Tapped by the Republican party to deliver the GOP’s response to President Barack Obama’s congressional address Tuesday night, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal plans to take on the massive stimulus package and emphasize that the U.S. economy can recover.
“To solve our current problems, Washington must lead,” Jindal will say, according to excerpts of his speech released by the Republican National Committee. “But the way to lead is not to raise taxes and put more money and power in the hands of Washington politicians. The way to lead is by empowering you, the American people, because we believe that Americans can do anything.” Obama, in his first speech to a joint session of Congress, is expected to discuss the stimulus and lay out a plans to beat the financial crisis.
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Jindal has been a vocal critic of the $787 stimulus package, highlighting what he says is waste at a White House meeting with governors on Monday. He spoke to a large group of reporters after the session Monday, noting items such as $1 billion in added spending for the national census and $50 million in federal spending for the arts.
Excerpts from Gov. Bobby Jindal’s speech
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Jindal, seen as a possible contender for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, has announced plans to reject $100 million of stimulus funding for his state, saying it would require Louisiana to change its unemployment laws. Several other governors have expressed similar concerns. “Democratic leaders say their legislation will grow the economy,” Jindal will say, according to the excerpts. “What it will do is grow the government, increase our taxes down the line, and saddle future generations with debt. iReport.com: What do you want to hear from Obama and Jindal “Who among us would ask our children for a loan, so we could spend money we do not have, on things we do not need That is precisely what the Democrats in Congress just did. It’s irresponsible.” However, Republicans are ready to work with the new president, Jindal will say. “So where we agree, Republicans must be the president’s strongest partners,” he’ll say. “And where we disagree, Republicans have a responsibility to be candid and offer better ideas for a path forward.”
Jindal, who made history in 2007 when, at 36, he was elected the nation’s first Indian-American governor and became the youngest governor in office, also plans to touch on his background and those of his parents, who immigrated from India to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. “As a child, I remember going to the grocery store with my dad,” Jindal will say. “Growing up in India, he had seen extreme poverty. And as we walked through the aisles, he would tell me: ‘Bobby, Americans can do anything.’ I still believe that to this day.”