United States Rep. Joseph Hoeffel (D, Pa.) voiced his concerns about the economy and the Bush administration’s proposed economic stimulus package at Temple University’s Ambler campus on Jan. 22.
The audience was made up of both constituents and students.
“[The] current policy [of the government] is to ask the middle classes and the poor to fight our wars and accept reduced social spending while we ask the wealthy to accept a tax cut,” he said.
Hoeffel, the representative for Pennsylvania’s 13th district, also criticized the President’s proposed economic stimulus package, saying that it provided economic help in the long term and mainly for the upper classes, rather than immediate action that would help Americans of all income levels.
Hoeffel described a plan proposed by Democrats that he said would give a one-time tax rebate of $300 to all working Americans, extend unemployment benefits to about three million Americans and create about a million jobs.
He said the main goal is to provide economic stimulus without adding to the long-term deficit.
The congressman then called on Americans to “come to the country’s assistance in this hour of need. We need shared sacrifice from everybody in the form of deferred tax cuts and spending restraints so we can have shared growth for everybody.”
Hoeffel said that he was one of several congressmen who called for a moratorium on tax cuts in recent years because of the federal budget deficit.
“Simply put, no more tax cuts until we win the war on terror,” he said.
“We need a fair and fast acting, fiscally responsible stimulus package that gives the economy a significant push in the near term and a responsible budget in the long term.”
“Never in this country in a time of war have privileged Americans been permitted to reduce their commitment to this country,” he said.
Hoeffel also spoke about the war on terror and Iraq.
He said that although he had voted in support of the war on terror and military action in Iraq, any military action must be within the framework of international cooperation.
“If military action is necessary, we must act in concert with our allies and the UN,” he said.
“Any unilateral military action without sufficient provocation would … isolate us and weaken our security and our leadership in the world.”
The congressman said that he hoped the situation in Iraq could be resolved without an attack by the U.S. If military action were to take place in Iraq, he said, “let it happen because of Saddam Hussein’s intransigence, not of President Bush’s impatience.”
Hoeffel addressed constituents and students last year at Temple Ambler, which is located in the 13th district.
He returned this year because he said it is a great location and wanted to talk to students as well as other citizens.
“Temple Ambler has been so friendly to me, I’ve been here on several occasions and I always feel very comfortable and welcome here,” he said.
Sarah Watson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org