Local Congressional Reaction to President Obama's Address 

Reaction by members of Congress representing the Memphis area to President Obama's first address to a joint congressional session Tuesday night ranged from cautiously favorable to enthusiastic - more or less along expectable partisan lines. Excerpts:

Senator Lamar Alexander: "We want to work with the president to get the economy moving. The way to do that is first, fix housing by providing low-interest mortgages for millions of creditworthy Americans and $15,000 tax credits for homebuyers to create instant jobs. The banking and credit crisis must be dealt with head on so students, farmers, and businessmen and women can get loans.

"I am glad to hear the president is ready to work on the deficit so our children and grandchildren aren't burdened with a terrific new debt. We should start by making sure Americans are confident they'll receive Social Security checks and moving this year to get health care costs under control."

Senator Bob Corker: "It was a good speech, and I agreed with many of the priorities President Obama laid out this evening. I look forward to him adding the details of his plans, working with him on those areas where we agree and, when possible, on improving policies where we differ."

9th District congressman Steve Cohen: "Eight years ago, President Bush took office amidst record budget surpluses. By the end of his second term, the federal government was running record deficits and our nation was enveloped in an economic crisis the scope of which had not been seen since the Great Depression. This is the result of a failed fiscal ideology, and it's fallen to President Obama and the 111th Congress to clean up the mess....

"It is time for this country to unite and confront our challenges. It is time, as the President said, to take responsibility for our future once more."

8th District congressman John Tanner: "The President's commitment to medium- and long-term budget reform is refreshing, following several years of irresponsible fiscal policy and dishonest budgeting. He also discussed this commitment at Monday's bipartisan Fiscal Responsibility Summit, in which I participated.

"My Blue Dog colleagues and I are particularly pleased to hear the President discuss the common-sense 'pay as you go' budget rules we have long supported and which every Tennessee family and business uses when balancing its own books. Once our most immediate economic concerns are addressed, we can continue working toward a sustainable future for our children and grandchildren."

7th District congresswoman Marsha Blackburn: "What we heard tonight was a sometimes sober, sometimes hopeful assessment of where we are as a country. I appreciate the President's candor tonight, as well as the actions he took this week to reach across the aisle."

"Over and over again the President cited government as the solution to our many challenges. This is a basic philosophical disagreement that I have with him. While many of his proposals may have merit, I worry that their cost, and the resulting debt we will have to carry, limits our potential as a country instead of strengthening it. I voted against wasteful spending and needless debt in the previous administration and will hold this one to the same standard."

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