President touched on issues ranging from gun control to pay equality and reducing the US dependence on foreign energy. The underlying tone was the need for Congressional cooperation and uniting on a bipartisan level to create legislation that would tackle some of America's larger issues.
However, Gohmert indicated that dream will not likely come to fruition. In a video response, Gohmert noted he was wearing a tie with a Santa print and explained its symbolism in relation to the night's ceremony.
"We're going to be listening to Santa Claus," Gohmert said. "[He is] promising whatever anybody wants they can have. The trouble, this is what breaks my heart, he's got the children paying for the gifts to the parents and that's not right."
Gohmert also took issue with President Obama's announcement that he would sign an executive order, requiring a $10.10 minimum wage for federal contractor. In his address, the President called on Congress to expand that raise to all Americans.
"So join the rest of the country. Say yes. Give America a raise," President Obama said.
"It turns out that actually will not affect or help anyone, because they are already paying more than 10 dollars an hour for minimum wage [for federal contractors]."
Congressman Gohmert took issue with the purpose of the executive order, indicating it was more show than substance. However he did not address whether he would be a part of what the President hopes will be a Congressional movement to expand the minimum wage for everyone, which currently stands at $7.25 per hour.
Gohmert also took aim at the President's stance on overseas military engagement.
"I will not send our troops into harm's way unless it's truly necessary; nor will I allow our sons and daughters to be mired in open-ended conflicts," the President said in his address.
"We're leaving Afghanistan and the Taliban is poised to take over, just like Iran and Al Qaeda have begun taking over in Iraq when we left there," Gohmert countered.
The President also touted his success on the energy front, largely crediting environmental initiatives put in place under his administration to reduce the nation's energy consumption.
"When we rescued our automakers, for example, we worked with them to set higher fuel efficiency standards for our cars," he said. "In the coming months, I'll build on that success by setting new standards for our trucks, so we can keep driving down oil imports and what we pay at the pump."
Gohmert fired back, arguing drilling is the answer to not just energy independence, but to helping turn the economy around as well.
"If we would just let the economy run, we're standing in the way," Gohmert said. "In East Texas, we produce more natural gas than any other of the 36 congressional districts in Texas."
"We have more gas, more oil, more shale, more coal, more energy than the entire Middle East combined," said Fox News' Sean Hannity, who met with Gohmert after the address. We could create jobs, and wealth and help pay down our debt."
The President also vowed to continue his push to increase restrictions on guns. Congressman Gohmert, like many Republicans, argues such restrictions would be a step in the wrong direction.
"I intend to keep trying, with or without Congress, to help stop more tragedies from visiting innocent Americans in our movie theaters, shopping malls, or schools like Sandy Hook," the President said.
"The places where there is the most gun violence are the places where guns are most restricted and it's tragic," Gohmert countered.
The President also broadly asked Congress to find common ground and work together to help make progress on some of America's toughest issues. Gohmert responded by saying he does believe there are better days ahead, but he believes it will be "in spite of the government."