U.S. Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon issued a video statement Friday critical of President Barack Obama’s Thursday-evening jobs speech to a joint session of Congress.
The president said his proposed American Jobs Act would provide a tax cut for small businesses, puts more people back to work, extend unemployment benefits, cut the payroll tax and fund itself through the closure of corporate loopholes and tax increases for wealthy Americans.
McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, said he is glad Obama is working on the issue but expressed his skepticism.
“I don’t want to sound negative, (but the speech) sounded to me like the kickoff of his campaign for next year’s election,” McKeon said.
McKeon said he wants “to be optimistic that this is something we can work together on,” but said he is concerned “that it must not be paid for on the backs of the troops.”
McKeon is chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.
“We’ve already cut almost half a trillion dollars in the last few months out of the defense industry going forward for the next 10 years,” he said. “All of that eventually finds its way down the troops.”
McKeon said that as someone with a small business background – McKeon and other family members owned the former Howard & Phil’s chain of Western apparel stores – he didn’t think the proposed tax credits were sufficient to compel business owners to hire more workers.
McKeon said business owners need are “nervous about what’s going to come next” and need certainty about “what’s going to come next with Obamacare, what’s going to happen with further regulations and taxes.”
“That’s what is going to give people confidence in (their) ability to start creating jobs again,” he said.
McKeon’s Written Press Release:
“I am pleased to hear the President express a desire to find areas of common ground and I hope that he will take this opportunity to remove the barriers of uncertainty placed on job creators.
“Although there are some areas for potential bipartisanship cooperation on job creation, I remain skeptical of the President’s ability to get us back on track. After two years in office, the President’s job-creation record speaks for itself.
“Since President Obama’s failed stimulus, excessive regulation on businesses, and rising taxes, we have lost over 2.3 million jobs. He promised that his administration’s policies would keep unemployment under 8 percent, however we have had the longest stretch of unemployment over 9 percent since the great depression. This is simply unacceptable and the American people have had enough.
“American’s deserve real reform, real action, real plans, real leadership — not a continued path of false promises and empty rhetoric.
“That’s why I introduced the Workforce Investment Improvement Act of 2011 (WIA), a bill that will help bring meaningful jobs to many frustrated Americans.
“I am committed to a dynamic, results-oriented job training system that can effectively serve job seekers and workers in need of retraining. This bill will remove barriers for job training and enhance employment skills, strengthen coordinating infrastructure, and improve accountability – all concrete steps in getting Americans back to work.
“Passage of WIA, along with action on numerous House-passed jobs bills, could immediately address many of our economic challenges and help job creators, working families, and small business owners. It is my hope that the president will join us in real action for the American people.”