President Joe Biden on Tuesday night will deliver his second official State of the Union address since being sworn into office Jan. 20, 2021.
Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., the No. 3 House Republican, says the president doesn’t have anything to brag about in the speech to a joint session of Congress at the midpoint of his four-year term.
“I think the president has caused significant crises in this country, whether you look at the border crisis, the economic crisis, the inflation crisis, or the constitutional crisis,” Stefanik, chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, says.
“What House Republicans are focused on is our commitment to America, our legislative agenda that we have already hit the ground running to pass on behalf of the American people, standing up for an economy that’s strong, a nation that’s safe, a future that’s built upon freedom, and a government that’s accountable,” Stefanik says. “So, I hope to hear a lot from the president, but I think he’s going to double down on the far-Left, failed policies that have been really hurting hardworking American families.”
Stefanik joins this episode of “The Daily Signal Podcast” to discuss how she would grade Biden’s first two years in office, what to expect from congressional Republicans and GOP leadership in oversight of the Biden administration, and what she views as the biggest threat from the Chinese Communist Party.
Rep. Harriet Hageman, R-Wyo., also joins the podcast to discuss what she thinks Biden has to brag about during his State of the Union address, Biden’s self-inflicted immigration crisis, and whether House Republicans will impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas over the situation at the southern border.
Listen to the podcast below or read the lightly edited transcript:
Samantha Aschieris: Thank you so much for joining us today. Now, tomorrow is President [Joe] Biden’s State of the Union address. Does the president have anything to brag about tomorrow night?
Rep. Elise Stefanik: I think the president has caused significant crisis in this country, whether you look at the border crisis, the economic crisis, the inflation crisis, or the constitutional crisis. What House Republicans are focused on is our commitment to America, our legislative agenda that we have already hit the ground running to pass on behalf of the American people, standing up for an economy that’s strong, a nation that’s safe, a future that’s built upon freedom, and a government that’s accountable.
So I hope to hear a lot from the president, but I think he’s going to double down on the far-Left failed policies that have been really hurting hardworking American families.
Aschieris: How would you grade President Biden’s first two years in office?
Stefanik: I would grade him with an F and he deserves that F. On every metric he has failed. People are worse off than they were under President [Donald] Trump, where people were doing very well. Families were doing very well economically, in terms of our safety; law enforcement was supported; our southern border was secure. We have seen that unravel so quickly.
And I want to highlight one issue that’s a particular crisis, is this unsustainable debt. Over $31 trillion is our current debt. That is saddling future generations with an unsustainable bill to pay. And yet, I believe tomorrow President Biden’s going to double down on his refusal to negotiate and saying we need a clean debt ceiling.
That’s a non-starter for the American people, that’s a non-starter for House Republicans, which is why we’re so supportive of the fact that Speaker [Kevin] McCarthy had that meeting with President Biden to demand that we’re going to have negotiations to stand up for the American people and bring our budget back toward balance.
Aschieris: Now, you just brought up the national debt. What other things would you consider to be President Biden’s greatest failure over the last two years?
Stefanik: The border, the weaponization of federal agencies to go against his political opponents—whether it’s targeting parents standing up at school board meetings, having his Department of Justice designate them as domestic terrorists, or whether it’s the FBI targeting his top political opponent, Donald Trump, with the raid at Mar-a-Lago.
And it’s unacceptable that the mainstream media has treated Joe Biden’s mishandling of classified documents and have tried to brush it under the rug. The American people deserve to know the truth, the whole truth, about his very concerning and illegal storage of classified documents.
Aschieris: And let’s talk a little bit more about classified documents and the Oversight Committee. And what can we expect from Republicans and from Republican leadership in terms of oversight?
Stefanik: Oversight is a huge part of our commitment to America, and it’s something that Democrats refuse to do. It’s our constitutional duty, representing the American people, to have oversight over these agencies because these agencies work for the American people, not the other way around.
And too often, these agencies have been targeting the American people—hardworking, law-abiding citizens. And I use parents as probably one of the most egregious examples, the fact that the Department of Justice was targeting parents, parents who care deeply about their child’s safety and the quality of education they were getting in the classroom.
So that’s going to be one part of our oversight agenda. But as a member of House leadership, all of our committees will be conducting oversight. I sit on the House Armed Services Committee. We’re going to go after the misuse of federal dollars when it comes to the Department of Defense with their woke policies, implementing critical race theory as part of their teachings within the DOD. That’s unacceptable and we will go after that. That’s part of oversight.
Aschieris: Now, I want to talk a little bit about China and what you see as the biggest threat from the Chinese Communist Party.
Stefanik: I believe that our greatest 21st-century threat is the Chinese Communist Party. And I’ve been part of the China Task Force, which Republicans put together in the last Congress, putting forth what solutions are.
We need to make sure that we’re protecting our intellectual property, we need to make sure that we’re protecting our agricultural land, our AG businesses. I’ve introduced legislation to do that. And we need to make sure that we’re making investments in our nation’s military, not in these woke policies, but making sure that we have the strongest, most capable, most lethal military in the world because Communist China is doubling down on those investments. It’s one of the reasons why House Republicans led the creation of the China select committee, which we actually earned over a 100 Democrats’ vote for. So this shouldn’t be a partisan issue.
Unfortunately, Joe Biden has shown weakness when it comes to the Communist Chinese, particularly in his mishandling of the balloon this past weekend.
Aschieris: Yeah, I want to talk a little bit more about the balloon and more about President Biden’s handling of it. Do you think that, over the last two years, President Biden has effectively countered the threat of the Chinese Communist Party, and what more do you hope to see from him?
Stefanik: Well, we need to see strength, and we’re not seeing this with our current commander in chief. I will tell you, under President Trump, our adversaries feared us and our allies knew that they could count on us, and it’s the exact opposite under President Joe Biden.
And China was watching that botched withdrawal from Afghanistan, he was watching that catastrophic commander-in-chief lack of leadership, and [Chinese President Xi Jinping] and the Communist Chinese are continuing to flex their muscle, whether it was the balloon or whether it’s their continued theft of intellectual property and our technology in the United States.
So this is a very serious threat. House Republicans are leading on this issue, and we intend to make it a big part of our national security priorities and also economic security priorities to make sure that we continue to be the global leader economically and from a national security perspective.
Aschieris: I just have one final question for you. The Daily Signal reported this morning that the Biden administration and Department of Education, it doesn’t seem like they are enforcing Section 117 of the Higher Education Act of 1965, which requires colleges and universities to report contracts with or foreign funding from foreign entities of $250,000 or more. From your perspective, and as a leader of the Republican Party, what can we expect from you moving forward to hold these colleges and universities accountable?
Stefanik: It is a great question, and I also serve on the House Education Workforce Committee. So I’ve actually introduced legislation to tamp down on any foreign investment from adversaries into our higher education system.
We saw this, unfortunately, with Confucius Institutes funded by the Communist Chinese Party, and we needed to put a stop to it because it’s brainwashing our kids and it’s allowing infiltration. So that will be an oversight agenda for us on the House Education Committee and certainly a priority for the China select committee as well.
But I’ve been very passionate about this issue, and we need to make sure we’re doing everything we can to protect our future leaders in our education system.
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Author: Samantha Aschieris