U.S. Rep. Doug Collins of Gainesville delivered the Republican Party’s weekly radio address last weekend in response to President Barack Obama’s usual Saturday remarks. And in this case, it was recorded in Gainesville.
Collins taped his comments Aug. 14 at the School of Mass Communications Arts at Gainesville’s Brenau University. They were broadcast Aug. 16.
“It was an honor to be asked to address the nation on behalf of Northeast Georgians and Republicans across the country,” Collins said in a news release issued Saturday by his office. “When this opportunity came up, our first call was to the folks at Brenau to see if it was possible to produce a national broadcast from right here in Gainesville. ... Brenau students are blessed to have access to their professionalism, expertise and the school’s outstanding facilities.”
In his remarks, Collins said Obama’s Democratic party and Senate leadership, in particular, have failed to take action to solve the nation’s problems.
“President Obama enjoys complaining about Congress, but the fact is, his own party controls the Senate, and they need to get to work,” Collins said. “Of the bills that have been signed into law, more than 75 percent of them have originated in the House. What’s more, right now, Senate Democrats have failed to take action on more than 340 bills passed by the House. Many of them have bipartisan support, including most of the 43 jobs bills that are stuck in this do-nothing Senate. So if they’re truly interested in making progress, the president and his party have a lot of catching up to do.”
Obama's radio address Saturday focused on his efforts to lobby Congress to renew the U.S. Export-Import Bank. The bank provides loans, loan guarantees and credit insurance to foreign buyers of U.S. products. But it will cease functioning unless Congress renews its charter before October. Some Republican lawmakers who supported the bank in past years now want to put it out of business.
Collins began his address by recounting a visit with constituents in the North Georgia town of Blue Ridge, where “we had a good, honest conversation” about the direction of the U.S. economy.
“Like most Americans, my constituents are frustrated with the status quo,” Collins said in his address. “They wish Washington would stop meddling in things that aren’t broken, and start fixing the things that are. They think there’s too much talk, and not enough action on real solutions.
“Those I talked to want to know, why can’t our leaders just do their jobs? I know how they feel, because my Republican colleagues in the House and I have made the American people’s priorities our priorities.”
Collins cited GOP legislation to help the economy and job creation, address veterans services and boost education, but said, “Democrats in the Senate have essentially decided to do nothing. Our bills are piling up on (Majority Leader) Harry Reid’s desk, collecting dust.”
Collins also referenced efforts to address the crisis of unaccompanied children from Central America crossing the U.S-Mexico border in large numbers.
“House Republicans passed a common-sense solution, and Senate Democrats left town without doing the hard work to pass their own,” he said. “That’s just irresponsible – there’s no other word for it.”
Collins’ Democratic rival in his fall re-election campaign, David Vogel of Hull, issued a news release Saturday calling Collins’ address “one of the finest examples I have seen of what has gone wrong with political discussion.”
“It is all slogans and meaningless assertions,” Vogel wrote. Referring to Collins’ reference to legislation passed by the House, he asked “What bills are you talking about, Doug?”
On the border crisis, Vogel referred to legislation passed under Obama’s predecessor to address migrant children.
“Senate Democrats thought the Republicans under G.W. Bush had already passed a common-sense bill that was appropriate for children who come to this country unaccompanied, and saw no reason to undo it,” Vogel wrote. “Let us acknowledge that there is room for rational discussion, here, and no need for name calling.
“Perhaps, Americans even have a duty to their country to look for more rational political discussion, and to vote for those who offer it. I believe our Congress would begin to function, again, if our legislators would come to the bargaining table with their evidence instead of their slogans.”