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Smith's State of the Union response

By Rep. Lamar Smith Special to the Courier

No one has suffered more than the middle class under President Barack Obama's policies. For six years the Obama Administration has pushed the same tax-and-spend policies, and for six years they haven't worked. Family incomes have remained flat.
Our debt has grown by more than $7 trillion under this president and all Americans have to show for it is a bloated, overreaching bureaucracy and highly unpopular programs like Obamacare.
Last year alone, our federal government overspent by almost $500 billion - essentially bouncing a $1,500 check on behalf of every American. And now, the president wants to raise taxes to spend more of Americans' hard-earned dollars.
I don't believe the majority of Americans are happy with the way the government has spent their money. And I don't believe they want to raise taxes just so the president can spend more on programs like Obamacare.
The president has also implemented policies that have punished hard-working Americans who are struggling to get ahead. When he took unilateral, unconstitutional executive actions on immigration this past fall, President Obama added 5 million illegal immigrants to the workforce to compete with unemployed and underemployed Americans.
Thanks to an Obamacare provision, his actions actually give employers a $3,000 incentive to hire those who came here illegally. That is why the House recently passed legislation to put a stop to these damaging policies.
In the House, we have already taken action to lower the tax burden for everyone, reduce our deficit and promote policies that protect American workers. We will continue our work on behalf of the American people.
The president is also out of excuses and out of touch with the American people in his opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline. After six long years of thorough review - including hearings held by the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, which I chair - we know that this pipeline will enhance our energy independence with minimal impact to the environment.
The president is the only one standing in the way of the Keystone XL pipeline and 40,000 new energy jobs. I applaud the Republican-led Senate for bringing this legislation to the floor for a vote in the face of President Obama's veto threat. Now is the time to build.
In addition, the president's unilateral, unconstitutional immigration actions last fall were extreme and unprecedented. We must restore the rule of law and right the wrongs this President has inflicted on the American people and our immigration system. His actions cannot go unanswered.
That's why I voted in favor of a bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security through the rest of the fiscal year while defunding the president's executive amnesty.
One amendment, offered by Republican Representatives Roberts Aderholt of Alabama, Mike Mulvaney of South Carolina and Lou Barletta of Pennsylvania, prevents any funds from being used to carry out the executive actions announced on Nov. 20, 2014 to grant deferred action to an estimated four million unlawful immigrants.
Another amendment offered by Representative Marsha Blackburn, a Republican from Tennessee, provides that no funds may be used to consider new, renewal or previously denied DACA applications.
The American people want policies that protect public safety, support the American worker and increase border security. The American people have spoken, and in the House of Representatives, we are listening.