Suburban members of Congress offered a range of reactions Tuesday to President Donald Trump's first address to a joint session of Congress, criticizing his stances on immigration to "listening to things that could unite" the divided country. Here are their thoughts:
"I realized that none of my family would have been able to make it into this country under this new merit-based immigration system.
"They were poor people escaping persecution (in) Russia as Jews. ... Now that idea of this new immigration system hasn't given comfort to a lot of people in this 9th Congressional District. ... We were listening to the things that could unite us. The idea to repeal and replace Obamacare was certainly not welcome. He certainly didn't offer a real plan."
"Tonight President Trump laid out a bold and optimistic plan for creating jobs across the country by cutting unnecessary regulations that are choking job growth and reforming our stifling tax code. As I have heard from countless small business owners and employers throughout my district, regulations and high taxes are the number one obstacle to hiring more workers. That hurts Illinois families and individuals who expect and deserve more. I look forward to the President signing legislation like the SCRUB Act into law. The bill passed the House this week and includes my legislation to get rid of outdated and duplicative regulations so businesses can get back to hiring and making things again. I look forward to the President working with Congress on reforming our tax system to one that is simpler and fairer for businesses and families. I look forward to working with the President to renew our infrastructure through municipal financing and local control over projects. I am encouraged by President Trump's call for unity, and I urge all Americans to come together across our divisions and work together to build a stronger nation and a brighter future for our children."
"Tonight, President Trump attempted to turn the rhetorical page with what he declared a message of unity, but if the past five weeks have shown anything, it is that talk is cheap for this administration and actions are what matter. When we should be focusing on improving our health care system, the Trump administration has embarked on an ill-conceived and irresponsible repeal plan that would leave millions without coverage and even more without protections from insurance companies. When we should be addressing our broken immigration system and the plight of DREAMers, the Trump administration has launched a draconian crackdown on our communities and enacted a ban on refugees that betrays our values."
"For a year and a half, President Trump has boasted he would dismantle the Affordable Care Act and replace it with something better. I hoped the president's speech tonight would detail a real replacement plan, but the president didn't provide one. The Republican playbook is still to repeal the Affordable Care Act without any effective replacement, even though it would devastate our economy and leave millions of Americans without health care. We must protect and improve the Affordable Care Act because we need to address the country's health care challenges in a way that safeguards the health of the American people and our economy."
"Since taking office President Trump's record has been divisive and disheartening, but I remained hopeful that he would view tonight as an opportunity to present the American people with a more positive and inclusive message to move us forward as a nation. Despite initial indications, vague platitudes about a bipartisan infrastructure plan and promises to rein in unfair trade practices, the president's remarks tonight were anything but unifying. He largely doubled down on the dark and dangerous rhetoric that has become a pillar of his fledgling presidency, including his misguided Muslim travel ban and deeply flawed understanding of the causes of gun violence in Chicago and across the country. Tonight was an opportunity for the president to make good on his promises to the American people, to back up his rhetoric with action. He did neither, and his broken promises are beginning to add up."
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