Hoosier Legislators Remark on State of Union

As is standard practice, Indiana’s congressmen and senators released their thoughts on last night’s State of the Union speech. Here are a few samples, courtesy of Inside INdiana Business:

Sen. Richard Lugar
“More jobs, now, in private industry are essential to strengthen our country. The President spoke of his strong interest in job creation, but his State of the Union address needs immediate follow-up with very specific proposals and personal negotiation to bring bi-partisan legislation and encouragement for all businesses that are prepared to hire more people. This is job number one for President Obama and the U.S. Congress.”

Rep. Andre Carson
“I hope my colleagues on the Republican side recognize that leadership is more than just slashing spending. It’s also recognizing the importance of making investments in areas that are crucial to keeping the United States at the forefront. The President has committed to cutting the deficit as well as improving resources for infrastructure, education and research. This approach is bold, necessary and one that I support.”

Rep. Todd Rokita:
The President’s proposals to freeze discretionary spending does not go far enough. Rokita told WIBC the federal government should follow Indiana’s lead. He says the state reverted to 2008 spending levels and then cut another 15 percent across the board.

Rep. Pete Visclosky
“President Obama made clear tonight, and I agree, that our nation’s economic security is a critical component of ensuring our broader national security. As we rebuild our nation’s economy, we must defend our existing industries, invest in our public infrastructure, and address the problem of our massive federal debt. Meeting these worthy goals can help ensure access to solid employment, expanded economic opportunities, and a good quality of life for residents of Northwest Indiana.”

Congress: Here’s When We Won’t Be in Session

While Congress is limping to the finish line in 2010, calendars are already in place for 2011. The onoing joke is that America is safe when our representatives and senators are not in Washington. If you follow that philosophy, here’s when you can rest easy in the coming year.

The 112th Congress will convene Wednesday, Jan. 5. There’s no official date set for the State of the Union  address, but the night of Tuesday, Jan. 25, seems like a solid bet. The House GOP has set Dec. 8 as a target adjournment date; Senate Democrats long ago gave up on the notion of setting even a straw-man adjournment date. But the two chambers have very different plans for their time off beyond a shared recess week in February, two weeks off at the same time surrounding Easter in April and the same five-week August break.

These are the recesses planned next year:

  • Week of Jan. 17 (MLK Day) for the Senate only

  • Week of Jan. 31 for the House only

  • Week of Feb. 21 (Presidents Day) for both chambers

  • Week of March 21 for both chambers

  • Weeks of April 18 and April 25 for both chambers (Passover begins the evening of Monday, April 18; Easter Sunday is April 24)

  • Week of May 16 for the House

  • Week of May 30 (Memorial Day) for the Senate

  • Week of June 6 for the House

  • Week of June 27 for the House

  • Week of July 4 (Independence Day) for the Senate

  • Week of July 18 for the House

  • Week of Aug. 8 through Labor Day, Sept. 5, for both chambers

  • Week of Sept. 26 for both chambers

  • Week of Oct. 17 for the House

  • Week of Oct. 24 for the Senate, which has nothing noted on its calendar after that

  • Week of Nov. 7 for the House

  • Week of Nov. 21 (Thanksgiving) for the House

Following the Bouncing Ball in D.C.

The urgency to pass health care reform legislation is officially gone. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she "did not want to hurry a decision" and Sen. Christopher Dodd suggests Democrats "take a month to think about a path forward." This from the same people who imposed deadline after deadline throughout the past year. Credit a clear message from the voters in Massachusetts and rapidly declining poll numbers for the change in course.

The House, in fact, appears unsure where to turn next — at least as far as official business is concerned. The schedule for this week: day off today, legislative business starting at 2 p.m. Tuesday, an early end Wednesday in preparation for that night’s State of the Union speech, and no votes on Thursday or Friday. Expect to hear, from the White House and leaders in Congress, more about jobs, jobs and jobs.

But remember. Just about everything talked about, debated and eventually voted upon in 2010 will be done so with an eye toward the November election. To me, that’s a shame but a reality that no one seems willing to confront.