PA delegates react to Obama’s jobs speech

September 9, 2011
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Early Returns Blog

President Barack Obama’s jobs proposal last night was either fantastic or terrible, depending on who you ask.  After the speech, the Post-Gazette caught up with a few of the Commonwealth’s delegates to do just that:
Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa.

“As a member of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, charged with finding at least $1.2 trillion in deficits reduction, I was disappointed with President Obama’s speech,” Sen. Toomey said. “Right now, we need to be focused on the joint goals of reducing our deficits and creating jobs, but tonight I heard the president call for hundreds of billions of dollars in increased spending. President Obama has tried massive stimulus spending and it hasn’t work; most of tonight’s speech appears to be more of the same.”

“Furthermore, the president claimed that everything in his bill is paid for, but instead of specifying how he intends to pay for his proposals, he attempted to pass the buck to the Select Committee. The Select Committee has a short period of time to tackle our overspending and deficit problems, and the bulk of the president’s proposals tonight would move us in the wrong direction.

Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Butler

“Listen, I don’t think this is a hard thing to figure out. You want businesses to grow and prosper, you’ve got to make it easier for them to do that. You cant overtax them an overregulate them and expect them to respond. We’ve gone beyond what makes sense at ana level now. Look, back off, you’ve made it too hard for people who have to use their own energy their own revenue and their own sweat.”

Rep. Jason Altmire, D-McCandless

“The president gives a nice speech, but now its time for us to act. He says its paid fo, we’ll see what he means by that, because it has to be paid for to have a chance to pass … In Western Pennsylvania, our infrastructure is crumbling. To have Obama talk about that, we’re in a position to benefit from this more than anywhere else.”

Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-Centre

“‘Mixed reviews’ would be how I’d categorize the speech. There were some positives, I thought the strong endorsement he made for needing to make some changes to Medicare and Medicade in order to save them was a strong message that we need to get behind in a bipartisan way. I thought his endorsement of the free trade agreements would be particularly good for Pennsylvania. It would be good for our agriculture, there would be a lot of additional mouths to feed in other countries.”

Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Forest Hills

“I don’t see any reason why a Republican or Democrat can’t pass this plan. The American people don’t care who’s plan it is, they just want to see action … Any member of congress who doesn’t vote for the bill, people have a right to question whether theyre playing party politics. Will it pass? I’m going to take the optimistic approach.”

Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair

“The health of our nation’s economy touches every American – from the retiree who is stretching his Social Security check to cover the rising price of groceries to the recent college graduate searching for a career. Every American family is in this together.

The policies the President and Congress put forth set the stage for either private sector job growth or private sector job loss. Tonight, the President continued to offer this same agenda that hasn’t created jobs and has left us with unemployment over nine percent. Our stagnant economy is reflective of the same old plan of borrowing money from overseas to grow government jobs. Borrow-and-spend is a failed economic policy that leads to job loss.

The truth is neither the President nor Congress can mandate job growth but we can work together on moving policies to reinvigorate our manufacturing base, maximize production of our bountiful domestic energy resources, and simplify our tax code so businesses stay and grow here in America, not overseas.

We can grow our economy without borrowing, raising taxes, or growing regulations in Washington. We can focus on jobs that earn tax revenue instead of jobs that cost taxpayers. But in the coming days, action will speak louder than words. The President and Congress must come together to enact policies that unleash American ingenuity, give the private sector an opportunity to succeed, and help 25 million unemployed and underemployed Americans get back to work.”