Tuesday evening, I joined Senator Jerry Moran, Republican of Kansas, to attend the President’s address to the Joint Session of Congress. Seating at the State of the Union was different, in a positive way, this year. Instead of sitting divided, Democrats on one side of the aisle and Republicans on the other, we attempted to mix ourselves together. If you look to the President’s left, on the Republican side of the chamber, you will see me in the midst of Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS), Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Sen. Tom Culburn (R-OK). It was a nice group to sit with, and a cross section of our national mood.
As I looked down my row, at a seating arrangement that would have been scoffed at last year, I wondered whether Congress would indeed work together, even with all the 'Kumbaya' of the night. Many people came to the joint session with dates from the other party, and it remains to be seen whether this was a one-night stand. We will find hard problems ahead.
The President was very clear. He said, look people, cheer up, the glass is half full. I was happy to hear his optimism. He essentially told America that, despite the challenges of the past two years, we're on our way back up now and walking into a new door of opportunity. He's willing to walk through, but he needs members of Congress to oil the hinges. The question of the night is will Congress help hold open that door of opportunity-- or let it close in America’s face.
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Cleaver: President presented challenge to Congress
In his latest EC from DC column, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., discussed President Obama's State of the Union message: