Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Americans don't need a pen and a phone, we need a job and a paycheck

By Greg Walden
January 28, 2014 -- Updated 1822 GMT (0222 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Rep. Greg Walden says Americans need jobs, not empty words
  • Walden: Obamacare is not going away as a political issue
  • Walden: The Republican House is the only check and balance on an unpopular president

Editor's note: Rep. Greg Walden, R-Oregon, is chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. He will be a guest on Crossfire tonight at 6:30 p.m. ET. You can follow him on Twitter @repgregwalden. CNN's live, comprehensive coverage of President Barack Obama's State of the Union address starts at 7 p.m. ET Tuesday. Go to CNN.com for complete coverage or take it with you on your iPhone, iPad or Android.

(CNN) -- A pen and a phone may not seem too dangerous, but in the hands of President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats, they have proven to be devastating.

Just four years ago, when Democrats controlled Congress, Obama called then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and turned over our country's health care policy to the Democrats. And then with his pen, he signed one of the most damaging pieces of health care legislation into law.

Rep. Greg Walden
Rep. Greg Walden

Obama has promised us he'll use that pen and phone again to unilaterally drive his job-destroying agenda -- and he's expected to repeat that promise in Tuesday night's State of the Union.

And for every American family that is being crushed by the President's failed economy and his disastrous health care law, the stakes couldn't be higher.

State of GOP: Misguided and obsessed

As we enter the election year, it's clear that the Republican House is the only remaining check and balance on an increasingly unpopular president and an increasingly unpopular government health care system. No matter how many times Obama unilaterally decides to delay certain parts of Obamacare, the fact remains that the law is not working and will only get worse with time.

The climate has become so toxic for Democrats that Reps. Jim Matheson and Mike McIntyre -- two of the most vulnerable Democrats in the country -- recently announced their retirements, taking two seats completely off the board for House Democrats. Remember, Matheson held the most Republican district of any House Democrat in the country and McIntyre's district wasn't far behind.

Crunch time for President Obama
Manchin: Hope Obama's focus on economy
President promises 'year of action'

Obama, the pain and fear must be named

These aren't the only tragic blows for House Democrats. Bill Owens from New York recently announced his retirement too, leaving open a district in which Republicans are in a solid position to win. And one of their prized recruits, Pete Festersen in Nebraska, dropped out of his race just weeks after announcing. Seems the toll of Obamacare and Obama's anemic approval ratings are proving insurmountable for both incumbents and candidates.

This year's State of the Union is a defining test for Obama

In contrast, Republicans have had a string of recruitment successes. Our pickup opportunities are all over the country, from California to New Hampshire. We have top-tier candidates like Air Force veteran Martha McSally in Arizona, son of Cuban exiles Carlos Curbelo in Florida, and former Democrat Evan Jenkins in West Virginia -- who was so tired of Obama's "war on coal" that he switched parties to challenge vulnerable Democrat Nick Rahall -- just to name a few.

Obamacare is not going away as a political issue. The failures we've seen so far are just the beginning, and the consequences aren't just political.

Bottom line, the American people don't need a pen and a phone. What they really need is a job and a paycheck.

7 things you didn't know you didn't know about the State of the Union

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook.com/CNNOpinion.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Greg Walden.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 2311 GMT (0711 HKT)
President Obama has been flexing his executive muscles lately despite Democrat's losses, writes Gloria Borger
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 1951 GMT (0351 HKT)
Jeff Yang says the film industry's surrender will have lasting implications.
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 2113 GMT (0513 HKT)
Newt Gingrich: No one should underestimate the historic importance of the collapse of American defenses in the Sony Pictures attack.
December 10, 2014 -- Updated 1255 GMT (2055 HKT)
Dean Obeidallah asks how the genuine Stephen Colbert will do, compared to "Stephen Colbert"
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 1734 GMT (0134 HKT)
Some GOP politicians want drug tests for welfare recipients; Eric Liu says bailed-out execs should get equal treatment
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 1342 GMT (2142 HKT)
Louis Perez: Obama introduced a long-absent element of lucidity into U.S. policy on Cuba.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 1740 GMT (0140 HKT)
The slaughter of more than 130 children by the Pakistani Taliban may prove as pivotal to Pakistan's security policy as the 9/11 attacks were for the U.S., says Peter Bergen.
December 17, 2014 -- Updated 1600 GMT (0000 HKT)
The Internet is an online extension of our own neighborhoods. It's time for us to take their protection just as seriously, says Arun Vishwanath.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 2154 GMT (0554 HKT)
Gayle Lemmon says we must speak out for the right of children to education -- and peace
December 17, 2014 -- Updated 1023 GMT (1823 HKT)
Russia's economic woes just seem to be getting worse. How will President Vladimir Putin respond? Frida Ghitis gives her take.
December 17, 2014 -- Updated 0639 GMT (1439 HKT)
Australia has generally seen itself as detached from the threat of terrorism. The hostage incident this week may change that, writes Max Barry.
December 12, 2014 -- Updated 2020 GMT (0420 HKT)
Thomas Maier says the trove of letters the Kennedy family has tried to guard from public view gives insight into the Kennedy legacy and the history of era.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1456 GMT (2256 HKT)
Will Congress reform the CIA? It's probably best not to expect much from Washington. This is not the 1970s, and the chances for substantive reform are not good.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 2101 GMT (0501 HKT)
From superstorms to droughts, not a week goes by without a major disruption somewhere in the U.S. But with the right planning, natural disasters don't have to be devastating.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1453 GMT (2253 HKT)
Would you rather be sexy or smart? Carol Costello says she hates this dumb question.
December 14, 2014 -- Updated 2253 GMT (0653 HKT)
A story about Pope Francis allegedly saying animals can go to heaven went viral late last week. The problem is that it wasn't true. Heidi Schlumpf looks at the discussion.
December 14, 2014 -- Updated 1550 GMT (2350 HKT)
Democratic leaders should wake up to the reality that the party's path to electoral power runs through the streets, where part of the party's base has been marching for months, says Errol Louis
December 13, 2014 -- Updated 2123 GMT (0523 HKT)
David Gergen: John Brennan deserves a national salute for his efforts to put the report about the CIA in perspective
December 12, 2014 -- Updated 1426 GMT (2226 HKT)
Anwar Sanders says that in some ways, cops and protesters are on the same side
December 11, 2014 -- Updated 1439 GMT (2239 HKT)
A view by Samir Naji, a Yemeni who was accused of serving in Osama bin Laden's security detail and imprisoned for nearly 13 years without charge in Guantanamo Bay
December 14, 2014 -- Updated 1738 GMT (0138 HKT)
S.E. Cupp asks: How much reality do you really want in your escapist TV fare?
December 11, 2014 -- Updated 1828 GMT (0228 HKT)
Rip Rapson says the city's 'Grand Bargain' saved pensions and a world class art collection by pulling varied stakeholders together, setting civic priorities and thinking outside the box
December 13, 2014 -- Updated 2310 GMT (0710 HKT)
Glenn Schwartz says the airing of the company's embarrassing emails might wake us up to the usefulness of talking in-person instead of electronically
December 12, 2014 -- Updated 2233 GMT (0633 HKT)
The computer glitch that disrupted air traffic over the U.K. on Friday was a nuisance, but not dangerous, says Les Abend
ADVERTISEMENT