President Barack Obama and Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick agreed in weekly addresses on Saturday -- themed for the Labor Day holiday -- that America's workforce isn't where it should be.
But while the president said his administration's policies are helping the economy and workforce rebound, Fitzpatrick, in the weekly GOP address, said those policies are what is hurting workers.
"Nearly five years into the Obama presidency, the workers who drive our economy see nothing but roadblocks coming out of Washington," said Fitzpatrick, a Pennsylvania Republican. "But the president is still pushing more of the same tax hikes and ‘stimulus’-style policies that have left us with weak job growth, high prices, and stagnant paychecks. Again we have to ask: why?"
And Obama, in his weekly radio address
, agreed that "any working family will tell you, we’re not where we need to be."
The president said that for more than a decade, "working Americans have seen their wages and incomes stagnate, even as corporate profits soar and the pay of a fortunate few explodes. For even longer than that, inequality has steadily risen; the journey of upward mobility has become harder."
The president said that he's been laying out his ideas for rebuilding the middle class, including "more chances for folks to earn their way into the middle class as long as they’re willing to work for it."
But Fitzpatrick said that nearly five years into Obama's presidency, workers are seeing nothing but roadblocks -- especially Obamacare -- coming out of Washington.
"[Obamacare is] driving up premiums, and forcing workers and their spouses out of plans that they like," said Fitzpatrick. "Small companies say the taxes and government mandates make it more difficult for them to hire. Even doctors are warning that the law doesn’t come close to addressing the real problems in our healthcare system."
He said Obama knows his program isn't working, as he's signed seven bills repealing or defunding it, and he's handed out waivers and delays.
Obama's energy policies are also causing concern, Fitzpatrick said.
"Republicans have an all-of-the-above energy strategy that will help lower prices, boost manufacturing, and improve our national security," said Fitzpatrick. "But the president is blocking efforts to create jobs and make energy more affordable."
He said the Keystone energy pipeline project is a prime example. It's been five years since the project was proposed and since then it has passed environmental reviews and is supported by labor unions and enjoys bipartisan support in Congress.
"So why is the Obama administration still standing in the way of this ‘shovel-ready’ project?" he asked.
People are also concerned about the size and scope of the federal government, including the threat of higher taxes and red tape, said the Pennsylvania lawmaker.
"Republicans want to get spending under control and simplify the tax code – making it flatter and fairer for everyone," said Fitzpatrick. "And we’ve passed several jobs bills to eliminate excessive regulations and bring common-sense oversight to the regulatory process."
The Republican jobs plan focuses on breaking down government roadblocks, he said.
"We want to make sure that the workers we’re celebrating this weekend can keep doing what they do best: building. Creating. And preserving the American Dream for future generations," Fitzpatrick concluded.
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