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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Florida reacts to the State of the Union



Republican Sen. Marco Rubio: “While I was encouraged by the President’s support for an earmark ban and will work with him towards that goal, his call for a mere budget freeze does not go far enough in tackling our record debt.  At the very least, we should freeze non-defense and non-veterans discretionary spending to what it was before Washington began its unprecedented, record-setting spending binge two years ago.  But most importantly, we need to finally begin fundamentally reforming the way our government spends the American people’s money.

Democratic Sen Bill Nelson: “He talked about bringing us out of recession with jobs, helping small business, helping seniors with retirement security, getting government spending under control.  Then he talked about civility.  How do we treat each other?  That’s going to matter a lot.”

Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Panama City: “President Obama offered a tone tonight that departed sharply from his Administration’s actions over the past two years.  The President’s call for fiscal responsibility was, unfortunately, made necessary by his Administration’s quest to expand the size of government, increase spending, and hike the taxes of hardworking Americans.  The President has asked us tonight to trust his words, but we must verify his actions over the coming year."

Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa: “The President was on target when he said that the biggest contest we face is not between Democrats and Republicans but between the United States and other nations across the globe. We are competing with other counties for jobs, so we must innovate and invest in our future right here in America. “What that means in the Tampa Bay area is investing in the Ports of Tampa and Manatee, our first-class hospitals and research centers, our high-speed rail jobs initiative, the University of South Florida, our community colleges and our local students.

Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota: “Our number one priority has to be a full commitment to restoring economic growth and creating jobs,” Buchanan said. “I was very pleased that the President made that a priority in his remarks tonight. With 14 million Americans out of work, and Florida’s unemployment higher than the national average, we need to do everything possible to get our economy turned around.  I’m encouraged by his focus on increasing America’s competiveness abroad. We need to be able to compete and win in the global marketplace.”

Rep.  Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton: “President Obama delivered a message tonight that Congress urgently needed to hear. It is time to think big. This past year, we saw the creation of over a million new jobs, gains in our stock market, and healthy corporate profits, but fifteen million Americans remain out of work. Creating new jobs and achieving a new century of American competitiveness demands Congress put aside partisanship and work together on behalf of the American people.

Rep. John Mica, R-Orlando: “After the Administration derailed a major six-year transportation bill in 2009, it is encouraging that they are now on board with getting infrastructure projects and jobs moving again.  However, just another proposal to spend more of the taxpayers’ money, when we have billions of dollars sitting idle tied up in government red tape, will never get our economic car out of the ditch."

Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Jacksonville: As President Obama outlined tonight, it is critically important for our nation to focus on the economy, as well as on job creation for nearly 15 million unemployed Americans (1.1 million of whom live in the state of Florida).  At the same time, we also need to ensure that Congress provides the necessary funding to secure America’s competitiveness into the future, and present economic prosperity. And to me, the plan put forward this evening by President Obama is a huge step in the right direction.”

Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Tequesta: The President just doesn’t get it.  The federal government is not the answer, the American people are.  We need to let them get back to work.  We need to stop crowding out private sector growth with out-of-control federal spending.  We need to reduce taxes permanently so that small businesses can grow and create jobs.  We need to eliminate excessive regulations that hurt economic growth and destroy jobs.  That is how you grow the economy and reduce unemployment."

Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami: The President rightly spoke about making meaningful investments in education, innovation, and infrastructure to create jobs. That is the solution we need to turn the corner from recovery to economic growth. As we continue our work and shared responsibility of creating jobs, let us remember the President’s clear vision for a more prosperous future.”

Rep. Sandy Adams, R-Orlando: “While President Obama touched upon the issues surrounding the nation’s dire economic state, it is important to remember that actions speak louder than words. We’ve heard this rhetoric before. During the 2009 State of the Union, President Obama promised that his trillion-dollar stimulus would keep unemployment under 8 percent, but fast forward to 2011 and his promises haven’t held true. The national unemployment rate has held firm above 9 percent for twenty straight months, Florida faces an unacceptably high 12 percent unemployment rate and the country is buried under $14 trillion in debt.

Rep. Bill Posey, R-Rockledge: "It was a good speech but the real test will come in a few weeks when we see if the President’s budget plan matches up with what was said tonight  ... “I’m disappointed the President didn’t say much about accountability. Nobody’s been held accountable for the financial crisis."

Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar: “I agree with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle that we need to get serious about government spending and our country’s deficit.  But we must address this issue in its entirety and stop the political nonsense.  The ‘YouCut’ project is a prime example of the Republicans’ diversionary tactics.  Additionally, if these programs were to be cut, they would not even make a dent in the deficit compared to a five-percent cut of military spending, which I support."

Rep. Connie Mack, R-Fort Myers: "The President has promised a great deal, but actions speak louder than words.  This President’s policies have drawn America into the worst, continuous recession since the Great Depression.  He neither repealed any of his bad existing policies, nor has he called for any dramatic spending cuts that are desperately needed to move our economy forward, and a freeze is not a cut.  If the President truly meant to move on a different course he would have at least repealed his failed healthcare plan which the American people disapprove of overwhelmingly."

Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith: Over the past two years, President Obama has accomplished an incredible amount to get our country back on track.  He pulled our economy back from the brink of depression, restored economic growth, and is continuing to support job creation here in Florida and across the country. ... Tonight, President Obama made it clear that he will continue to build upon these accomplishments over the next year ..."

[Last modified: Tuesday, January 25, 2011 11:32pm]


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