PLATTSBURGH — U.S. Representative Elise Stefanik (R-Schuylerville) was happy to see Democrats and Republicans show solidarity with Ukraine and Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States Oksana Markarova during the president’s first State of the Union Joe Biden Tuesday night.
Like other officials who wore paraphernalia or clothing in the same colors as the Ukrainian flag, the MP donned a blue and yellow pin and had a miniature Ukrainian flag that she occasionally waved during the speech.
While it’s important for the world to see this display, Biden’s proposals don’t go far enough to crack down on Russia, she told the Press-Republican.
“They don’t address the catastrophe of not getting weapons into the country in time, they don’t address the question of how we are going to completely cut off Russian energy imports and cripple Vladimir Putin and his economy by tackling the energy sector.”
Deterrence, NATO membership
Echoing previous comments, Stefanik said the way forward after the Russian energy sector is “Unleashing America’s Energy Independence” through routes like the Keystone XL pipeline, a project Biden canceled early in his term in January 2021.
The MP argued that sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline – built with the intention of bringing gas from Russia to Germany, but which has since filed for bankruptcy and laid off all its employees, Axios reported – would have must have taken place before the Russian invasion as a deterrent.
“The president talks about deterrence, but the Ukrainians are being massacred in the street” Stefanik said, pointing to moving remarks by Ukrainian-born U.S. Representative Victoria Spartz (R-Indiana) at the House GOP press conference on Tuesday.
Like the Biden administration, Stefanik doesn’t support American boots on the ground, and she noted Ukraine isn’t asking for it either.
When asked if this went against his statements supporting Ukraine’s entry into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization – which commits member countries to deal with an attack on one of between them as an attack on all – the MP said she had supported the move since her first term. , particularly at a Rotary luncheon in Clinton County in 2015.
“I think if Ukraine had been a member of NATO, it would have been an effective deterrent against Russian aggression. I think it was a global failure and a failure of NATO countries not to accept them into NATO.
Once the current conflict has been settled, Stefanik believes that the world community must support both Ukraine’s admission to the European Union and “reflection on the growth of NATO to counter the Russian threat.”
She is concerned that Chinese President Xi Jinping is watching the Russian-Ukrainian conflict very closely, saying there is a parallel to how Russian President Vladimir Putin has observed the withdrawal from Afghanistan.
“I’m very, very concerned that Xi is watching how the United States and the world react to the war on Ukraine, and I’m very concerned about the future of Taiwan and what that means when you have a authoritarian regime, whether in China or Russia, are simply committing genocide against a democracy, people who love freedom and love their independent culture.
Stefanik said it was “unfortunate” that the State of the Union did not include strong Biden leadership “in terms of understanding that his policy with a unified far-left Democratic government has created a crisis in the country.”
She criticized mentions of trillions in extra spending rather than containing it.
On how to tackle inflation, the President referenced his Build Back Better plan and expressed support for moving away from reliance on foreign supply chains.
On manufacturing, Stefanik said there was a need to focus on North American manufacturing as a whole, noting the cross-border supply chain used by local manufacturers.
“In general, we need to have a much stronger North American manufacturing base and really make sure that our economic partnerships are with our allies and not with our adversaries. We can no longer rely on China, or Russia, primarily China on manufacturing issues.
Biden threw a few jabs at the Trump-era Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, saying the tax cut “benefited the richest 1% of Americans” while his US bailout helped workers.
Those comments drew boos, but Stefanik said she wasn’t one of them.
“I usually listen to the State of the Union, and stand up and clap when I agree.”
The congresswoman said she disagreed with Biden’s proposed tax increases and said the focus should be on lowering taxes and simplifying the tax code.
“It’s going to be really important and I think very supported by people from all political walks of life.”
In areas where she thinks Republicans have an opportunity to work with the administration, Stefanik referenced points Biden had laid out as his “Unit Program”: beating the opioid epidemic, supporting mental health, supporting veterans and ending “cancer as we know it.”
The congresswoman said she looked forward to proposals from the White House on cancer control and noted the longstanding bipartisan support for addressing the opioid epidemic and past relief efforts.
But she maintained there was still work to be done, including securing the southern border.
I spoke of border
As Speaker of the House Republican Conference, Stefanik was part of the Congressional Escort Committee that helped escort the President into the House chamber.
She said she had the opportunity to briefly visit Biden behind the House floor, during which she stressed the importance of reopening the US-Canada border, without a warrant, for the economy of the north of the country and the pain the restrictions have caused families and families. communities.
“It’s important for him to hear that directly from me,” says Stefanik.
After Biden’s speech, the congresswoman spoke with U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough about some bipartisan VA proposals that will soon be coming home.
“I hope on these two issues we can make inroads for the district.”
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (DN.Y.) said in a statement that the president’s speech “was a reminder of the power and importance of democracy – at home and abroad.”
“President Biden has made clear his commitment to promoting truth, standing up for our values, and giving every person in this country the chance to succeed,” she says.
“His speech reminded us of the limitless potential of the American people to build a better future, no matter what challenges we face.
“I look forward to working with the President to continue rebuilding our economy and realizing his vision to make and make more goods in America; making those jobs well-paying and family-supporting; and to provide every worker with the paid time off they need to truly support their families. Together, we’ll make sure the future is bright and made in America.