Meadville Tribune

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February 13, 2013

Economy focus of local lawmakers after State of the Union address

MEADVILLE — The economy, job growth and ‘smarter government’ were the main focuses of local legislators following President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday night.

Obama urged a deeply divided Congress to embrace his plans to use government money to create jobs and strengthen the nation’s middle class. He declared Republican ideas for reducing the deficit “even worse” than the unpalatable deals Washington had to stomach during his first term and conceded economic revival is an “unfinished task” while claiming clear progress.

Statements were issued by Republican U.S. Rep Glenn “GT” Thompson, Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, Democratic Pa. Sen. Bob Casey and Republican Pa. Sen. Toomey.

Thompson, whose Fifth congressional district includes the southeastern corner of Crawford County:

“With the unemployment rate hovering at close to the same rate it was in February of 2009 and the economy all but stalled during the last three months of 2012, the president made the right decision to pivot his focus back to jobs and the economy. Stunted economic growth has not only had a negative impact on job creation, it also undermines America’s ability to adequately invest in many of the priorities the president mentioned, including our shared goal of fostering and retaining a qualified and trained workforce.

“The president’s call for ‘not a bigger government’ but a ‘smarter government’ is welcome news. In my view this is the only approach that will permit the nation to invest in shared priorities and grow the economy, but without leaving a legacy of debt for future generations.

“I had hoped to hear from the president a pro-growth plan that will expand opportunity for all Americans and generate revenues needed to get Washington back to fiscal solvency. Unfortunately, the president merely acknowledged the nation’s escalating spending path and combed over a record of persistently high national unemployment, while once again failing to offer concrete solutions to achieve fiscal balance and sustained growth.

“I will continue to work with both parties to find solutions to the nation’s challenges, but tonight I’m left unfulfilled by the lack detail and direction put forward by the president.”

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