Three Missourians in Congress offer mixed views on Obama speech

U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer was glad to hear President Obama talk about the need to reform the Medicare system in Thursday night’s address to a joint session of Congress.

But, he said during a telephone interview from Washington, D.C., he wasn’t impressed with the president’s overall speech.

“Here we are, with all the build-up, and he announces some of the ways that he’s going to spend money to create jobs — but he doesn’t tell us, other than generalities, of how he’s going to pay for it,” Luetkemeyer, R-St. Elizabeth said. “You wait until Monday to see the last page of the story here.

“I’m very disappointed that we didn’t get the whole story this evening.”

Luetkemeyer’s 9th District includes Miller, Osage, Callaway and Boone counties in Mid-Missouri.

He said Obama’s “tone” of the speech “was completely different from any other speech he’s ever given,” which, Luetkemeyer said, “always had a jovial type of demeanor.”

He likened Obama’s presentation to “more of a professor lecturing his students on ‘You will do this. This is your homework — get it done.’”

U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Harrisonville, said in a statement the president should “visit with small business owners, as I have, and ask them why they are not hiring. It’s not due to the cost of the proposed salary that could be averted through tax credits: It’s due to the onerous policies of Washington.”

Hartzler, whose 4th District includes Cole, Moniteau, Morgan and Camden counties in Mid-Missouri, repeated previous calls for the Obama administration to reverse itself.

“(The) $800 billion stimulus package didn’t create private sector jobs,” she said. “I don’t believe these proposals will either.”

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, noted she also has been talking with Missouri businesses.

“Weeks on the road getting input from Missouri’s manufacturers has led me to believe we can keep creating more jobs with some commonsense ideas — more efficient job skills training, a crackdown on unfair trade practices ... guarding against excessive regulation, and making sure our small businesses have the tools needed to succeed,” she said in a statement.

“The bottom line is that Congress must come together and compromise to tackle this challenge.”

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