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Ga. politicians not impressed with State of the Union address
Sen. Chambliss critical of how Obama wants to spend federal money
President Barack Obama is applauded by House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio and Vice President Joe Biden Tuesday while delivering his State of the Union address on Capitol Hill in Washington. - photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Despite a tone of bipartisanship Tuesday night, Georgia politicians were not impressed with President Barack Obama's State of the Union address.

Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., was critical of how Obama wants to spend federal money to make improvements. Among other things, Obama said he wants to invest in clean energy technology, increase high speed rail and continue funding for infrastructure improvements across the country.

"I am disappointed that the president has proposed what amounts to a new stimulus plan under another name. We all remember the last economic stimulus plan — nearly $1 trillion committed to "shovel-ready" projects, most of which never came to pass," Chambliss said.

"And unemployment in Georgia has actually increased since then. We don't need a new stimulus at a time when Americans are worried about overspending and our nation's financial future.

"Creating jobs means getting America's fiscal house in order, not spending even more taxpayer money we don't have. In the last election, voters sent a very clear message to Washington: Reduce spending and focus on America's economic health. To that end, I have been working for the past several months with a bipartisan group of senators whose goal is to introduce legislation to effectively address the nation's financial issues. It's time we get past the rhetoric, get down to the details and take action."

Gainesville's U.S. representative, Tom Graves, R-Ranger, said Obama's words are based on an agenda that grows government, not private-sector jobs.

"If the president and Congress truly intend to put an end to this fiscal recklessness, then we must do more than make some itemized spending cuts — we must enact genuine spending reform," Graves said.

"Put in the simplest terms, those of us in Congress must cut up President Obama's maxed out credit cards and put strict limitations on his yearly allowance. You see, the high notes of a speech and applause lines won't bring jobs to Georgia. Ending big government's drag on the private sector will."

But Gainesville attorney Wyc Orr, a Democrat and former state representative, said he thinks the president took the right approach with his speech.

"I think he made the point extremely well, that as he put it, we will move forward together or not at all. I think he reminded us that with the challenges we have before us we simply cannot afford the luxury of gridlock," Orr said.

"I hope that we're going to see in the days ahead a greater ability of Congress and both parties to work together to tackle the huge challenges that we have before us."

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