Underscoring themes of family, personal empowerment, and decision-making over “a government that decides for you,” Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers offered an alternate Republican version of the “no dream is too big” promise in the official rebuttal to President Obama’s State of the Union address.
The highest-ranking House Republican woman — and the mother of three young children, all born during her time in Congress — McMorris Rodgers, 44, was tapped to deliver on national TV a fresh contrast to the president’s message. The selection of the Washington state lawmaker also provided pushback to portrayals of a political party at war with women.
And McMorris Rodgers’s performance went beyond simply laying out general elements of a GOP agenda that, she stressed, would better tackle the nation’s jobless rates “without more spending, government bailouts, and red tape,” and would improve education, reduce energy costs, and cut taxes.
She touched on some highly personal areas as well. As recently as November, she and her husband, Brian Rodgers, delivered their third child. But it was their first child — Cole, born in 2007 with Down syndrome — that she referenced in a criticism of the Affordable Care Act.
“Cole and his sisters, Grace and Brynn, have only made me more determined to see the potential in every human life — that whether we are born with an extra 21st chromosome or without a dollar to our name — we are not defined by our limits, but by our potential,” she said.
“Republicans believe health care choices should be yours, not the government’s,” she said. “And that whether you’re a boy with Down syndrome or a woman with breast cancer, you can find coverage and a doctor who will treat you.”
And her efforts to deliver a gentler view of Republicans and their agenda went beyond that. For instance, the Republican Conference chair (the fourth-highest elected post in the House GOP caucus) also talked about what she said were “more important moments” than those occurring in the Oval Office or the House chamber.
“They’re in your homes,” she said. “Kissing your kids good night. Figuring out how to pay the bills. Getting ready for tomorrow’s doctor’s visit. Waiting to hear from those you love serving in Afghanistan, or searching for that big job interview….
“Tonight the president made more promises that sound good, but won’t solve the problems actually facing Americans. We want you to have a better life. The president wants that too,” McMorris Rodgers said. “But we part ways when it comes to how to make that happen.”
Against this backdrop, she said, the GOP’s vision is one that empowers and trusts people to make their own decisions, “not a government that decides for you,” and that it is Republicans who are working to close the “gap we all face: between where you are and where you want to be.”
What We're Following See More »
President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin met in Helsinki, kicking off a widely-anticipated diplomatic summit that "consists of a one-on-one meeting and a larger working lunch, and will conclude with a joint news conference." During his opening remarks, President Trump did not mention Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, instead focusing on the World Cup, China and nuclear weapons. His one-on-one meeting with Putin is expected to last around 90 minutes.
"The mercurial veteran GOP political operative, Roger Stone, has acknowledged that he is the unnamed Trump campaign regular who corresponded with an alleged Russian hacker, as described in a new indictment against a dozen Russians returned Friday by a federal grand jury." He told ABC News that he previously admitted to the contact to House investigators. He called the correspondence "benign."
"A dozen Russian intelligence officers have been charged with conspiring" to hack into Democratic organizations, the Hillary Clinton campaign, and state election boards and private companies providing ballot verifying software for the 2016 presidential election, announced Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The Russians corresponded "with several Americans," Rosenstein said, who clarified that there was "no allegation in this indictment" that the Americans knew they were speaking with Russian hackers.
"President Trump described the European Union as 'a foe' in an interview with CBS News on Sunday, ahead of his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Finland. "I think we have a lot of foes," Trump said. "I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade. Now, you wouldn't think of the European Union, but they are a foe."