One Wisconsin congressman says President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech lacked detail. The federal government is not the only mechanism for addressing the nation’s problems. That the view of Representative Tom Petri. “We have a lot of others. The churches, the private sector, nonprofit organizations,” says the Fond du Lac Republican. “One of the reasons we have an accumulation of problems in this country is when we use the government to solve problems, the devil is often in the detail, and we create other problems or make things even worse.”
AUDIO: Reps. Petri, Ryan, Ribble (2:00)
Petri wishes the president had been more specific. “He’s indicated he’s really not going to submit anything on, for example, changing tax rates at this time,” he says. The president mentioned Master Lock bringing jobs back to Milwaukee — but Petri says it’s difficult to determine if White House actions have much to do with any jobs coming back to the U.S. “How you cut taxes on companies that add jobs or subtract jobs, whether they’re taking jobs from other countries to the United States, so how all that would really work in practice is something that you need to sit down and figure out, so that you just don’t add more paperwork.”
Janesville Republican Congressman Paul Ryan says President Obama missed an opportunity to talk about the nation’s fiscal problems. “The president basically gave us more of a campaign speech aimed at stratifying for his reelection campaign, than actually solving our problems,” Ryan says. “Instead of a list of new proposals to spend money we don’t have, what we really need are serious solutions to get this debt and deficit under control, so we can get our economy growing.
Ryan says the president should have called on the Senate to pass a budget. “We passed a budget in the House last year, we will pass this one, this year. But the Senate now for a thousand days has failed to pass a budget.”
Republican Congressman Reid Ribble of Sherwood says the president was being more cautious last night. “It being an election year, I think he wanted to set a more moderate tone,” says Ribble. “For the most part, he talked about some things that I think can have some bipartisan support. Small business regulatory relief, reforming the tax code, being tough on Iran. Those all have bipartisan support, and I think he took the right tone with those.”
WCLO and WHBY contributed this report