WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers will give the Republican response to the State of the Union address next Tuesday, the first time during President Obama’s term that a woman will deliver the GOP rebuttal.
McMorris Rodgers, 44, of Spokane, is a stalwart social and fiscal conservative who chairs the House Republican Conference, making her that chamber’s No. 4 leader and the highest-ranking Republican woman in Congress.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner announced the pick Thursday. McConnell said in a statement that McMorris Rodgers was an excellent choice who will “share an alternative approach to the President’s plans to grow an already enormous federal bureaucracy.”
McMorris Rodgers has been a vocal critic of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Along with most Republicans, she has voted repeatedly to defund or repeal the law. She sided with the Republican majority in opposing a “clean” spending bill — one without provisions to block Obamacare — a stance that helped lead to the federal government shutdown in October.
McMorris Rodgers, who graduated from a Christian college in Florida, has a distinctive personal story. She has given birth three times since arriving in Congress in 2005. Her first child, Cole, has Down syndrome.
“Through the lens of her family’s experiences, Cathy will share our vision for a better America built on a thriving middle class,” Boehner said.
McMorris Rodgers, according to her staff, plans to focus on “how the Republican party cares about all Americans” and use her biography as proof that “she’s living the American dream herself.”
McMorris Rodgers is the third member of Congress to deliver the GOP address in four years. She follows Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who gave the response last year. Former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels spoke in 2012 and Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin the year before that.