Iowa delegation reacts to Obama speech

Read the statements issued by Iowa’s congressional delegation after President Obama’s “Jobs” speech:

Senator Chuck Grassley tonight released the following statement after the President’s speech before a Joint Session of Congress. 

“What the President’s saying is more of the same, especially with what was in the stimulus bill.  That massive government spending bill passed two years ago, right after the President took office, and was touted by the administration as a way to keep unemployment below eight percent, which it hasn’t by a long shot.  When we’ve tested something like that, and it failed, we need to try something new.  That something new would be to remove the tremendous anxiety that Congress, the President and Washington lately are creating for employers throughout America, in businesses small and big.   Employers don’t know what’s coming next in the way of regulations and higher taxes.  As a result, they’re understandably reluctant to spend the trillion dollars that’s now sitting in corporate treasuries.  The cash flow of small businesses needs to be protected, or they can’t hire anybody new.  We’ve got to free up that corporate money and the entrepreneurial spirit to create economic activity and jobs. 

“The best way for Congress and the President to lessen that anxiety is to make a serious effort to get rid of duplicative, outdated regulations and really consider the economic impact of forthcoming regulations before reflexively moving them forward, as in the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed dust regulation, which doesn’t reflect an understanding of farming and the economic impact on rural communities; to make sure the biggest tax increase in the history of the country, which everyone knows is coming on December 31, 2012, doesn’t happen; and to get under control the excessive government spending that’s tripled the national debt over the last two years.  I’m willing to work with the President to make things happen, but that doesn’t mean more of the same.  In the end, the President inherited a very bad economic situation, but by any measure of the economy, including inflation or unemployment or deficit spending, his policies and programs have made it worse.  We want the President to see that what he’s tried hasn’t worked and for him to work with Congress to get the economy turned around.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) tonight issued the following statement after President Obama addressed Congress on the need to put America back to work.  Harkin is Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee and the Appropriations subcommittee that funds education and labor initiatives.  He has fought to prevent massive layoffs of American teachers and is leading the effort in Congress to rebuild the middle class in America. 

“Traveling in Iowa this summer it was abundantly clear that the number one issue impacting Americans is not the budget deficit, but a far more urgent deficit: the jobs deficit.  By all means, we need to agree on necessary spending cuts and tax increases to bring deficits under control in the longer term.  But in the short term, we need a robust federal agenda to boost the economy and create jobs. 

“I am encouraged that the President’s proposal goes to the heart of that effort by investing in the jobs that sustain a strong middle class.  In particular, new funding he proposed for educator jobs will keep teachers in the classrooms.  This echoes a bill that I pushed through Congress last year to provide $10 billion to keep teachers on the job in the face of deep cuts to state budgets.
“The President’s call to renovate our schools is a win-win for our economy and for our children.  Kids cannot be expected to reach their full potential if the school they attend is crumbling around them.  And my experience in Iowa in providing funding to renovate our schools shows that every dollar in federal funds that is provided for school construction leverages an additional four dollars in funding from other sources, creating jobs and economic growth. 

“And I was pleased to see he proposed ramping up federal investments in infrastructure to boost U.S. competitiveness and create construction jobs.  As the American Society of Civil Engineers estimates, America faces a $2.2 trillion infrastructure backlog and they are correct to say that “we are still driving on Eisenhower’s roads and sending our kids to Roosevelt’s schools.”  His proposal also offers assistance so that the long-term unemployed can support their families while they continue to look for work. 

“As we move forward, we must also address the fact that two-thirds of adults with disabilities are not working. In the HELP Committee, I intend to continue to hold hearings on the best way to address this issue.

“Now that this proposal has been unveiled, I encourage the President to use the bully pulpit and fight to get it passed.  Where necessary, draw a sharp contrast to those who offer only obstruction and do-nothingism.  It’s time to break up the gridlock in Washington and put America back to work.  The future of our middle class – and our economy – depends on it.”

Washington, DC – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) released the following statement tonight after President Obama addressed a joint session of Congress on job creation:

“I hope tonight’s speech helps refocus the debate in Washington right where it needs to be: on creating jobs and growing the economy.

“Ideas like extending the payroll tax cut for middle class families and investments in roads and highways should attract support from Republicans and Democrats.

“I’m proud that tonight, Jan Heister of Peosta, Iowa and owner of Premier Tool, joined First Lady Michelle Obama during the speech.  In February 2010, I introduced the Back to Work Act, which provides tax incentives to businesses to hire unemployed workers and my provisions passed into law in March 2010. Since that time, over 100,000 Iowans were hired using this tax incentive, and some of these workers were hired at Jan’s company, Premier Tool. I visited Premier Tool in January 2011 and I was so proud to talk to Jan and some of the workers hired through my Back to Work Act. I’m glad the President has also recognized the good work done at Premier Tool, and invited Jan to attend tonight.

“Focusing on strengthening the middle class – what makes America great – is exactly what we need to be doing to get our economy back on track.  Now, it’s time Congress gets to work on these ideas so Iowans can get back to work.”

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack released the following statement after the President’s address to a Joint Session of Congress on his job creation plans.

“Growing our economy and creating jobs should have been the number one priority since the economic downturn began. After multiple displays of ugly political posturing, Washington must finally listen to what Iowans have been telling me for a long time, we need to work together to find commonsense solutions to ensure good jobs are available. 

“Now that we have heard from the President, the real work begins.   What is most important now are the actions Washington takes to put Iowans and our economy ahead of partisan politics and actually work together to boost jobs.”

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Leonard Boswell released the following statement after President Obama’s address tonight.

“I applaud the President for urging the House and Senate leadership to get proactive about putting Americans back to work and rebuilding our economy,” Boswell said. “Washington needs to get its priorities straight and focus on how to spur hiring and create an environment that fosters job growth, instead of continuing the firestorm of empty rhetoric and political pandering. I am hopeful that the President’s speech will refocus lawmakers on what really matters – jobs.”

“In order to invest in job creation, Washington must get on the same page as the rest of America and stop putting corporations and special interests above everyday workers and small businesses. It is clear to most Americans that oil companies are doing just fine without the taxpayer’s help. It is clear to most Americans that Bill Gates and Warren Buffet can afford to pay the same percentage of payroll taxes that their own secretaries pay. It is clear to most Americans that our nation will never recover if the federal government keeps offering tax breaks to companies that outsource U.S. jobs. Let’s redirect the taxpayer dollars that fund these luxury handouts and corporate incentives to put Iowans back to work, repair our roads and bridges, update our public buildings, and get Americans making things again. I look forward to the hard work ahead.”

(WASHINGTON, DC) – Iowa Congressman Tom Latham released the following statement in response to President Barack Obama’s speech to a joint session of Congress this evening:

“There is one thing that all Americans can agree upon tonight; that too many of our neighbors continue to struggle with unemployment, grim economic news, and anxiety about the future due to the worst economic downturn in a generation.”

“The situation is dire, and the American people rightfully expect leaders in Washington to put people before politics and progress before partisanship to change the way Washington works and the work that Washington does to restore the confidence in the American Dream, the outlook on jobs and in our economy.”

“The simple truth is that we must do better as a Congress and as a government to work together to find real solutions to these problems.  Our nation’s history has proven time and again that when Americans set aside our partisan differences and work together towards common sense solutions we can achieve great things. I am, as I have always been during my service to Iowans, committed and ready to work with anyone, regardless of political affiliation, who is willing to join me to move our country forward and once again give the American people the peace of mind of long-term economic security.”

Washington, D.C.- Congressman Steve King (R-IA) releases the following video statement providing his reaction to President Obama’s speech to the Joint Session of Congress:

“The President has given his jobs proposal speech tonight, and put a series of things into the speech, none of which had a price tag on that I could see. And he asked us to figure out how to pay for all of that in the Super Committee that will be meeting in October. I think the President has made a lot of proposals; I’d like to hear him make a proposal on how he is going to do what he said he was going to do which is reduce our deficit and pay down our national debt.”

“I think given the proposal of spending some number that approaches another trillion dollars makes it impossible to pay down our national debt. We first have to balance the budget. The best thing he could have done would be call for a balanced budget amendment, instead he called for a lot more spending and he called for us to figure out how to pay for it. And he told us this is all paid for; well it is if we figure out how to do that here in Congress.”

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.