Ill. lawmakers react to Obama's jobs speech

September 9, 2011 8:27:18 AM PDT
President Barack Obama unveiled a $450 billion job plan Thursday night and Illinois lawmakers are reacting to the plan.

"I am so delighted that I had a chance to be present tonight, to see this kind of direction for America. I commend the president on laying out a plan that you really can't rationally argue with," said Rep. Danny Davis, D-Chicago.

Illinois Democrats are lined up solidly behind the president's job plan, and some Republicans are also pleased with what the president had to say.

"There are some things in there that I think we can work together on to move the country forward," said Rep. Robert Dold, R-Northern Suburbs.

"The most important thing the president said is that we need to make sure that our veterans coming home do have jobs but they need to be in small business. We need a strong infrastructure, making sure our roads and bridges are safe," said Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Winfield.

The positive response from some Republicans is offering hope that Congress could put aside differences for the sake of the nation.

"There are too many people without a job, a lack of hope. The system isn't working. People are unemployed for more than a year, sometimes two years and no possibilities. Tonight, the president of the United States said 'Look, put your partisan bickering aside,'" Rep. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Chicago.

"The president gave to us a call to come together on a bipartisan basis, start thinking about the here and now," said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.

While there appeared to be some common ground, some Republican lawmakers have questions about how the jobs plan would impact the deficit.

"Where, oh, where is this all going to be paid for? And I think that he put that off with the deficit saying 'Well, we will hear about that later,'" said Rep. Judy Biggert, R-Wilowbrook.

"What concerned me is the White House released a spread sheet showing new spending, but no spread sheet showing how it will be paid for," said Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill.

Some Republicans believe that the jobs plan is too little too late, and more of a reelection plan on Obama's part. Freshman Congressman Joe Walsh skipped the president's speech and held a small business owners forum in Schaumburg Thursday night. The McHenry Republican said he didn't want to be a "prop" during the president's address.

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