Murkowski’s Response to President Biden’s Address

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) tonight released the following statement after President Joe Biden delivered his first address before a joint session of Congress:

“This evening, President Biden formally spoke to Congress for the first time. It was an opportunity for the President to lay out his administration’s priorities and his vision to support the nation’s continued recovery from the COVID pandemic. 

“The pandemic has taken an unprecedented toll on our country. Alaskans understand that better than most right now as we reel from a 32 percent revenue loss last year – 10 percent more than any other state – and face another lost tourism season. We all share in a strong desire to return to some level of normalcy and get our economy back on track. I am working hard to make that happen.

“We continue to make significant progress in getting Americans vaccinated. But there needs to be recognition of the success of Operation Warp Speed created under the previous administration and their work on a vaccine development and distribution strategy in the first place. I am pleased to see the Biden administration continue prioritizing vaccine distribution and production and build upon that success of the Trump administration.

“We know that Americans need relief from the impacts of the COVID pandemic, and Congress delivered on that five separate times in a strong, bipartisan fashion over the last year. However, the American Rescue Plan which the Biden administration touts as “relief,” not only lacked consensus, it shouldn’t have been dubbed a COVID relief bill at all. While there were positive provisions, those were outweighed by the scope and timing of the bill—with billions of unspent dollars from an earlier relief bill unallocated.

“Now President Biden is continuing this unprecedented spending spree by proposing another $4 trillion for a Jobs and Families plan. Rather than touting ways to create new industries, I want to see the President reverse decisions he has made that cost good-paying jobs and the families they support in Alaska. 

“The Biden administration has an opportunity to help our oil and gas industry by getting the Willow project back on track. We are ready to welcome visitors this summer and simply awaiting approval from the CDC to get cruise ships back in the water. And it would be devastating if Alaska forgoes a strong salmon run because the visas are not in place to ensure a fully staffed workforce.

“There are many areas where I know we can reach agreement, particularly renewable energy and aging infrastructure. Our nation has too much at stake for us not to work together, and I am asking the President to ensure his team is working to resolve the issues that are right in front of us.

“As I sat and listened to the remarks tonight, I’m left with a strong concern at the lack of bipartisanship shown in the first 100 days. I call on President Biden to follow through on his inaugural promise to work in a bipartisan manner, and to spend the next 100 days working to build consensus across the aisle. That is the only way to truly bring people together, make progress for the betterment of our nation, and craft enduring solutions for generations to come.”