By Tony Romm - 01/30/10 02:24 PM EST
Reaction to President Barack Obama's first State of the Union address is sure to dominate this weekend's Sunday talk shows, as lawmakers prepare to act on many of the policy prescriptions the president outlined Wednesday night.
Democrats have heralded Obama's speech this week as the perfect energizer ahead of what is sure to be a series of hard-fought battles over healthcare reform and job creation. But Republicans have largely lambasted the address as too partisan, especially at a time when political divisions have created serious policy impasses in the House and Senate.
Later in the show, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell will offer his thoughts about the president's re-tooled agenda. McConnell has long been a critic of the president's approach to both healthcare reform and economic recovery, and he is likely to repeat many of his objections this weekend.
A similar debate will play out on NBC's "Meet the Press." Separately, White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod and House GOP Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) will sit down with host David Gregory to reflect on the president's first year in office and offer predictions for what might happen in 2010.
Boehner's appearance is particularly noteworthy, as it follows the conclusion of the House Republican Conference's annual policy gathering this weekend.
The president joined the GOP caucus in Baltimore on Friday for a televised policy discussion, during which he took questions from Republican lawmakers. The debate periodically grew tense, reflecting heightened partisan divisions in Washington, though Boehner expressed hope after the event concluded that both sides could cooperate more in the coming months.
Also taking center stage on Sunday: Sen.-elect Scott Brown (R-Mass.), who will join Barbara Walters on ABC's "This Week."
Brown, as Senate Republicans' 41st vote, has jeopardized Democrats' plans to pass a healthcare reform bill in its current state. However, it remains unclear how much he will support his own party on other important bills pending action in the Senate.
Meanwhile, "Fox News Sunday" will feature a panel of lawmakers from both parties: Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn), Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind), Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.). The debate there is likely to center around the budget, one of the key areas of Obama's State of the Union speech.
The president announced Wednesday he would propose a cap on all non-defense discretionary spending over the next three years, and he promised to create a bipartisan debt-reduction panel in the coming weeks. Both ideas have produced mixed reactions among lawmakers -- especially those scheduled to appear on Fox this Sunday -- as many in both parties disagree on whether the measures are excessive or insufficient.
The budget debate might also dominate CBS's "Face the Nation." There, Govs. Haley Barbour (R-Miss.), Ed Rendell (D-Pa.) and Jennifer Granholm (D-Mich.) will likely discuss the effects of the economic downturn on their respective states' finances -- and, additionally, how healthcare reform could factor into that equation. Sen. John Thune (S.D.), one of the Republican Party's rising stars, will also join the panel.