Ohio leaders react to Biden’s first address to Congress

President Joe Biden addresses a joint session of Congress at the Capitol in Washington on Wednesday, April 28, 2021, as Vice President Kamala Harris, left, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) look on. (Doug Mills/The New York Times)
President Joe Biden addresses a joint session of Congress at the Capitol in Washington on Wednesday, April 28, 2021, as Vice President Kamala Harris, left, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) look on. (Doug Mills/The New York Times)

President Joe Biden on Wednesday night touted his infrastructure plan, a green-energy plan and pushed for mass vaccinations in his first address to a joint session of Congress.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Cleveland said Biden delivered a message of hope to the American people.

“In the first 100 days of this new administration, we have taken bold action to help Ohioans recover from this pandemic: shots in arms, money in families’ pockets, children in schools, and workers in jobs,” said Brown. “Now, we work to build on that success, with historic investments in the people who make this country work, and in the towns and neighborhoods that have been overlooked by Washington and Wall Street for far too long.”

Brown voted for the American Rescue Plan, which helped deliver financial relief and vaccines to hundreds of millions of Americans. Brown is now working to build on that success by passing historic investments in infrastructure and American families through Congress, his office said.

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Terrance Park disagrees with Biden’s proposed tax hikes.

“On the economy, President Biden’s tax hikes would largely dismantle the 2017 tax cuts that unleashed record job and wage growth and produced the lowest poverty rate since the government started tracking it 60 years ago,” Portman said on Twitter.

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Biden also announced his plan to provide universal pre-K to every 3- and 4-year-old in the country.

Dayton Mayor and Democratic candidate for governor Nan Whaley said there is no greater investment in Ohio’s future than the education of it’s children. Under Whaley’s leadership, Dayton passed a ballot initiative in 2016 to provide high-quality preschool to every 4-year-old in the city, regardless of ZIP code.

“This critical issue is finally getting the national attention it deserves. It shouldn’t matter what ZIP code you live in, you should be able to get a good education in Ohio. When I’m governor, I’ll work to make sure that’s a reality across our entire state.”

Dayton children have seen meaningful gains in kindergarten readiness, the mayor’s office said. In the 2018-19 school year, Dayton children enrolled in Preschool Promise were rated as 16 percent “more ready for kindergarten” than children not enrolled in the program. The program has made gains in bridging the learning gap between Black and white children in Dayton.

U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, called Biden’s spending plan irresponsible.

“Last night, President Biden proposed more irresponsible and out-of-control spending despite asking for cuts to the defense budget that could impact Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. As we seek economic recovery from the pandemic, I remain gravely concerned with the Biden administration’s dangerously misplaced priorities.”

Republican Michael Leipold, a Xenia EMS pilot who is running for U.S. Senate, called the president’s address to Congress “dangerous and divisive for Ohio.”

“President Biden promised during the campaign to be a moderate and work to bring our country together. Tonight’s speech only deepened the divide by pushing for the dangerous progressive agenda,” Leipold said.

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“This was socialism presented in slow motion,” U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, said on Fox News after Biden’s address. He said Biden laid out a “socialist vision for America.”

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