Members of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation provided mixed reactions to President Barack Obama’s latest plan to jump-start the U.S. economy. Obama asked a joint session of Congress Thursday evening to pass a $447 billion package – about $150 billion more than what the White House initially indicated. The proposal includes deeper tax cuts for small businesses and working families, a second-round of federal spending to rebuild roads and schools, a more modern air traffic control system, money to return laid-off teachers and first responders, extended jobless benefits, and tax credits for firms to hire the long-term unemployed.
Senate Republican Ron Johnson said Obama’s plan would “double down on already tried-and-failed policies.” Senate Democrat Herb Kohl said the president’s “jobs initiative is a common sense, mainstream plan, with bi-partisan proposals.” House Republican Jim Sensenbrenner of Menomonee Falls said he was encouraged at Obama was looking for “common ground” with Congress. And he hoped the president would not just “talk the talk,” but would work with lawmakers on pro-growth policies. Ashland House Republican Sean Duffy said Washington needs to “push forward” on things that both parties agree on. But Duffy said Obama still doesn’t understand that government doesn’t create jobs – and if it did, the first stimulus would have produced lower unemployment numbers. Milwaukee House Democrat Gwen Moore said majority Republicans in her chamber cannot simply rely on tax policies to create jobs. Obama said he would not increase the deficit, and White House said it will propose a “dollar-for-dollar” plan to pay for it.