Federal legislators – including those representing Northeastern Pennsylvania – reacted to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address on Tuesday largely along party lines.
Here's what two of our region's lawmakers had to say:
Sen. Bob Casey, D-Scranton
Casey said he was gratified that Obama made jobs the focus of his address, given that Northeastern Pennsylvania has the highest unemployment rate in the state.
While the economy has made good progress, there is no doubt that more needs to be done. I was particularly grateful that he recognized the need for investments in the manufacturing sector, Casey said, noting initiatives he supports such as the Research and Development Tax Credit.
It is imperative that Republicans and Democrats work together on a balanced approach to reduce the deficit while making smart investments in manufacturing, education, small business and R&D that will continue to create jobs, he said.
Casey predicted that solutions and strategies to reduce gun violence and address immigration issues will probably be the most difficult on which to reach common ground.
Casey said he's tired of members of Congress decrying partisan politics and pointing a finger at each other and at the president. It's the obligation of members of Congress to look in the mirror … and say, ‘What am I doing to achieve common ground?'
Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Hazleton
Barletta said he hoped to hear more from the president regarding job creation, but instead heard platitudes about government spending. This is precisely the recipe that led us into this fiscal mess in the first place.
Barletta said the president talked of a balanced approach, but said nothing about a balanced budget and, in fact, has consistently missed the deadline for submitting his own spending plan.
The sequestration that we now face, which will require dramatic cuts to defense spending, is the brainchild of the president. For him to now pretend it's someone else's fault is simply untrue.
Private employers know better how to create jobs, not government, Barletta said.
He said he heard no earnest talk about immigration reform. We simply cannot sustain porous borders at the same time we are talking about amnesty for the millions who are already here contrary to our laws.
The offices of U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Zionsville, and U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Moosic, did not provide a response before press deadline.