State of the Union Address received mixed reaction from North Carolina federal lawmakers [The Fayetteville Observer, N.C.]
(Fayetteville Observer (NC) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Feb. 13--President Obama's State of the Union Address received mixed reaction from federal lawmakers across the state.
Republican leaders say Obama's remarks were similar to rhetoric heard in the past and that the President's plan would hurt the middle class.
Democratic leaders supported the president's initiatives to boost the economy and to provide high quality education and training opportunities for students.
Obama outlined a plan Tuesday night to create more jobs and shore up the economy. He also touched on several domestic issues that will define his next four years in office including immigration reform, stricter gun laws, and climate change legislation.
Some of the highlights of the Obama's plan:
A proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour.
The withdrawal of 34,000 American troop from Afghanistan in 2014.
Plans to complete negotiations on a TransPacific Partnership to boost American exports and support American jobs.
A push for Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform.
The Partnership to Rebuild America program that attracts private capital to upgrade various infrastructures and facilities.
Establishing a program for high-quality preschools
Amend the Higher Education Act so that affordability and value are included in determining which colleges receive certain types of federal aid.
Republicans are opposed to Obama's calls for more tax revenue to reduce the deficit.
Sen. Richard Burr of Winston Salem stated in a release that the President's policies have failed and are making the economy worse.
"Our national debt is at an all time high, unemployment is rampant, and federal spending threatens to bankrupt our entitlement programs and will bury the next generation of Americans in debt," Burr stated.
Burr hopes the President will work with Congress to reform entitlement and fix tax codes that would promote job creation and encourage economic growth.
Senator Kay Hagan , a Democrat from Greensboro, supported the President's plan to bring back good paying manufacturing jobs and provide high quality education programs. North Carolina has lost hundreds of thousands manufacturing jobs in the last decade.
The debt is among the nation's most pressing problems, Hagan said.
"We need a long-term plan to get our fiscal house in order that will responsibly reduce our deficit and give our business owners certainty so they can invest in creating jobs," she stated in a release. "And though we must get serious about cutting spending, sequestration is not the way to accomplish that. The indiscriminate cuts would be especially damaging to North Carolina's economic recovery because of our strong military presence."
Congressman David Price, who represents District 4, said Congress needs to refocus.
" Infrastructure, education, innovative manufacturing, clean energy: investments in the American people should dominate our debates," he stated. "Instead, repeated, artificially-created fiscal crises have sucked all the oxygen out of the room and created economic uncertainty for every business and every family. With the sequester looming, yet another meat-axe approach to deficit reduction threatens our economic recovery."
Price applauded the President for calling on Congress to move past these "self-inflicted crises" to address the most pressing tasks.
"Deficit reduction alone is not a plan for economic growth, and we cannot ask seniors, veterans and the middle class to bear the whole burden," Price stated. "... Almost all of the policies President Obama urged us to enact are supported by the majority of Americans, and they expect Congress to get the job done. I intend to help."
Congresswoman Renee Ellmers, who represents District 2, feels little has changed since Obama's first State of the Union Address in 2009. The country continues to faces an economic crisis with trillions of dollars in debt, rising unemployment, and an uncertain future, she stated in a release.
"Instead of alleviating the burdens that have dragged down our economy, President Obama has attacked our job creators and provided perverse incentives to keep them from hiring," she said. "This is not who we are as a people and only restricts the American Dream."
She said the House will continue to work on policies that will help small businesses that will drive growth.
"We need to be bold, we need to be productive and innovate, create, and expand. This can happen, but over the past four years, it has only been happening within the federal government -- with little economic growth to show for it," she said.
Staff writer Venita Jenkins can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 486-3511.
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