Elected leaders from the suburbs and Illinois also weighed in Thursday night on President Obama's speech and the release of the American Jobs Act.
Rep. Judy Biggert, Hinsdale, 13th
"It's not hard to see why expectations weren't very high for today's speech. Like the President said, 'This approach is basically the one I've been advocating for months.' This should have been an opportunity for the President to show that he has learned from the failure of the stimulus, and is ready to try something new. Unfortunately, that didn't seem to be the case.
"There were a lot of promises about what this plan would accomplish, but very little about how. I look forward to reviewing the actual legislative text of the President's proposal, but I'm disappointed that so much -- especially how it will be paid for -- falls under the column of 'to be determined.'
"Some parts of this plan, including certain tax cuts, credits and deductions do have the potential to win bipartisan support. For example, the President voiced support for extending the deduction on investments in new equipment. That makes sense. But these tax cuts must be targeted at economic growth, and not just used as an excuse to raise taxes on those who create jobs.
"The simple truth is that more failed stimulus spending on the same old projects tried in 2009 is a recipe for deficit explosion and a double-dip recession, no matter what kind of bank taxpayer funds are funneled through.
"One area where the President can make an immediate difference is on trade. He called on Congress to pass the three pending trade agreements with South Korea, Panama, and Colombia. Together, these agreements would create 250,000 American jobs and increase exports by $13 billion dollars. I wholeheartedly agree, and he should send those agreements to Congress immediately.
"While the policy ideas were old, the President did show that he has a newfound sense of urgency on jobs. I hope that means he will come to Congress next week ready to negotiate with those on both sides to craft a plan than can pass, that won't drive up the debt, and will provide American businesses the certainly and stability they need to create jobs."
Rep. Peter Roskam, Wheaton, 6th
"Over the last years, Washington has created economic barrier after barrier for the private sector, impeding their ability to grow our economy and create jobs. That's why I was proud to help Speaker Boehner in his efforts to bring job creators to tonight's speech from a range of businesses and sectors, all hurt by the very real world effects of excessive Washington regulations. Americans want real solutions that reduce excessive Washington-imposed regulations and restore certainty to our economy. I hope President Obama and Democrats will join us in supporting real solutions that help our private sector innovate, grow, and create jobs."
Rep. Don Manzullo, Rockford area, 16th
"We will certainly work with the President on some of the proposals he discussed tonight to help employers put Americans back to work, such as extending tax incentives to encourage business equipment purchases. But the best way the President could spur job creation in America would simply be to announce a moratorium on tax increases and unnecessary regulatory burdens that threaten on our job creators. These were the main concerns I heard from small employers during several business roundtables I hosted in northern Illinois the past month. Such an announcement by the President would give our employers the certainty and confidence they need to expand their businesses and put Americans back to work.
Rep. Randy Hultgren, Winfield, 14th
"Tonight, I attended President Obama's address to Congress because, although I expected partisan rhetoric but little in the way of new ideas, I felt that it was my constitutional responsibility to do so," said Hultgren. "Unfortunately, despite his premise of bipartisanship, the President's prescriptions for our economy were political and wholly inadequate. Once again he urged more scattershot 'stimulus' spending, at a time when we should be husbanding our constituents' hard-earned tax dollars and ensuring that they are spent as wisely as possible.
"I agree with President Obama that investing in our nation's infrastructure is needed and will create jobs. But we cannot do so blindly. We must ensure that our investments are targeted and timely, and we must work hard to cut red tape and limit the permitting delays that currently plague our investments in infrastructure improvement.
"While I also believe that tax reform is long overdue, I was disappointed to hear him resurrect his calls on increasing taxes. It is absolutely the wrong time to be raising taxes on Americans that Main Street often calls small business owners, entrepreneurs, or job creators.
"However, I wholeheartedly support the President's call for passage of the three Free Trade Agreements. I look forward to voting for them -- as soon as he sends them to Capitol Hill.
"And true to form, nobody is calling for the elimination of all regulation; rather, contrary to this Administration, House Republicans are working to ensure that regulations are commonsense and reasonable.
"While there will undoubtedly be bipartisan support for some of President Obama's proposals, none of them will create meaningful numbers of jobs or get our economy moving so long as the threat of more crushing regulations and increased taxes are hovering over the heads of small business owners.
"Moreover, as with so many of his speeches in the past, tonight's address lacked the specificity needed to be scored by the Congressional Budget Office, and instead rested solely on grand statements and eloquent rhetoric. I hope we have the opportunity to see these details in the days and weeks to come."
Gov. Pat Quinn
Gov. Pat Quinn Thursday issued a statement after President Obama's announcement of the American Jobs Act.
"Tonight, the President laid out a plan that will put Americans back to work now. We in Illinois applaud President Obama's vision for American innovation, infrastructure, fiscal responsibility and bipartisanship. As our country recovers from the worst recession in decades, we must invest in our small businesses and the sectors that are creating the jobs of today and tomorrow. I support the President's plan, and I stand with him in calling on Congress to put aside partisan politics and do their part for America's working families."
Sen. Mark Kirk
"Some parts of the President's proposal should receive quick, bipartisan action, like tax reform, trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama and enactment of regulatory relief for businesses.
"In the detail provided tonight, the President proposed $447 billion in new spending but provided no details on how to pay for it. I look forward to learning the specifics."