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Congressman Dan Donovan

Representing the 11th District of New York


State of the Union 2016: Donovan criticizes Obama on homeland security

January 12, 2016
In The News

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Responding to President Obama's final State of the Union address on Tuesday night, Rep. Daniel Donovan criticized the president for high taxes, big government and downplaying the severity of terrorist threats.

Obama delivered the constitutionally mandated speech to a joint session of Congress, touching on many topics, including the economy, climate change, education, innovation, terrorism and a need to end political fighting.

The president took swipes at Republicans and those who disagree with him on policies regarding climate change, campaign finance reform, the Affordable Care Act and relationships with countries like Cuba and Russia.

Obama warned, "Both al Qaeda and now ISIL pose a direct threat to our people ... but they do not threaten our national existence," a statement that Donovan took issue with.

"The president didn't say 'homeland security' once tonight, but he did call talk of our enemies gaining strength 'hot air,'" Donovan said in a statement. "This would contradict the public statements of terrorism experts across the political spectrum who have said the threat is as complex and elevated as they have seen. The fact is, the state of our homeland is increasingly not secure. The president has placated our enemies and turned away our friends. He supposedly ended two wars, but the world is more dangerous now than when he took office. We need a clear strategy to fight radical Islamic terror, dismantle ISIS, and thwart homegrown plots — and we heard none of that tonight."

Donovan is a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

The congressman also took issue with the president's statements about the economy and working Americans.

"President Obama spoke about working families and the need to unleash the American worker's potential," Donovan said. "But seven years of government expansion doesn't bolster the middle class. The answer isn't higher taxes and more government to bring everybody down. The answer is building a ladder that everybody can climb. The president doesn't get that, and it's destroying the dream of a better life for millions of families."

Lastly, Donovan agreed with Obama's call to put aside politics to accomplish good things.

Obama said, "It doesn't work if we think the people who disagree with us are all motivated by malice, or that our political opponents are unpatriotic."

The congressman responded, "I do take heart in the president's talk of working together across the aisle, even if that vision has persisted just as lofty rhetoric during his administration. Moving forward into an uncertain future, I'll continue calling them like I see them while finding opportunities to collaborate for the good of Staten Island and South Brooklyn."