SOTU: What they’re saying

U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg – “President Obama used his speech tonight to reset the tone in Washington and unify Congress behind strengthening our economy, creating jobs, and improving educational opportunities for our children.  This is the type of agenda that can grow the economy so it works not just for a fortunate few, but for middle-class families across the country. The President’s call for an increased investment in our nation’s infrastructure is critical to America’s continued economic recovery.  I strongly support the President’s agenda, which will make us more competitive and create jobs.  Investing in our roadways, bridges, rails and tunnels will make sure New Jersey’s economy grows along with its transportation access for the region.  The investment choices that we make at this time will enable America to maintain its leadership around the entire globe.”

U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez – “By emphasizing economic competitiveness, job creation, and tax reform, President Obama hit on themes that I embrace and that are music to the ears of middle class families. When our nation competes and wins on a global economic scale, it creates good-paying jobs at home, shrinks budget deficits and reduces the burden on taxpayers. This is a golden opportunity to work together and create conditions under which our businesses can grow the job market, our students can achieve and middle class taxpayers can see their paychecks grow. This is not the time to undercut the economic recovery with a backward-looking, politically-motivated agenda.”

 “The competitiveness agenda President Obama outlined tonight is one that will help our nation win the 21st Century, and I look forward to helping it take shape in the Senate. I intend to be at the forefront of legislative effort to simplify and reform the tax system for middle class families and to create the environment in which American businesses can drive innovation and create new jobs.”

U.S. Rep. Scott Garrett (R-5th) – “President Obama made his annual trip to Capitol Hill tonight to once again claim that growing our economy and putting Americans back to work is his top priority.  While I remain an optimist and give him the benefit of the doubt, I believe substance always trumps rhetoric.  It’s time to stop talking and start taking real action that puts Americans back to work and jumpstarts our floundering economy. Over the course of the last year, unemployment has held steady above 9%, the national debt has crested above $14 trillion and economic growth has been stagnant.  A string of laws including the failed stimulus, the job-destroying health care law, burdensome financial regulations and his desire to raise taxes have made businesses of all sizes reluctant to grow and hire new workers. Given the destructive nature of White House policies, I remain cautious about the president’s commitment to free market, private sector job creation.

 “My colleagues and I at the Republican Study Committee (RSC) have proposed $2.5 trillion in very specific spending cuts over the next ten years and House Republicans voted to repeal the job-destroying health care law last week.  Although I do not expect his support on these issues, I invite President Obama to offer his own specific proposals to jumpstart our economy and begin slashing government spending.”

U.S. Rep Frank Pallone Jr. (D-6th) –  “The President set the right priorities with his focus on job creation, economic recovery, debt reduction and  economic opportunity for all Americans and he advanced some good ideas to make real and sustained progress towards those goals. I heard a lot of what I wanted to hear about immediate and long-term actions that are right for the country and right for New Jersey.  

“The President and members of Congress set the right tone with a spirit of civility and bi-partisanship. I hope it signals an era of cooperation and shared responsibility among Democrats and Republicans. But we have to do more than sit together, we have to work together.

“The challenges before us are demanding. We have to put people back to work.  We have to accelerate the recovery from the recession. We have to look towards debt reduction. And we have to expand the economy in ways that offer future prosperity to everyone.      

 “We need to make smart, disciplined, forward-looking investments in the infrastructure, education and high-tech innovations. These investments will not only create jobs, they will create new fields in technology and equip workers with the skills for good-paying jobs.

“What’s good for the country is especially good for New Jersey. We have the best workers ready and willing to go to work. We have some of the best schools and colleges in the country. And we have high-tech industries, including pharmaceutical companies, that are capable of leading the world.

“Good ideas can transform our abilities and potential into real progress.” 

U.S. Rep. Jon Runyan (R-3rd)  – “The only surefire way to fix our economy and create jobs is to cut taxes, reduce spending and shrink the size of government.  That’s what voters demanded last November and that’s what we need to focus on.  While I agree with President Obama’s call for bipartisan cooperation and applaud his desire to build a better future for our children, I don’t think he went far enough when it comes to demanding that we live within our means as a government.  In fact, his proposed freeze on annual domestic spending over the next five years merely locks in the astounding spending levels of the last several years, which the American people soundly rejected in November.  We can do better, and I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to do just that over the next two years.”

  SOTU: What they’re saying