Advocate Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON – As expected, Louisiana House Republicans panned President Obama’s address to the joint Congress Thursday, saying that his plan lacked details about how he intends to achieve his goals and pay for it.
However, the state’s lone Senate Democrat, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, commended Obama for bringing the issue of the economy to the forefront.
“The president’s plan is a solid foundation for Congress to build on,” Landrieu said in a statement.
The speech reminded several Louisiana House members of Obama’s call for a $787 billion stimulus bill two years ago that they said failed to jump start the economy.
“I think everyone was saying ‘we’ve heard this before’,” said Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy of Baton Rouge. “If we’ve heard it before, how is it going to be a different outcome?”
Republican U.S. Rep. John Fleming of Minden said the proposal fell flat, even among Democrats..
“There was really a lethargy over the chamber that I haven’t seen in 2 ½ years,” said Fleming.
Republican U.S. Rep. Jeff Landry of New Iberia, who has owned several businesses, said Obama failed to convince him that jobs can be created by the proposal. “There was no detail, it was all about government, government, government,” Landry said.
Republican U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander appreciated the goals that Obama laid out, but questioned where the money was going to come from.
“He never said how we’re going to pay for it, which is hard to understand,” Alexander said.
Republican U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany of New Iberia cheered Obama’s call to pass trade agreements with Columbia, Panama and South Korea, he said.
“We’re waiting on him according to the procedure,” Boustany said. “Send it Congress, let us vote on it and move on.”
Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise of Metairie called the speech a campaign address.
“His actions haven’t followed his political speeches,” Scalise said.
Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana said tax reform, regulatory relief and domestic energy production are the ways to kick start the economy. Vitter also questioned the timing of the proposal.
“If the bill is so good, we would have seen it by now,” Vitter said in a statement.