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Area Lawmakers' Reactions To SOTU Fall Along Party Lines

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Lawmakers gathered en masse in Statuary Hall after the State of the Union address while reporters rushed to track down members of Congress for comments.
Matt Laslo
Lawmakers gathered en masse in Statuary Hall after the State of the Union address while reporters rushed to track down members of Congress for comments.

Area Democrats liked the jobs plan President Obama laid out last evening in his State of the Union address but Republicans were wary of its price tag.

The president called for a lot of investments that could affect the D.C. area, including transportation, first responders and the region's growing high-tech industry. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) believes it's a plan that will put the economy back on track.

"He also called for long-term investment in early childhood education  universal early childhood education," Van Hollen said. "So very important building blocks to economic growth, both in the short-term but also sustainable economic growth."

But Republicans were dubious about what they heard. With the nation $16 trillion in debt, Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.) asked how the president plans to pay for his jobs package.

"I did hear a lot of spending programs, and in all fairness I don't know how he s going to pay for those without either taxing the middle class or cutting spending," Griffith said. "He said he didn't want to do either of those, so it will be interesting to see how he proposes to pay for those things that he wants to do."

Before the president can move on to his jobs agenda, he'll have to work with House Republicans on a fiscal deal. Otherwise, billions of dollars will be indiscriminately slashed from the budget in March as part of the previously agreed-to sequester.

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