Members of Pennsylvania's congressional delegation agree with President Barack Obama's new focus on jobs. In his first State of the Union address, the President told Congress that creating jobs must be its No. 1 focus this year. He's proposing that Congress take $30 billion dollars from the Wall Street bailout to help community banks make loans for small businesses. But he also said he doesn't want Congress to abandon efforts to reform health care.
Republican Congressman Tim Murphy of Upper St. Clair, says he likes the idea of the tax credits for small businesses, which are very much needed to keep doors open. While he supports extending the tax breaks for the middle class, he opposes the rollback of tax cuts for people making $250,000 or more. Murphy says the rollback would impact 60 to 70 percent of small businesses. He says while you're cutting the capital gains, you're increasing the personal income tax, therefore there's no positive impact. Murphy calls the President's proposal for a three year freeze on discretionary spending, symbolic.
Congressman Jason Altmire, a Democrat from McCandless, says while freezing discretionary freezing is a strong first step, he also wants Congress to act to make Pay-As-You-Go budget rules law. He says during the 1990's, that's what helped America move from budget deficits to record surpluses. Altmire is a co-sponsor of the Statutory Pay Go legislation that would force Congress to pay for new spending and prevent it from adding to the federal deficit.
Johnstown Democrat, John Murtha, says the President addressed the challenges that we face now and those that threaten to burden our future. He agrees with the President that there needs to be a focus on job creation to get the economy back on track.
Democratic U.S. Senate candidate, Congressman Joe Sestak of Delaware County, says now is the time for Congress to prove that government can restore accountability and transparency by making job growth and long-term financial security top priorities. He says to rein in deficit and debt spending, any job creation plan needs to close tax loopholes that ship jobs overseas.
U.S. Senator Arlen Specter, a Democrat from Philadelphia, says President Obama was right on target in making jobs the number one priority, with an emphasis on clean energy jobs. He says he liked the President's fighting spirit refusing to quit on health care reform.