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Congressmen react to State of the Union

Camie Young

Camie Young

Georgia’s Republican senators reached across the aisle to sit with Democrats at Tuesday’s State of the Union speech. But the political divide remained in their thoughts on policies introduced by President Barack Obama in the speech.

“I am disappointed that the president has proposed what amounts to a new stimulus plan under another name,” U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss said. “We all remember the last economic stimulus plan — nearly $1 trillion committed to ‘shovel-ready’ projects, most of which never came to pass. And unemployment in Georgia has actually increased since then. We don’t need a new stimulus at a time when Americans are worried about overspending and our nation’s financial future.

“Creating jobs means getting America’s fiscal house in order, not spending even more taxpayer money we don’t have.”

Both Chambliss and fellow U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson said voters spoke with November’s election about reining in spending.

“I’m disappointed the president is politically cherry-picking budget items to take off the table, such as Social Security,” Isakson said. “I think we have to take the Debt Commission and their recommendation in its totality and debate all of it. There are parts that I don’t like and there may be parts that the president doesn’t like but we have a comprehensive problem that requires a comprehensive solution. Everything should be on the table.

U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall, a Republican from Lawrenceville, said he wants to see action, not just hear promises.

“America must first fix its economy and the best way to do that is to reform our spending habits. I think the president knows this, but I believe that only time will tell whether or not the President will deliver on tonight’s rhetoric,” he said. “President Obama set a lot of things on the table (Tuesday), including a spending freeze and an earmark ban. We have heard good speeches from him before about creating jobs and building infrastructure — but these speeches ended in massive spending bills and the president’s infamous health care plan. Moving forward, I hope the president will live up to the show of bipartisanship displayed on the House Floor ... and will actively work with Republican leadership to provide viable fiscal solutions for this nation.”

Democrat Hank Johnson, whose district includes a portion of Gwinnett, was more impressed.

“I share the president’s vision of an America that invests in its people by providing access to education and health care needed to lead the world in productivity and innovation. And I share the president’s call for investments in cutting-edge 21st century infrastructure and clean energy,” he said.

“There is no doubt that the economy we preside over today is better than the one we inherited. An economy that was shrinking is growing again. Instead of rapid job loss, more than a million private sector jobs were created last year. But we know we must do more to ensure that America and its workers can compete and win in the 21st century.”

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be reached via e-mail at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.

For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/politics.