Arizona politicians react to President Joe Biden’s first State of the Union address

Mar 1, 2022, 9:48 PM | Updated: 10:38 pm

PHOENIX — Arizona politicians reacted to President Joe Biden’s first State of the Union address Tuesday night, with responses on the speech falling along party lines.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema praised Biden’s support of making semiconductors in America, as well as health care for seniors, but called on the administration for thoughtful spending and to take immediate action on the southern border.

“I welcome President Biden’s support for our policies boosting American manufacturing of semiconductors, ensuring Arizona veterans – including those exposed to harmful burn pits – receive the care they’ve earned, and lowering health care costs for Arizona seniors,” Sinema said.

“Arizonans want to get back to normal, but continue to be hurt by rising prices and empty store shelves. I call on the administration to ensure government spending is targeted and thoughtful – because a lean and efficient government helps avoid prices hikes. As we strengthen Arizona’s economic recovery, the administration must take immediate action to address the ongoing migrant crisis by securing the border, keeping Arizona communities safe, and ensuring migrants are treated fairly and humanely.”

Biden didn’t touch much on the southern border during the speech that lasted just over an hour, stating a need to secure the border and fix the immigration system.

He said new technology like cutting-edge scanners have been installed to better detect drug smuggling.

Biden added the country has set up joint patrols with Mexico and Guatemala to catch more human traffickers, put dedicated immigration judges in place so families fleeing persecution and violence could have their cases heard faster, as well as worked to secure commitments and supporting partners in South and Central America to host more refugees and secure their own borders.

Like Sinema, Democratic U.S. Rep. Greg Stanton in a statement said there is much more work to be done on the state’s southern border.

“A secure border is an absolute must for us to stop the flow of illegal drugs into our communities, especially deadly opioids like fentanyl that have claimed thousands of lives in Arizona,” Stanton said. “I’m glad the President is committed to taking on traffickers—but there’s much more work to do to keep Arizonans safe.”

He also appreciated Biden’s support for cutting the cost of prescription drugs.

“I’m grateful that President Biden again voiced his support for our bill to allow Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices—now the Senate needs to act,” Stanton said.

“Too many are paying the price for politics as usual. Arizona families and seniors need real, immediate relief.”

Biden called for the cost of insulin to be capped at $35 so everyone can afford it.

Arizona Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly also touched on Biden’s statement regarding prescription drug prices, as well as microchip manufacturing, saying he was happy to see the president focused on getting legislation into law.

“In the Senate, I negotiated and passed a plan to boost microchip manufacturing in Arizona and across the country, and I was glad to see the President place a priority on getting our legislation across the finish line,” Kelly said.

“Congress should be focused on efforts like these to fix our supply chains and drive down costs, including by directing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, boosting our trucking workforce, and taking more immediate steps like getting rid of the federal gas tax for the rest of the year.”

Democratic U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego in a statement praised the Biden-Harris administration on meeting historic challenges in just over one year in office.

“Whether it was an economy in turmoil, soaring COVID-19 cases, an inauguration in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 insurrection, or the need to rebuild diplomatic alliances abroad, this administration has met the moment in every instance,” Gallego said. “In the year since, this administration has worked with Congress to deliver an unprecedented economic recovery, a historic infrastructure package, and a vaccination campaign that has finally beaten down COVID-19.

“This administration and Congress, together with the American people, have put our country back on the right track, and we are not done yet.”

Republican U.S. Rep. Debbie Lesko, meanwhile, said Biden is “going to have to do more than offer empty rhetoric.”

“The State of the Union is in crisis. Gasoline, grocery, and energy prices are soaring, crime has risen through the roof, the southern border is wide open, fentanyl is killing our kids, and war has broken out in Ukraine,” she said in a statement.

“It is time for him to abandon his far-left agenda and work with Republicans for the sake of our nation and our allies around the world.”

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Arizona politicians react to President Joe Biden’s first State of the Union address