Iowa congressional delegation reacts to Obama - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa congressional delegation reacts to Obama

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama says digging the country out of its economic recession will be a costly task but it will be done.

Addressing a joint session of Congress, Obama says America is facing a "day of reckoning." He called on politicians and the public alike to embrace shared sacrifice and new efforts to improve health care, schools and the environment.

To deal with the current economic crisis, the president said even more money may be needed to rescue troubled banks beyond the $700 billion already committed.

The president also called on Congress to move quickly on legislation to overhaul regulation of the nation's financial markets.

With U.S. automakers struggling for survival, Obama said he won't reward their "bad practices" but also won't allow "their demise." As Obama put it: "The nation that invented the automobile cannot walk away from it."

Adding words of reassurance, Obama said, "We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before."

Iowa lawmakers had a mixed reaction to Obama's address, falling along party lines.

Republicans, including Sen. Charles Grassley, criticized what they consider wasteful spending in the first days of Obama's presidency.

"I'm worried about the excess spending that's going on in Washington the last month. It may overcome and out-do the excesses of Wall Street," Sen. Grassley said.

Rep. Tom Latham (R) of Iowa's 4th District hoped Obama follows through on his pledge for bipartisanship but says he hasn't seen it yet.

"I applaud the president's proclaimed commitment to bipartisanship tonight," Rep. Latham said.  "But, as we saw with the economic stimulus bill, speeches and rhetoric mean little if congressional leaders don't share that spirit.  Bipartisan words won't bring about prosperity. Only bipartisan results and actions can do that."

Iowa Democrats, on the other hand, said President Obama hit the key notes.

"President Obama described these stark challenges tonight, but he also struck a hopeful, optimistic tone," said Rep. Bruce Braley (D) of Iowa's 1st District.  "Above all, we need to bring people together around the idea that investing in the middle class is what's best for America.  President Obama brought people together around that idea tonight."  

"The President made it clear, tonight, that he will continue tackling the fiscal and economic messes created in recent years with boldness and urgency," said Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin (D).  "This will not happen overnight, but it will happen."

"I am particularly heartened by the President's determination to overhaul our broken health care system," Sen. Harkin added. "This is the only way we can rein in skyrocketing health care costs that are making it so difficult for families to afford coverage, and placing such strain on our whole economy."

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