Roll Call: Alexander Tells Obama to Focus State of Union on Economy

Posted on January 25, 2010

Senate Republican Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) on Monday urged President Barack Obama to focus his State of the Union address on economic concerns and terrorism and avoid the urge to “veer too far to the left” in his plans for the coming year.

In a floor speech, Alexander argued that, “To reconnect with the American people in his State of the Union address, creating jobs should be President Barack Obama’s first subject, reining in the national debt his second, and terrorism his third.” Obama’s State of the Union is Wednesday night.

“Then, it wouldn’t hurt my feelings one bit if he stopped his speech there and focused his unswerving attention until he has jobs, debt and terror all headed in a better direction. After all, the president struggled in his first year not only because his agenda veered too far left, but because he took too many big bites of too many apples and tried to swallow them all at once,” Alexander said.

Alexander, the No. 3 GOP Senate leader, also repeated his party’s growing insistence on a “step-by-step” approach to policymaking rather than trying to enact sweeping reforms.

“In my view, a step-by-step job strategy for the country should include tax cuts, less regulation, certainty, free trade, a balanced labor climate, good educational opportunities and clean but cheap energy,” he said.

Alexander’s speech is part of a broader GOP effort to get into the debate before Obama delivers his address.