- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Republicans countered President Obama’s threat of unilateral action Tuesday night with a less combative speech by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers that expressed disappointment the White House’s initiatives have failed to bring about an economic rebound.

“The most important moments right now aren’t happening here. They’re not in the Oval Office or in the House Chamber. They’re in your homes. Kissing your kids goodnight. Figuring out how to pay the bills. Getting ready for tomorrow’s doctor’s visit,” said the Washington Republican, who was tapped to give the official GOP response.

In remarks billed as a “more hopeful Republican vision,” she said Republicans and Mr. Obama agree on the broad goal of helping Americans get a better life, but said they part ways on how to get there.

She countered Mr. Obama’s claim of growing income inequality by saying that misses the the real problem — “one of opportunity inequality.”

“Last month, more Americans stopped looking for a job than found one. Too many people are falling further and further behind because, right now, the president’s policies are making people’s lives harder,” she said. “Republicans have plans to close the gap.”

She took a quick swipe at Mr. Obama’s health law and said the House will chart its own course on immigration reform, but in general she stuck to broad themes.

As the highest-ranking Republican woman in Congress, she was picked in part to fight back against Democrats’ claim that the GOP is waging a “war on women.”

Analysts said her pick was a sign that Republicans are ready to engage in the kind of identity politics Democrats have used against the GOP, arguing the party is out of touch.

In her speech she highlighted her own life story as a girl who grew up showing animals at 4H, and became the first in her family to graduate from college.

She also talked about her three children and in particular her oldest, six-year-old Cole, who was diagnosed with Down syndrome.

She said that while doctors had warned of all the potential problems they would face, “when we looked at our son, we saw only possibilities.”

Hours before the speech, her office posted a photo to Instagram of her three children, who she went home to eat dinner with before returning to the Capitol for the speeches.

The dueling speeches came just hours after House Republicans passed a bill making permanent a longstanding ban on federal taxpayer funding for abortions. The bill would also prohibit those who get health subsidies under Obamacare from buying plans that fund abortions.

Democrats said the bill was a continuation of policies that have alienated many women voters from the GOP in recent years.

“It’s very disrespectful of women’s judgment,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat.

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