President Donald Trump issued his State of the Union address to a divided Congress on Tuesday, speaking on a wide range of issues, including border security, the economy, trade, abortion, defense and the need for unity.
“I stand ready to work with you to achieve historic breakthroughs for all Americans,” Trump said in the beginning of his nationally televised address. “We must reject the politics of revenge and embrace the boundless potential of cooperation, compromise and the common good,” because together the country can break decades of political stalemate and forge new solutions to America’s future.
“The decision is ours to make,” Trump said — and freshman Rep. Katie Hill, D-Agua Dulce, said after the speech that she agreed with that sentiment.
“I like the sense of it and I agree it’s ours to make,” Hill said after the president’s speech. “I didn’t like that he immediately followed that with the only thing getting in our way is investigations. That’s a dangerous, dangerous thing to say, especially from where I‘m sitting (on the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform). These investigations are crucial to our national security, and that’s no exaggeration.”
Hill added that she was one of the participants who were chanting in the House chamber, though she was chanting in support of there being the most women in session in congressional history —and not necessarily in support of the president’s statements.
Some chants of “USA, USA, USA,” rang out from the crowd during the speech shortly after Trump spoke about the millions of people who are currently at work and America’s strong economy — which he said has been boosted by the recent tax cut.
Prior to Tuesday night’s address, Hill shared the story of her guest to the State of the Union — Chrissy Lewis — and why it was important to highlight her story.
While Lewis was forced to work without pay during the longest government shutdown in the nation’s history, Hill said she was able to get to know the air traffic controller and learn how the shutdown threatened her family’s livelihood and well-being.
Hill added during Tuesday night’s phone call that the onus is on both sides to work out a deal that would prevent a similar shutdown situation from happening again.
“It was encouraging that the president didn’t say anything about a shutdown tonight,” Hill said before touching on Trump’s immigration-related parts of the address.
The president guaranteed during his speech that he will build a wall on the nation’s southern border, which was a discussion point that kept Democrats and Republicans from reaching a deal during the previous 35-day government shutdown.
However, the local representative of the 25th Congressional District said she is hopeful that the semantics of border security won’t be a problem this time around.
“It’s so interesting that he brought up the fact that he’s going to build a wall with different types of smart technology,” Hill said, adding, “That’s not his wall. He was giving himself the room to walk it back or call whatever this ends up being a wall.”
Democrats are going to have to say it isn’t a wall, Hill said, “and again, it’ll be a great mystery about whether it’s a wall or not.”
“Frankly, it’ll probably be a deal that both sides will be unhappy with in the end,” Hill said. “That’s how compromise works. That’s something that we’re going to have to recognize. The vote that is undertaken is one that’ll be tough for a lot of people.”
Hill noted that Trump said during the State of the Union that he wishes to see the largest number of immigrants come into the country, but they must do so legally.
Hill said this was a discussion she had with many local residents — both conservative and liberal — while on the campaign trail, and there was a pretty overwhelming consensus that everybody wants the same.
“However, the Trump administration has made it so legal immigration is virtually impossible,” Hill said. “So, some of his actions have been contradicted, but if Trump means it, then let’s do it.”