The region's Republican Congressional delegation was unanimous in its criticism of President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech.
A sampling of reaction follows.
From U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.: "I’m disappointed because the president missed a golden opportunity to present a serious plan to deal with the most serious problem facing our country – how to preserve Medicare by reducing out-of-control entitlement spending."
From U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn.: "In his fifth State of the Union address, President Obama underscored the importance of creating jobs and promoting economic growth, addressing the upcoming sequester, making investments in education and infrastructure, and passing comprehensive immigration reform. While most can agree these things are important, unfortunately, the president’s speech focused on what divides us as a nation, not what brings us together.
"For example, the president blames House Republicans for sequestration, when all along, it was his idea to add these arbitrary cuts as a way of bypassing a debt limit increase until after his re-election. I would still prefer spending cuts that more carefully target wasteful government spending, but we can’t afford more tax increases. The president talks about balance, but raised taxes during fiscal cliff negotiations without addressing spending. If the president won’t roll up his sleeves, sit down with Congressional leaders and work together on a solution that gets our spending addiction under control, then sequestration will go into effect.
"Just last week, the Congressional Budget Office released its budget and economic outlook report for the next decade that predicts that economic growth will stay slow this year. Worse, they predict that unemployment will remain above 7.5 percent. If this comes to pass, 2014 will mark the sixth consecutive year that unemployment has exceeded 7.5 percent—the longest period of high unemployment in the last 70 years. We can’t afford another year of record high unemployment. Simply put, America deserves better."
From U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Va.: "Tonight, the President’s speech included a lot of platitudes and proposals for lots of new programs that cost money. The President cannot pay for these new programs without new taxes on the middle class, or significant spending cuts. President Obama has said he wants neither significant spending cuts or new taxes on the middle class. It will be interesting to see his actual proposals."