Utah’s Mike Lee to give tea party response to State of the Union
Published: January 21, 2014 07:18PM
Updated: January 21, 2014 07:20PM
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Sen. Mike Lee • R-Utah

Washington • After President Barack Obama gives his annual State of the Union address to Congress next Tuesday, Sen. Mike Lee will get the national spotlight, offering the tea party response from the National Press Club.

Lee, R-Utah, is expected to speak after the official Republican reaction.

“For the Tea Party movement, 2014 is not just about taking back the Senate, but it is also about putting forward conservative ideas that will allow for America to prosper,” said Amy Kremer, the chairwoman of the Tea Party Express, an umbrella group for the conservative movement. “Senator Mike Lee has been both a tea-party hero for supporters across the nation, and a conservative leader in the upper chamber. He has introduced tangible policy solutions to some of America’s biggest problems.”

Lee faced criticism last year for his steadfast support of Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and the effort to tie the federal budget to killing funding for the Affordable Care Act, a move that resulted in a 16-day government shutdown. Since then, Lee has been trying to offer an alternative version of how the government should approach various subjects from poverty to spending.

Lee’s speech may be carried by some networks after Obama’s address and the Republican response — CNN carried the tea party address last year while others opted against it — but it also will be streamed at teapartyexpress.org.

Lee, R-Utah, follows in the steps of Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who gave last year’s tea party reaction, former Godfather Pizza CEO Herman Cain’s 2012 speech and Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., who offered the first such response in 2011.

tburr@sltrib.com