President Obama’s Jobs Speech: Local Leaders React
Friday, September 09, 2011
President Obama’s jobs speech was met with unanimous support among Rhode Island’s Congressional Delegation, but that’s not to say it won’t mean difficult votes are on the horizon for the four Democrats.
According to Obama, the American Jobs Act, which includes ideas that have been supported by both Democrats and Republicans over the past decade, would create employment opportunities for thousands of Americans by offering tax cuts to small businesses, strengthening the nation’s infrastructure and modernizing schools. The President claims his plan would be “fully paid for.”
GoLocalProv has the complete breakdown of what each member of the Delegation thought of last night’s speech, as well as the state Republican reaction from GOP Executive Director Patrick Sweeney.
Senator Jack Reed
“Tonight the President laid out a clear, plausible, and paid-for plan to prevent even tougher times and spur job growth. Too many Americans are out of work or underemployed. Congress must work together to turn the best ideas from the President's speech and other ideas into action. The President's plan to cut taxes for the middle-class and put more Americans to work rebuilding our roads, bridges, and schools will help.
I am pleased he included my work sharing plan to prevent layoffs and help businesses of all sizes succeed. Work share is a voluntary employer program that helps firms retain workers by reducing employees' weekly hours in¬stead of laying them off. Congress must pass such measures to fully restore consumer confidence and clean up this economic mess. Republicans will need to finally show a willingness to support policies that are growth oriented and help get the country back on track.”
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
“Tonight, President Obama outlined a much-needed plan to spur job growth in America. I was especially pleased to hear the President call for tax incentives for businesses that hire, which is something I’ve been fighting for. I’ve heard from Rhode Island business owners who are looking to expand, but just aren’t sure they can afford to do so, and these tax incentives could make a real difference. I also enthusiastically support the President’s call for investing in our transportation infrastructure to create good construction jobs, and for efforts to help our troops to find work after they return from combat.
Tonight’s speech was a positive step, but getting this legislation passed will require a sustained effort by the President and Congress. Rhode Islanders I’ve heard from want us to create jobs now. We can’t let this proposal get bogged down by the same old Washington delay tactics. I'll keep fighting for Rhode Islanders who are struggling in this tough economy.”
Congressman James Langevin
“The President is right to say that ultimately businesses and workers, not Washington, will drive our recovery and job growth, but our government should make a difference where it can. In the short term, we can help create construction jobs giving tax credits to small businesses that hire, and putting more money in consumers' pockets with tax cuts and emergency unemployment assistance. We can pay for all of this and bring down our debt if we close unfair tax loopholes and if the wealthiest few pay their fair share of taxes, as they did during the booming 1990s.
However, these proposals alone should not be viewed as a complete jobs plan that will erase the dramatic and ongoing impacts of a deep recession. In addition to further infrastructure investment and support for small businesses, we need a long-term strategy for building the industries with the most potential for future growth, such as renewable energy, cybersecurity and health care IT, and that will require a serious commitment to improving our education and workforce development systems, which the President alluded to tonight.
While America’s leadership in these fields is vital to our present and future prosperity, I hear repeatedly from business owners in emerging industries that they cannot find qualified applicants. That’s why I have rallied a bipartisan group of colleagues to push for increased Perkins Act funding for schools, while advocating for job training programs and partnerships that help workers gain skills for new opportunities. We cannot solve any of our pressing economic challenges unless we put our citizens back to work. I look forward to advocating for prompt passage of the President’s recommendations, as well as a comprehensive, long-term effort to create jobs.”
Congressman David Cicilline
“Having spent the last several weeks in Rhode Island, with families, small business owners, manufactures, and builders – I understand the struggles they are facing every single day, and the anxiety this economy is causing in their daily lives. This evening, the President laid out a serious plan to get Rhode Islanders and Americans back to work, and the time for taking action to create jobs is now.
Tonight, the President put forth a jobs plan that reflects many of the priorities I’ve been working on and have heard during my community suppers, small business tours, and visits with manufacturers – creating jobs by enacting small businesses tax cuts, supporting workers by expanding middle class tax cuts, rebuilding our nation’s roads, bridges, and schools, and providing greater support and job opportunities for returning veterans, the unemployed, and our young people. Rhode Islanders have endured the crushing consequences of this economic recession for far too long, and there is no time to waste.”
State GOP Executive Director Patrick Sweeney
“The campaigner in chief strikes again. Same speech. Same words. Same failed policies. The President wants one-time money for recurring expenses. I can't believe he had the audacity to try to sell us another stimulus package. The American people were promised that if we passed the first stimulus bill, which cost almost $900 billion dollars, unemployment would stay below 8%. Well since we passed it, it has been 31 straight months of unemployment above 8%, with 14 million people out of work. For someone who created zero jobs in August, he picked a hell of a time to call a joint session of Congress. This speech only echoes the need for a Republican president to get this country back on track.”
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