From the inbox, various reactions to this evening's State of the Union address:
Congressman Paul Kanjorski:
Congressman Paul E. Kanjorski (PA-11) released the following statement regarding President Obama’s State of the Union address:
“Tonight, President Obama spoke openly to the American people about the struggles we face and how we can improve the lives for everyone going forward. Now is the time to work together to address the complex problems that reach way beyond the partisan bickering that has too often overwhelmed real debate on the issues. As the President said, we owe it to the American people to move forward, create more American jobs, reform Wall Street rules, control excessive spending, and turn our economy around. I very much agree.
“During the past two years, far too many Americans have personally experienced the devastating consequences of the economic crisis. Since joining Congress, my top priorities have been job creation and economic development, particularly in Northeastern Pennsylvania. During these difficult times, I agree with the President that we need to enhance and expand efforts to generate more jobs.
“The Recovery Act has preserved jobs throughout the nation, but we can, and we must, do more, much more. With my support, the House has already passed the Jobs for Main Street Act to create more jobs here at home. We must also do everything reasonably possible to turn the tide of our economy and improve the well being of every American. I am committed to doing just that. As I have continued to stress, fixing our economy will not happen overnight, but I have faith that we will emerge from these tough times stronger than ever.
“As we work to create new jobs, more jobs, and better jobs, we must also take action to change the rules of Wall Street and rein in the biggest financial institutions which caused the current crisis. As the President stressed, reforming Wall Street is essential to preventing another economic crisis like the one we just experienced. In December, with my strong support the House passed a Wall Street reform bill. This bill included my amendment to limit the risk of financial companies by preventing them from becoming ‘too big to fail.’ The President’s remarks tonight only strengthened my resolve to enact into law a common-sense financial regulatory reform bill to better protect the financial security of every American and fundamentally change the way Wall Street operates.
“Finally, the President outlined his plan to address the looming federal deficit. Because I worked with President Clinton to turn a massive deficit into a sizable budget surplus, I know we can fix this problem. To reverse the vast deficit built up in the last 8 years, we must now make tough choices. By making prudent fiscal decisions and creating a bipartisan budget task force, as the President stated, we can once again work to reduce our budget deficit, focus on national priorities, and decrease spending.”
Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz
U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz issued the following statement in response to President Obama’s State of the Union address.
“Tonight, President Obama addressed the serious challenges facing our nation and put forth a renewed call for policies that restore economic security for middle class families and American businesses. The plan the president laid out tonight will continue our efforts to rebuild our economy by jumpstarting private sector jobs and will put in place measures to reduce the federal deficit.
“I agree with the president’s call to spur job creation by making long-term investments in small businesses, clean energy jobs and transportation infrastructure and by enacting policies to boost American manufacturing by increasing exports of American products.
“For too long skyrocketing health care costs have inhibited our nation’s economic competitiveness. Rising premiums have hurt millions of American families and the uncertainty of health care costs has impacted small businesses’ hiring decisions. We made enormous progress last year on finding a uniquely American solution to ensuring that every American has access to quality, affordable health care, and I was encouraged to hear the President’s commitment to meeting this promise to the American people.
“As we continue to make progress with recovery measures enacted earlier this year, American families and businesses are still struggling and the pain of last year has not subsided. As vice chair of the House Budget Committee, I know how important it is that we address our nations’ budgetary challenges. While we must focus on reigning in spending and reducing our national deficit, we must continue to make smart investments both today and in the future that ensure America’s economic prosperity.
“The time for building a strong foundation for America’s future is now.”
Congressman Joe Sestak
"I applaud the President tonight for recognizing that in 2008, Americans voted for change, not just of parties or policies, but for a fundamental change in politics and the way we do business in Washington. As he said in his speech, 'We face a deficit of trust - deep and corrosive doubts about how Washington works that have been growing for years.' Too many in Washington have strayed from principled compromise to a compromise of principles. Too many have forgotten that it is jobs for American workers that matter, not our own. Americans should be frustrated. Now we need to prove that government can restore accountability and transparency and work for the working families by making job growth and long-term financial security our top priorities.
"To rein in deficit and debt spending while ensuring quality job creation with real income growth, we must pass a job creation plan that
* strengthens small business hiring,
* invests in new and emerging industries like alternative energy,
* closes tax loopholes that ship jobs overseas,
* implements job share programs,
* saves jobs by closing state budget deficits, and
* ensures consumer confidence by providing relief to job seekers.
"To restore faith in our public officials and institutions, Congress and the President should work together to implement a statutory "pay-as-you-go" (PAYGO) rule that requires an offset for all new government spending and expand PAYGO to cover all spending-both mandatory and discretionary - and to end the earmark system by gradually replacing it with an objective, competitive grants process that removes political influence.
"President Obama delivered the right message with the right tone. Now results must happen to ensure accountability for what has been said."
Just to be different, we'll end with Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, chair of the Democratic Governor's Association:
DGA Chair Gov. Jack Markell of Delaware issued the following statement in support of the President’s State of the Union address tonight:
“The President spoke directly to Americans families tonight about the issues that matter most in their daily lives. Better jobs, access to a great education and a more cost-effective government are the priorities we must have and the promises we must keep.
Democratic governors will work with the President to create and save jobs and hope others will not work to derail his agenda simply to score political points. Our states’ citizens are clamoring for leaders who will come together around the best solutions – not partisan bickering.
We will tap into the historic optimism and boundless talent that have always solved our nation’s problems and oppose appeals to fear and division meant to stop our economic progress. We will build a strong foundation to move our economy forward, and reject efforts to plot a course back to the failed policies that caused this long recession.
As Governors who live and work outside the D.C. Beltway, we meet families every day who are coping with lost jobs or rising health care costs. We hear from parents who want to make sure their children are ready to compete with and win against students anywhere in the world. We fight each day to make our governments more efficient, effective, responsive and responsible. The President has clearly heard them as well.
In trying times like these, Americans rise to meet our challenges together. The President called on all of us to respond as one, and we will. We look forward to working with the President to lay the new foundation for prosperity.”