State of the Union: The View from Queens

Welcome to Politics Bites, where every afternoon at It's a Free Country, we bring you the unmissable quotes from the morning's political conversations on WNYC. Today on The Brian Lehrer Show, Gregory Meeks, U.S. Congressman from New York's 6th Congressional District in southeast Queens, gave his reaction to the State of the Union address.

Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY6) thinks that both parties ought to embrace the President’s agenda proposals for infrastructure projects.

There were some items that Democrats did not like, that showed that there was going to be pain for them, and likewise some for Republicans, and I think that we've got to move.

But he said that it is obvious that there are cuts that must be made and acknowledged that some will hurt. Meeks said the hard work will start next week when President Obama releases his draft budget, when lawmakers really start talking about just where to make those cuts.  

That’s where you do get into the weeds. That’s where the rubber hits the road. That’s where, as a legislator, our work really begins. And that’s where the debate and the negotiations really begin.

The mention the President made to future cuts to Medicaid and Medicare were fair, he said, because he said everything has to be on the table in negotiating the coming budget. 

We got to make sure everyone feels a little of the pain, so that – I’ve got an eleven year old daughter – so that we feel that their future is secure, and we’ve got to be adults, and we’ve got to make some hard decisions here.

Meeks also talked about his seating buddy during the State of the Union: Rep. Michael Grimm, New York City's only Republican house member. Meeks said the two found common ground on city export policy and city taxes, and even found commonalities in their constituencies.

He and I were able to have some sidebar conversations... We were able to say, look, we both represent the city of New York, so let’s focus on those things we agree upon which benefit the city.