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Florida reaction to Obama's jobs speech

President Barack Obama urged Congress Thursday night to back his new $447 billion jobs package, saying repeatedly that they should "pass this jobs bill" and "you should pass this jobs plan right away."

Here's how some South Florida members of Congress reacted:

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.: "So there are some things that the President outlined that I think we can be supportive of, but my problem with this, quite frankly, is that a lot of it just won’t work. A lot of it sounds like things we’ve already tried, such as more government spending. $800 billion didn’t create jobs, how is $447 billion going to create jobs? So, ultimately I think the problem is there are some things in there that are good, but by and large, it’s a proposal based on things that just won’t work, haven’t worked in the past and they won’t work in the future." 

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.: "I think the President did a good thing by making jobs expansion priority number one, and I think we can do more.  For example, fixing the economy by straightening out the banking system so that it can loan to small businesses, which are the backbone of our economy in Florida.  And by so doing, getting community banks to be able to lend to mom-and-pop firms to expand, it provides a lot more jobs. That’s critical to Florida."

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston: "Tonight we heard from our President about his vision for moving America forward. He described how the American Jobs Act will help make a difference right now to improve our economy and create jobs --now -- without adding a cent to the deficit," Wasserman Schultz said. "It’s fully paid for by closing corporate tax loopholes and asking the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share."

"Next week we’ll be taking a look at the American Jobs Act here in Congress, and I plan to talk with my colleagues over the next week to encourage bipartisan support for this much-needed boost to our economy."

Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami: "The president is committed to creating jobs of the future and rebuilding our economy the right way – based on fairness, hard work, responsibility, and opportunity – not through outsourcing, corporate loopholes, reckless financial deals, or special tax breaks for Big Oil and the wealthy. The time is now for Congress to put jobs first."

Rep. David Rivera, R-Miami:  "President Obama once again mentioned the United States’ pending free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea as a potential area for economic growth and job creation in our country.  His own administration estimates that the three agreements could create upwards of a quarter of a million American jobs. The three pending free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea would open up new markets for American companies, and put people back to work, especially in South Florida where we are experiencing above average unemployment levels."

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Miami: "What we heard today from President Obama was nothing other than the same failed policies that have accelerated our country down the road of bankruptcy. For the past two and half years, President Obama has spent nearly $1 trillion on his failed stimulus. The facts point out just how disastrous the President’s policies and out-of-control spending have been to all Americans with unemployment soaring at 9.1%, the downgrade of our credit rating, and anemic economic growth."

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehntinen, R-Miami: "I am glad to hear the President express support for the pending free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea, but it’s nothing we haven’t heard from him before.  What we need is action, not more words, and I heard no pledge for action. For more than two years, Republicans have been waiting for the President to send these job-creating free trade agreements to Congress. But the Administration has offered nothing but rhetoric, delays, and constantly moving goalposts. Removing unnecessary trade barriers with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea would immediately expand opportunities for U.S. businesses and create thousands of new jobs for hard-pressed Americans, without spending a cent. We have heard enough speeches.  It’s time for the President to finally send the agreements to Congress, where Republicans will be their strongest supporters."

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