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Americans don't need a pen and a phone, we need a job and a paycheck

By Greg Walden
updated 1:22 PM EST, Tue January 28, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Rep. Greg Walden says Americans need jobs, not empty words
  • Walden: Obamacare is not going away as a political issue
  • Walden: The Republican House is the only check and balance on an unpopular president

Editor's note: Rep. Greg Walden, R-Oregon, is chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. He will be a guest on Crossfire tonight at 6:30 p.m. ET. You can follow him on Twitter @repgregwalden. CNN's live, comprehensive coverage of President Barack Obama's State of the Union address starts at 7 p.m. ET Tuesday. Go to CNN.com for complete coverage or take it with you on your iPhone, iPad or Android.

(CNN) -- A pen and a phone may not seem too dangerous, but in the hands of President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats, they have proven to be devastating.

Just four years ago, when Democrats controlled Congress, Obama called then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and turned over our country's health care policy to the Democrats. And then with his pen, he signed one of the most damaging pieces of health care legislation into law.

Rep. Greg Walden
Rep. Greg Walden

Obama has promised us he'll use that pen and phone again to unilaterally drive his job-destroying agenda -- and he's expected to repeat that promise in Tuesday night's State of the Union.

And for every American family that is being crushed by the President's failed economy and his disastrous health care law, the stakes couldn't be higher.

State of GOP: Misguided and obsessed

As we enter the election year, it's clear that the Republican House is the only remaining check and balance on an increasingly unpopular president and an increasingly unpopular government health care system. No matter how many times Obama unilaterally decides to delay certain parts of Obamacare, the fact remains that the law is not working and will only get worse with time.

The climate has become so toxic for Democrats that Reps. Jim Matheson and Mike McIntyre -- two of the most vulnerable Democrats in the country -- recently announced their retirements, taking two seats completely off the board for House Democrats. Remember, Matheson held the most Republican district of any House Democrat in the country and McIntyre's district wasn't far behind.

Crunch time for President Obama
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Obama, the pain and fear must be named

These aren't the only tragic blows for House Democrats. Bill Owens from New York recently announced his retirement too, leaving open a district in which Republicans are in a solid position to win. And one of their prized recruits, Pete Festersen in Nebraska, dropped out of his race just weeks after announcing. Seems the toll of Obamacare and Obama's anemic approval ratings are proving insurmountable for both incumbents and candidates.

This year's State of the Union is a defining test for Obama

In contrast, Republicans have had a string of recruitment successes. Our pickup opportunities are all over the country, from California to New Hampshire. We have top-tier candidates like Air Force veteran Martha McSally in Arizona, son of Cuban exiles Carlos Curbelo in Florida, and former Democrat Evan Jenkins in West Virginia -- who was so tired of Obama's "war on coal" that he switched parties to challenge vulnerable Democrat Nick Rahall -- just to name a few.

Obamacare is not going away as a political issue. The failures we've seen so far are just the beginning, and the consequences aren't just political.

Bottom line, the American people don't need a pen and a phone. What they really need is a job and a paycheck.

7 things you didn't know you didn't know about the State of the Union

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook.com/CNNOpinion.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Greg Walden.

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