Alabama’s Britt blasts Biden on economy, immigration in GOP State of the Union reply • Pennsylvania Capital-Star

First-term U.S. Sen. Katie Britt of Alabama delivered the Republican response to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address Thursday night, and laid blame on Biden for a host of national and international crises — what she said is chaos at the border, in cities, in the economy and among U.S. allies.

Britt stuck mostly to familiar GOP talking points. She panned Biden’s handling of immigration, the economy, crime and foreign policy, while questioning if the 81-year-old is up to the challenge of leading the country.

But the Alabamian delivered some critiques in a more congenial Southern manner than many other national Republicans are prone to use.

“The American people are scraping by while the President proudly proclaims Bidenomics is working,” she said. “Goodness, y’all. Bless his heart. We know better.”

Seated at a kitchen table, Britt said her most important job was as “a wife and mother to two school-aged children,” and framed much of her criticism as anxiety about her children’s generation.

Biden has overseen an eroding American dream, Britt said, delivering in gentler language a central campaign theme for presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

“The country we know and love seems to be slipping away,” she said. “It feels like the next generation will have fewer opportunities — and less freedom — than we did. I worry my own children may not even get a shot at living their American dreams.”

The country can “do better,” Britt said.

Coming eight months before a presidential election, the State of the Union and Britt’s response were marked by heavy doses of campaign rhetoric, and Britt asked voters to reject Biden at the ballot box.

“There is no doubt we’re at a crossroads. We all feel it,” she said.

“But here’s the good news: We the people are still in the driver’s seat. We get to decide whether our future will grow brighter, or whether we settle for an America in decline. Well, I know which choice our children deserve — and the choice the Republican Party is fighting for.”

Immigration, foreign policy 

As Trump and other Republicans have for the past year, Britt made a surge of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border a central criticism of the president.

Biden came into office with “the most secure border of all time,” but squandered it with a host of executive orders meant to soften the approach to immigration Trump, his predecessor, oversaw, Britt said.

Britt said fentanyl and coming across the border and “senseless murders” were responsible for “empty chairs at kitchen tables just like this one.”

Britt cited Laken Riley, a nursing student in Georgia killed by a Venezuelan immigrant with a previous conviction for shoplifting.

Biden mentioned Riley during his address, which still didn’t satisfy Republican critics who urged him to “say her name.”

“Tonight, President Biden finally said her name,” Britt said. “But he refused to take responsibility for his own actions. Mr. President, enough is enough.”

Biden also squandered U.S. geopolitical advantages, Britt said, first with a chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan and then by entertaining a new deal to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons.

“We’ve become a nation in retreat,” she said. “And the enemies of freedom see an opportunity.”

She described an unsafe world stage, highlighting U.S. casualties in the Middle East since war between Israel and the militant group Hamas began in October. She referenced the deaths of three U.S. soldiers in Jordan and two Navy seals off the coast of Somalia in January.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine also showed world affairs were dangerous, Britt said.

But she did not address Biden’s call roughly an hour earlier for Congress to approve funding for Ukraine. Republicans in Congress have stymied the administration’s request for additional aid to help Ukraine fight Russia’s invasion.

IVF, economy and crime

Britt said Republicans support nationwide access to in vitro fertilization, a common fertility treatment that has been in the national spotlight for more than a week after the Alabama Supreme Court issued a decision holding that excess embryos routinely created during IVF had the same legal rights as children.

“We strongly support continued nationwide access to in vitro fertilization,” Britt said. “We want to help loving moms and dads bring precious life into this world.”

While the president pointed to dropping unemployment, flattening inflation and rising wages, Britt said Biden’s message was divorced from the reality for families still “struggling to make ends meet” with the high costs of necessities such as housing and childcare.

Biden warns ‘freedom and democracy are under attack’ in fierce State of the Union address

Britt also played on voters fears’ of crime, blaming a perceived rise in violence on a liberal political ideology that accepts criminality and opposes police funding.

“For years, the left has coddled criminals and defunded the police – all while letting repeat offenders walk free. The result is tragic but foreseeable—from our small towns to America’s most iconic city streets, life is getting more and more dangerous.”

The actual crime statistics painted a less clear picture. While the interview-based annual criminal victimization survey conducted by the federal Bureau of Justice indicated an increase in violent crime from 2021 to 2022, FBI crime statistics compiled from local police reports across the country showed a drop in the national violent crime rate and the murder rate.

Unifying all of Britt’s criticisms of Biden’s policy choices was the idea that Biden was a weak leader, perhaps hobbled by age.

“Right now, our Commander in Chief is not in command,” she said. “The free world deserves better than a dithering and diminished leader.”

Launching pad?

The State of the Union response, delivered by a member of the opposing party to the president, is seen as a plum assignment for young politicians with ambitions beyond their current office.

Florida Republican Marco Rubio delivered a response in 2013, two years before he’d run for president.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s response to Donald Trump in 2020 raised her national profile enough that Biden reportedly vetted her as a running mate that year.

And South Carolina’s Tim Scott gave the response to Biden in 2021, two years before announcing his White House run.

Britt’s response was likely the largest audience she’s addressed since succeeding longtime Sen. Richard Shelby in 2023. Britt, 42, worked for Shelby for five years, including two as the powerful appropriator’s chief of staff.

Originally published at,by Jacob Fischler

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