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Birmingham News - Alabama Delegation Cool to President Obama's Plans

News Article

Location: Washington, DC

By Mary Orndorff

Most of Alabama's largely Republican congressional delegation was unimpressed with President Barack Obama's speech tonight.

Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Saks, said he did not buy Obama's commitment to creating jobs by spending money to construct roads and bridges and modernize schools.

But he said he was most disturbed with the proposal to pay for Obama's jobs plan by asking the deficit reduction super committee to come up with $450 billion more in spending cuts over the next 10 years, increasing their goal of $1.5 trillion.

Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Huntsville, said the speech lacked details and was too political. He said proposals for infrastructure spending would only treat the symptoms of the weak economy.

"Those kind of jobs are one and done. They are not permanent jobs," Brooks said.

Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Haleyville, said, "I'm sure the whole package would not be something the Republicans could agree to, but there might be bits and pieces they could."

Rep. Jo Bonner, R-Mobile, was receptive to lowering business and payroll taxes, but not to new spending.

"That said, the door is certainly not closed if the president would like to work with Congress to pass legislation to encourage job creation," Bonner said in a prepared statement.

Rep. Martha Roby, R-Montgomery, also was dubious about Obama's call for new spending.

"Spending more money to 'stimulate' the economy has proven several times over to be an inefficient method for growth -- quite frankly, that approach has failed," she said. But in a prepared statement, she called tax breaks a "common ground solution" that may open doors for jobs.

Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Vestavia Hills, said earlier Thursday that the best way to jumpstart the economy was to streamline financial regulations and eliminate those that are outdated. He said banks are spending more time and energy on compliance with federal regulations than on lending money to small businesses.

"The blizzard of new rules and regulations .¤.¤. will unnecessarily eliminate jobs, and given the fragile state of our economy, this is of particular concern," Bachus said.

Sen. Jeff Sessions focused his criticism on how Obama's plan would affect the national debt.

"Borrowing even more to spend immediately in exchange for vague promises of distant future cuts means that we are digging ourselves into a deeper fiscal hole and moving quickly in the wrong direction," he said.

Sen. Richard Shelby said, "We have not yet seen the details, but this seems to be nothing more than a son of stimulus proposal that will generate more political rhetoric than jobs. If that is the case, I will firmly reject it."

Rep. Terri Sewell of Birmingham, the Alabama delegation's lone Democrat, had a different view of Obama's speech.

"America's workers need a comprehensive approach, and I believe the president's plan will make strategic investments to stimulate job creation and strengthen economic development," Sewell said in a prepared statement.

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