House GOP Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., is presenting the official response to next week's State of the Union address, but a top Senate Republican offered a prebuttal Saturday morning.
"When he delivers his State of the Union address this week, the President has a lot of explaining to do," Senate Republican Conference Vice Chairman Roy Blunt said in the weekly GOP address.
"If all he has to offer is more of the same, or if he refuses to acknowledge that his own policies have failed to work — the President is simply doing what many failed leaders have done before him: trying to set one group of Americans against another group of Americans," the Missourian said. "We don't need more class warfare, and we don't need more interference from Washington. No government program can replace what a good job means for the future of a family."
In his remarks, Blunt continued GOP criticism of the health care law and again called for approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
The entire Senate Republican conference wrote to President Barack Obama regarding delays in the pipeline approval process. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was asked about the GOP letter Friday, but he said the pipeline permitting process is at the State Department.
Blunt also criticized the White House strategy of using an increasing number of executive actions to allow movement on Obama's priorities without Congress.
"The President says he has a pen to sign executive orders and a phone to rally support. The Congress should insist that he find the Constitution and follow it," Blunt said.
Responding to similar comments made previously by Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio, Carney said it should be no surprise that Obama will discuss executive branch actions.
"I think it's a pretty narrow view of a State of the Union address to suggest that he's speaking to the members of the Senate and the House alone. They're physically in the room, but millions of Americans are tuning in, and the president's speaking to every American," Carney said. "There are elected representatives and folks across the country sitting in their living rooms or their kitchens and watching a president give his State of the Union address."