SOTU: Pa. Lawmakers React

Obama portrait term 2President Obama delivered his fifth State of the Union speech Tuesday night. Here’s what Pa. lawmakers had to say. Spoiler: Democrats mostly liked it, Republicans mostly didn’t.

The following quotes are representative selections from legislators’ SOTU statements. We didn’t see reactions from Reps. Bob Brady (D-Phila), Chaka Fattah (D-Phila), Jim Gerlach (R-Chester), Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Bucks), Bill Shuster (R-Blair), Tom Marino (R-Lycoming), Allyson Schwartz (D-Montco), and Charlie Dent (R-Lehigh).


Bob Casey (D):

“I was gratified that the President made jobs the focus of his address. 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. I have fought to level the playing field for Pennsylvania manufacturers and have called for investments in manufacturing initiatives like the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) programs, Research and Development Tax Credit, the National Export Initiative, and the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership. 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.”

Pat Toomey (R):

“I was glad the president tonight addressed both the need to bring our out-of-control spending and deficits under control and that he spent a lot of time focusing on the need for economic growth and job creation. I disagree about the idea that we ought to raise taxes yet again. But if the president is willing to look at some of the areas where we can curb spending, I’d be delighted to work with him to help put us on a sustainable fiscal path. The president talked about the opportunity for tax reform – I couldn’t agree more that there’s a chance to really generate economic growth and job creation through tax reform.”


Mike Kelly (R-Butler):

“I was also disappointed that a plan was not outlined to get our nation’s debt and deficit reduction under control. Our reckless fiscal policy is perhaps the biggest challenge this country faces and despite what the President has said, his administration has failed to show any leadership. We cannot continue to tax and spend our way back to prosperity. If our spending problem is not fixed, we will bankrupt our country for our children and grandchildren.”

Scott Perry (R-York):

“The American people demand action, not just words. We’ve heard this all before. President Obama gives a good speech and then fails to lead. The House has acted by passing budgets that save and strengthen Social Security and Medicare, while protecting young people and children by getting government spending under control. The House has acted by replacing President Obama’s sequestration with responsible spending reductions.”

GT Thompson (R-Centre):

“I had hoped to hear from the President a pro-growth plan that will expand opportunity for all Americans and generate revenues needed to get Washington back to fiscal solvency. Unfortunately, the President merely acknowledged the nation’s escalating spending path and combed over a record of persistently high national unemployment, while once again failing to offer concrete solutions to achieve fiscal balance and sustained growth.”

Pat Meehan (R-Delaware):

“Although I was encouraged by his acknowledgement that Americans are struggling in this economy, I fear that the agenda he laid out will just lead to more of the same: more debt, more regulations, more government, and fewer jobs. I’m also disappointed by President Obama’s call for higher taxes. Enough is enough. We cannot tax our way out of our fiscal mess.”

Lou Barletta (R-Luzerne):

“The president likes to talk about a ‘balanced approach,’ but says nothing at all about a balanced budget. In fact, the president 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.”

Keith Rothfus (R-Allegheny):

“In his speech, President Obama once again promised a Washington-centered approach to addressing our nation’s economic woes. Unfortunately, the unprecedented growth of government spending that characterized his first term has resulted in too many Americans out-of-work, too many families who struggle to pay the bills, and too much debt on our children’s shoulders.”

Mike Doyle (D-Allegheny) via Twitter:

“Agree with President’s call to invest in job creation, economic growth, infrastructure, education, advanced manufacturing and clean energy.”

Joe Pitts (R-Chester):

“I was pleased to hear the President voice his support for more safe development of American natural resources. We can be energy independent in just a few short years. This would both boost our economy and make our nation more secure.

“Last week, the President missed the legal deadline to submit his budget to Congress. A speech is not a plan. We need detailed plans on how he intends to replace the sequester and get us back to balanced budgets. I hope that in the coming weeks the President will spend less time campaigning and more time working with Congress to reach sensible compromises on the big issues we are facing today.”

Matt Cartwright (D-Lackawanna):

“Tonight, President Obama presented a vision to the American people of a stronger Union, a foundation for prosperity, and a thriving middle class. Working together, we will adopt a bold agenda for our economic growth – founded on good-paying manufacturing jobs, greater access to education, critical investment in our nation’s infrastructure and a future of clean energy.

“Despite signs of progress in our economy, too many Americans are out of work and struggling to make ends meet. Sustaining a secure and prosperous middle class is the defining challenge of our time. To rebuild the middle class, we must make America a magnet for good-paying manufacturing jobs, provide access to the skills needed for all Americans to compete in today’s global economy and make sure that hard work produces a good standard of living and long-term financial security.”

Tim Murphy (R-Allegheny):

“Finally, I am shocked the President referenced Newtown, yet did not once mention the words ‘mental illness.’ We simply cannot have any discussion on school safety without addressing the issue of untreated and undiagnosed mental illness. Awareness, identification, and proper treatment can turn lives around, but we need to have a better understanding of what the federal government is doing in this arena. There are dozens of federal agencies responsible for direct care, public program grants, treatments, and research. Each federal program should be evaluated, and, as Chairman of Oversight and Investigations, I’ll be leading a thorough review. With careful examination, we can address areas of failure and build on success.”

  • Do You Agree With the Supreme Court Decision to Overturn Roe v. Wade?

    • No. (50%)
    • Yes. (47%)
    • Not Sure (3%)

    Total Voters: 109

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