WASHINGTON — For the first time since 2010, House Republicans tapped Rep. Greg Walden, R-Hood River, to deliver the weekly Republican address today.
As chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, the party’s election wing, Walden touted four GOP candidates for the House as he reminded viewers in the video address online that voters head to the polls in less than 100 days. At the same time, he criticized President Barack Obama for presiding over “an economy leaving people behind, a debt bigger than the size of our economy, a humanitarian crisis at our southern border, the IRS targeting Americans for their political beliefs (and) the rolling disaster that is Obamacare.”
Walden’s remarks came after a week during which Congress struggled to pass a funding bill to deal with the massive influx of children from Central America on the United States’ southern border. The Senate left Friday for August recess without passing its own bill; the House scrambled to pass its own version Friday after GOP leaders pulled a previous version Thursday, fearing it did not have the votes to pass after members of the GOP’s right flank demanded that it include defunding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
At a news conference Friday, Obama accused House Republicans of advancing a symbolic plan that has no chance of becoming law.
“They’re not even trying to solve the problem, this is a message bill” that Republicans want to pass “just so they can check a box before leaving town tomorrow,” he said.
In his address, Walden maintained that Obama continues to deny his failures instead of learning from them.
“He’s disengaged when he should be leading,” Walden said. “These are the problems he promised to solve, but instead he’s become a part of them.”
The 2014 midterm election offers voters the opportunity to hold Washington accountable, Walden said.
“This is one of those moments when Americans can seize the initiative for ourselves,” he said.
“This November, Americans can reject the complacency and the incompetence and begin to restore a government that works for us and not against us.”
Earlier this week, Walden told reporters he intends to seek another term as National Republican Congressional Committee chairman, a position he has held for almost two years. Heading the party’s election wing makes Walden the fifth-ranking Republican in the House.
Walden last delivered the weekly Republican address in November 2010. At the time, he was serving as the chairman of the transition team for Speaker-elect John Boehner, R-Ohio.
President Franklin Roosevelt initiated weekly radio addresses to the nation, which he called “fireside chats.” Ronald Reagan revived the tradition in the 1980s, and every president since has delivered weekly addresses. It has become traditional that the party that does not occupy the White House also delivers a weekly address, with rotating speakers. Today’s address marks the third time since Obama was elected that Walden has delivered the Republican address.
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