Jackie in the News
Eshoo, Speier offer praise, criticism
San Mateo Daily Journal
By Bill Silverfarb
When President Barack Obama said the United States has been subsidizing oil companies for 100 years and “that’s long enough,” U.S. Rep Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, couldn’t jump out of her seat fast enough to applaud the president as he gave his State of the Union address to Congress in Washington, D.C. last night.
Clean tech and sustainable energy are growing industries in California, creating new jobs and are better for the environment, she said.
Eshoo called Obama’s speech last night “highly inspirational” and “injected with confidence.”
Her Peninsula colleague in Congress, U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, agreed, saying the president’s speech was “invigorating.”
Calling clean energy America’s future, Speier was pleased to hear the president say the country should move toward meeting its energy needs without having to rely on foreign oil.
Like the country invested in big infrastructure projects during the Great Depression 80 years ago, so too should the United States invest in these same type of projects today, putting more Americans back to work, Speier said.
“He spent a fair amount of time chastising Congress, which is well-deserved,” Speier said.
But the president’s speech left both lawmakers wanting just a little bit more despite its inspirational tone.
Obama did not make a single mention of campaign finance reform in last night’s State of the Union, something Eshoo wanted to hear.
“The problem is huge with unlimited and secret money fueling campaigns. It is sickening,” Eshoo said.
Both Eshoo and Speier have also been critical of the president’s handling of the foreclosure crisis.
Obama did announce a plan to attack the crisis last night but gave few details on how his administration would do it.
“He mentioned taking advantage of historically-low finance rates but I have to see what the details of the plans are,” Eshoo said.
Speier said the president’s effort to address the foreclosure crisis has been “lackluster” at best up until now. Obama should have been tougher with the banks, Speier said.
The president said last night his administration will start a Veterans Job Corps to help put soldiers coming back from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan into good-paying jobs.
Speier supports the idea but it is something, however, the country should have done a long time ago, she said.
“We have not treated veterans all that well historically. Veterans are coming home now in extraordinary numbers with no jobs,” Speier said.
Before Obama gave his State of the Union address last night, top Republicans had already put out a response.
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, offering the formal GOP response, said, “no feature of the Obama presidency has been sadder than its constant efforts to divide us, to curry favor with some Americans by castigating others.”
With Republicans looking to unseat Obama in the November election, the climate in Washington has been hostile, Speier said.
“We have an opportunity to get out of the sandbox and act as adults,” Speier said about the two parties working together. “We have to stop throwing sand.”
The Daily Journal had scheduled to speak with U.S. Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Sacramento, last night to get a Republican viewpoint on the president’s speech but Lungren became too busy to call the paper.
In a video response from his Washington, D.C. office last night, Lungren did say the president was wrong in saying the economy is on the “right track” and also was critical of Obama for not addressing the size of the nation’s $15.2 trillion deficit.
The average American citizen has a lot of fear and anger related to the economy and government actions, Lungren said, and Obama did little to quell the fear.
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