Utah’s members of Congress echoed President Donald Trump in celebrating a strong economy but they also praised a handful of bipartisan measures like a new trade deal following the president's State of the Union address Tuesday night.
At the same time, they declined to acknowledge the night’s more attention-grabbing moments such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ripping up her copy of Trump’s speech and a surprise awarding of the Presidential Medal of Freedom to conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, who was recently diagnosed with advanced lung cancer.
Trump spent the first several minutes of his address touting low unemployment, rising wages and his administration’s effort to cut regulations.
“When the president talks about the great American comeback, it really is true,” said Rep. Chris Stewart in a video statement following the address. “This economy is benefitting the hardest workers among us.”
Rep. Ben McAdams, Utah’s only congressional Democrat who represents a Republican-leaning district, said he would be listening for opportunities to work across the aisle during the speech.
“I’ve learned from my time in public service that you don’t have to agree on every issue in order to find common ground and achieve progress,” said McAdams, who sat with the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus during the address. “I’m eager to work with my colleagues and the President to pass bipartisan legislation to dramatically lower prescription drug prices.”
But McAdams warned that with a strong economy and workforce, “now is the time for us to work together to get our fiscal house in order, strengthen Social Security and Medicare and invest in modernizing infrastructure.”
Republican Sen. Mitt Romney echoed a commitment to protecting such programs and urged Trump and other members of Congress to address the nation’s “runaway debt,” which he said threatens the social welfare programs.
“The TRUST Act, which I’ve introduced with a bipartisan group of senators, would rescue our government trust funds and address our debt crisis, and passing this legislation is my top priority this year,” Romney said.
Gov. Gary Herbert is in Washington this week for meetings and attended the speech as Romney’s guest.
“Under his leadership, Utah continues to see economic prosperity, job growth, and our unemployment rate is at a record low,” Romney said of the third-term governor.
I’ll be joined by my friend and Utah Governor @GovHerbert for tonight’s #SOTU. I have admired and appreciated his leadership in our state and his dedication to serving Utahns. Honored to have him as my guest this evening. pic.twitter.com/0uLHR8LrO6
— Senator Mitt Romney (@SenatorRomney) February 4, 2020
In a statement, Herbert described Trump’s speech as “optimistic and filled with good news on the strong state of our nation. I believe that our best days are ahead of us, particularly as we work to find more ways to collaborate as a nation, as we do in Utah,” he said.
Rep. John Curtis, R-Provo, said the future is “optimistic” thanks to a few bipartisan victories, like a strong economy and the recent passage of the U.S.-Mexico- Canada trade agreement.
“I am encouraged to hear the President prioritize bipartisan approaches to address our healthcare and infrastructure needs and I look forward to working with both the Administration and my colleagues in Congress to deliver meaningful changes for Utah’s Third District,” Curtis said.
Nicole Nixon covers politics for KUER. Follow her on Twitter @_Nixo