State of the Union Gets Mixed Reaction from Tennessee

At the top of President Barack Obama’s agenda is job creation. In his first State of the Union address on Wednesday night, the President called on the Senate to pass another stimulus package.

The White House can’t count on Senator Bob Corker’s support on that bill. However, Corker says the two parties can probably come together on new financial regulations.

“Let’s face it, I mean businesses react to stability and predictability. When the environment is changing constantly businesses keep their money in their pockets and they wait until they think there is safety in investing. And I think what’s happened over this year…every week there was another announcement.”

Corker’s also hoping Democrats bring Republicans to the table on health reform. He says initially there was 80 percent agreement between the two parties on health care, but Democrat Lincoln Davis says the bill is probably dead.

“I do believe that we must take a serious look at reforming health care. I don’t think the atmosphere probably is here today, and so therefore it will probably have to wait for another Congress or another president to do.”

Democratic leaders are more optimistic than Davis that they can pass health reform, but with November’s elections creeping up high profile bills are proving a hard sell in their caucus.

A three-year freeze on non-defense spending was another idea the President proposed during his address. That got a positive bipartisan reaction from two U.S. House members from Tennessee, but they parted ways on putting it into action.

Republican Representative Marsha Blackburn says it’s a good idea, thought she doubts the president can get it through Congress.

“Immediately you had House Democrats that started to say, “no we’re not going to make those cuts.” He is proposing to cut only about – or to freeze spending. Just freeze it in 10 percent of the budget. He’s not talking about doing any cuts.”

West Tennessee Democratic Congressman John Tanner says to stave off losses in November Democrats need to get serious about the deficit. He says Republicans are being disingenuous on spending.

“This didn’t start overnight, and we’re not gonna get over it overnight. But anything that he recommends along the lines of fiscal responsibility and discipline I think he’ll find a receptive ear with the Blue Dogs.”

Tanner says his party also needs to pass a measure called ‘pay-go,’ which would force lawmakers to pay for any spending increases. Like many pieces of the Democrat’s agenda it’s currently stalled in the Senate.

Capitol News Connection Reporter Matt Laslo gathered this report.

Please keep your community civil. Comments will be moderated prior to posting, and Nashville Public Radio reserves the right to approve them at its discretion. Comments containing links promoting goods, services - even noble organizations - will not be published. Your comments may include external links, but all comments with links will be delayed as they are reviewed. Comments containing profanity will be rejected.