WASHINGTON — Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers offered a kinder vision of Republicans who are determined to empower Americans and close the gap "between where you are and where you want to be."
Tapped to deliver the GOP response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address, McMorris Rodgers touched on the daily routines of average Americans that overshadow Washington, from kissing children goodnight to preparing for a doctor's visit, and complained that Obama's policies are making life harder.
The highest-ranking Republican woman in Congress said the GOP believes "in a government that trusts people and doesn't limit where you finish because of where you started. That is what we stand for — for an America that is every bit as compassionate as it is exceptional. Our plan is one that dreams big for everyone and turns its back on no one."
McMorris Rodgers, from eastern Washington, said that under the president's economic policies "more Americans stopped looking for a job than found one," and criticized his health care overhaul for leading to canceled insurance coverage and patients unable to see their regular doctors.
"Republicans believe health care choices should be yours, not the government's," said the five-term congresswoman from eastern Washington. "And that whether you're a boy with Down syndrome or a woman with breast cancer, you can find coverage and a doctor who will treat you."
McMorris Rodgers' son Cole, 6, has Down syndrome, and she co-founded the Congressional Down Syndrome Caucus six years ago to try to raise awareness of the difficulties that children with the syndrome face. The 44-year-old lawmaker delivered her third child just eight weeks ago.
McMorris Rodgers was not the lone GOP voice Tuesday night. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, was giving the tea party response, and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., was delivering his views.