For U.S. Rep. Frank Guinta, tonight’s State of the Union speech by President Barack Obama was to be as much about “tone and tenor” as it is about plans and proposals.
Several hours prior to the Obama speech, Guinta, the Republican recently returned 1st District U.S. House member, said in an interview he hoped that even if Obama laid out proposals that the Republican congressional majorities have issues with, he would do so in a “warm and fuzzy” manner and expresses a willingness to reach common ground.
“What I’m hoping for is really a three-point message,” Guinta said. “Showing a willingness to work with Congress is incredibly important because the country wants to see Congress and the President work in cooperation and find common ground. Second is a vision for America that protects taxpayers and promotes a healthy economy and recognizing that many Americans want and deserve better than what they are getting.
“Third,” Guinta said, “would be a real plan in the final two years of the President’s tenure that shows a willingness to try to complete some of the campaign promises that he made six years ago, and the most important one is balancing the budget. I hope I hear a path to those things, which would stir optimism in the country.”
Although Obama has previewed a plan to raise taxes on the wealthy in order to help the middle class, Guinta said that Granite Staters have made it clear to him that the health of the economy is the top issue, as well as “frustration that Washington is not working.”
Guinta said that there have been numerous tax hikes since the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010 and so taxing the wealthy “seems to be more of a top-down approach that can be viewed as divisive. And I really believe Americans are looking for unification and not division.
“The President has a different approach on tax policy than I do,” he said. “I’m of the view of protecting more hard-working taxpayers, making things fairer for all individuals and trying to achieve those objectives in a cooperative approach.”
Guinta said although “we could have a difference of opinion on issues, his tone and tenor will be very important. And we will know that in the first 10 minutes of the speech.
“We can have opposing views on particular issues but if he is willing to say, ‘I want to work with you,’ it can make all the difference in the world,” he said. “So far the House of Representatives has passed five pieces of legislation, all bipartisan. We are willing to work across the aisle and have shown we are willing to try to find those bipartisan approaches.”
Guinta also said that although there has been little foreign policy in speech previews from the White House, he is confident that Obama will address terrorism and national security.
“The country and the world need to be reassured that America is at the forefront of the reality that safety and security is paramount,” Guinta said. “People are legitimately concerned and beyond reassurance, they want leadership.”