York County's lawmakers react to Trump's State of the Union address

York Dispatch

The region's GOP congressional delegation lauded Donald Trump's domestic economic agenda following Tuesday night's State of the Union address, though the president's trade policies remained a point of contention.

Democrats, however, were less than impressed by a speech that commingled calls for bipartisanship with several distinctly partisan punches. 

Republican Sen. Pat Toomey heaped praise on the growing U.S. economy, which conservatives say benefited from 2017's sweeping tax cuts.

“The economy is the best it’s been in decades. Economic growth has accelerated, unemployment has dropped to record lows, middle-class wages are rising, and for the first time there are more job openings than there are people looking for a job," Toomey said in a news release following Trump's speech.

Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., speaks in April at the York County SPCA. Toomey has joined other senators in co-sponsoring a bill to subject the president’s trade actions to congressional approval.

Toomey, though, wasn't so keen on Trump's reliance on tariffs targeting China, which has hit farmers especially hard.

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"I continue to believe that the administration is taking us down the wrong path. Tariffs on products imported into the United States are taxes, paid by American consumers, that harm American families and workers," Toomey said.

Sen. Bob Casey, a Democrat, blasted Trump for not pledging to avoid another government shutdown. Casey also took aim at the administration's economic agenda, which Democrats say privileges the rich.

Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) tours Tooling Dynamics on Volgelsong Road to celebrate his bipartisan legislation being signed into law by President Trump, Monday, Sept. 17, 2018.  John A. Pavoncello photo

"He could have committed to a substantial tax cut for those families. He could have talked to working parents about a comprehensive agenda for their children — investing in education, safeguarding their health care, rebuilding their schools and protecting them from violence," Casey said of Trump. "Unfortunately, he used his platform tonight to reinforce the same talking points and to double down on his corporate agenda.”

For Pennsylvania Republicans such as Rep. Scott Perry, though, it all boils down to jobs.

"The results of the president’s agenda are clear: the economy is booming," Perry said. "... The reason we can address other issues is because the economy is so strong; it’s important not to lose sight of that progress."

Republican incumbent candidates Scott Perry, left, and Lloyd Smucker greet each other during an appearance by Vice President Mike Pence who rallied at the Lancaster Airport in Lititz Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018. Bill Kalina photo

Rep. Lloyd Smucker, a Republican, said the president's tone set the stage for renewed bipartisanship in Washington, which has been in gridlock for years.

“In order to make America a better place, we must solve our problems and reach across the aisle," Smucker said.