President Barack Obama kept up his “win the future” theme from the State of the Union speech in his weekly address, outlining his plans for clean energy projects.
“I’m here because this business and others like it are showing us the way forward,” Obama said in the address, taped from an event he held Wednesday at Orion Energy Systems in Manitowoc, Wis. “[I]n the coming days, I’ll be shining a spotlight on innovators across America who are relying on new technologies to create new jobs and opportunities in new industries.”
“This is the future. And it’s bright,” Obama said.
The president highlighted Orion’s work, made possible, he said, by small-business loans and incentives his administration has promoted. The factory was an “empty warehouse” a few years before but is now “a thriving enterprise once more” with 250 workers.
Obama said the United States can out-compete its rivals if it lays a foundation of a good education for “every single child” and if the government sets up smart infrastructure to encourage innovation.
He touted his proposal for a tax credit to promote research for clean energy and other technology. “This is going to lead to good, new jobs. And that’s how we win the future — by unleashing the talent and ingenuity of American businesses and American workers in every corner of this country,” he said.
The Republican address, meanwhile, also focused on Wisconsin and accused Obama’s White House of “blocking job creation.”
“The president often speaks of making investments in our economy. If he means allowing taxpayers and businesses to keep more of their hard-earned dollars, and providing them the freedom to invest where they choose, I’m all for it,” said Sen. Ron Johnson, a freshman from Wisconsin. The Republican ran a plastics manufacturing plant in Oshkosh, Wis., before coming to the Senate.
“Unfortunately, I’m afraid he means more government spending and more government control,” Johnson said. “The lesson we all should have learned from the pitiful results of the $814 billion stimulus bill is that growing government does not grow our economy or create long-term, self-sustaining jobs. It is the private sector that creates jobs.”
Johnson added: “I hope the president and his allies in Congress accept a simple truth: Big government is blocking job creation, not helping it. The sooner Washington ends its dependence on more spending, the sooner our economy will see real growth.”
Johnson showcased his outsider credentials, noting that the Senate seat he won by unseating Sen. Russ Feingold (D) is “the first elective office I have ever sought or held.”
“The reason I ran is simple and straightforward. We are bankrupting America, and I thought it was time for citizen legislators to come to Washington to help those individuals already here that are seriously facing that reality,” Johnson said.
Johnson said if Obama is “serious” about controlling spending and cutting the deficit, “he should present a serious plan.”
“As a business person, I’m used to getting things done. I came here to accomplish something, to help solve the very serious problems facing our nation,” he said. “It is our turn to act responsibly.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., carries a musket on stage as he speaks during the American Conservative Union's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Md., on Thursday March 6, 2014.