Compilation of reaction from Florida pols to President Obama's speech

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President Obama urged Congress to “stop the political circus and actually do something” by approving a $447 billion mix of tax cuts and spending that he sad would help put people back to work, National Journal reports.

“The package was larger than expected but the president pledged it would not add to an already historic deficit.”

A compilation of analysis and reactions from Florida politicians:

Sen. Bill Nelson:

“I think the President did a good thing by making jobs expansion priority number one, and I think we can do more.  For example, fixing the economy by straightening out the banking system so that it can loan to small businesses, which are the backbone of our economy in Florida.  And by so doing, getting community banks to be able to lend to mom-and-pop firms to expand, it provides a lot more jobs. That’s critical to Florida.”

Senator Marco Rubio:

“So there are some things that the President outlined that I think we can be supportive of, but my problem with this, quite frankly, is that a lot of it just won’t work. A lot of it sounds like things we’ve already tried, such as more government spending. $800 billion didn’t create jobs, how is $447 billion going to create jobs? So, ultimately I think the problem is there are some things in there that are good, but by and large, it’s a proposal based on things that just won’t work, haven’t worked in the past and they won’t work in the future.”

Rep. Gus Bilirakis:

“While I appreciate the President coming to Congress tonight, we need long-term solutions, not another round of short-term stimulus that has proven ineffective. Time and again, job creators in the Tampa Bay area tell me that one key to improving the economy is more certainty. Reducing unnecessary red tape, repealing and replacing the federal health care overhaul, and simplifying the tax code are a few steps that would help provide the confidence that job creators need to drive this economy forward.”

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart:

“What we heard today from President Obama was nothing other than the same failed policies that have accelerated our country down the road of bankruptcy. For the past two and half years, President Obama has spent nearly $1 trillion on his failed stimulus. The facts point out just how disastrous the President’s policies and out-of-control spending have been to all Americans with unemployment soaring at 9.1%, the downgrade of our credit rating, and anemic economic growth.”

Florida State Senator Mike Haridopolos:

“The bottom line is that in order to regain the confidence and trust of American consumers and business leaders, we must restore stability to our nation’s struggling economy. And I am confident, that if President Obama and Congress not only reduce taxes, but immediately repeal Obamacare and adopt a balanced budget amendment, we will succeed in delivering that much-needed stability.”

Rep. John Mica:

“While the President reconfirmed that our highways are clogged and our skies are congested, his well delivered address provided only one specific recommendation for building our nation’s infrastructure. Unfortunately, a National Infrastructure Bank run by Washington bureaucrats requiring Washington approval and Washington red tape is moving in the wrong direction.  A better plan to improve infrastructure is to empower our states, 33 of which already have state infrastructure banks.”

Rep. David Rivera:

 “President Obama once again mentioned the United States’ pending free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea as a potential area for economic growth and job creation in our country.  His own administration estimates that the three agreements could create upwards of a quarter of a million American jobs. The three pending free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea would open up new markets for American companies, and put people back to work, especially in South Florida where we are experiencing above average unemployment levels.”

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehntinen:

“I am glad to hear the President express support for the pending free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea, but it’s nothing we haven’t heard from him before.  What we need is action, not more words, and I heard no pledge for action. For more than two years, Republicans have been waiting for the President to send these job-creating free trade agreements to Congress. But the Administration has offered nothing but rhetoric, delays, and constantly moving goalposts. Removing unnecessary trade barriers with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea would immediately expand opportunities for U.S. businesses and create thousands of new jobs for hard-pressed Americans, without spending a cent. We have heard enough speeches.  It’s time for the President to finally send the agreements to Congress, where Republicans will be their strongest supporters.”

Florida Governor Rick Scott:

“It’s long past time for President Obama to take meaningful action that includes the passage of three pending free trade agreements. For the past several years, U.S. companies, including many in Florida, have paid well over $3 billion in tariffs to Colombia and Panama for the privilege of exporting American products to those nations. Many of those dollars could have gone a long way toward more American jobs if President Obama had sent those agreements to Congress and pushed for immediate ratification.  Leadership from the president on this is long overdue.”

Rep. Steve Southerland:

“The President offered mountains of new spending and then told the American people we can figure out how to pay for it later.  He threatened to hike taxes on America’s job creators at a time when our economy can least afford it.  And he spent just a few short sentences discussing the job-crushing impact of government over-regulation, but then failed to provide solutions to eliminate the uncertainty that these regulations have created. “I’ve joined my House Republican colleagues in offering several proposals to improve conditions for job creation and jumpstart an economic recovery.  I stand ready and willing to find common ground with the President once he presents a plan that rises to the historic level of the economic challenges we face.”

Rep. Frederica Wilson:

“The president is committed to creating jobs of the future and rebuilding our economy the right way – based on fairness, hard work, responsibility, and opportunity – not through outsourcing, corporate loopholes, reckless financial deals, or special tax breaks for Big Oil and the wealthy. The time is now for Congress to put jobs first.”

Information from the News Service of Florida was used in this post.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.