Congressman Jeff Fortenberry says President Obama clearly tried to set an inspirational, optimistic and forward-looking tone in his State of the Union address.
Still, Fortenberry says the speech failed to mention an important roadblock to economic recovery.
Fortenberry praises the approach the president took.
“I thought one of the key comments that he made was that the economy must respect the dignity of work. I thought that was a good line,” Fortenberry tells Jack and Dave in the Morning on Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN.
Fortenberry, though, says the president failed to acknowledge the drag the federal health insurance law has had on the economy. Fortenberry, a Republican, says Congress must address the burden the law has placed on small businesses as it works to stimulate a stagnant economy.
“I have to point out, though, that a really glaring omission though was the fact that the new health care law is seriously impacting the ability of small business to hire and take risks,” Fortenberry says. “It’s dampening the output of the economy and creating jobs and that’s part of what we need to fix in order to turn this economy around. And that was an omission in his speech.”
Fortenberry sees a cautionary tale in passage of the Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare. He says everyone should be suspicious about any law that uses the word “comprehensive” in its title.
Fortenberry claims when legislation uses the word “comprehensive” it is sure to contain multiple policy changes that if considered separately wouldn’t pass Congress, which he says happened when comprehensive health care passed.
“Twenty-two hundred pages of laws that are so intricate and impossible to unpack for any one person; buried in there is all kinds of authority that gives the president, for instance, flexibility to delay this part of the health care bill but not that part or, at least, gives him the ability to interpret it that way,” according to Fortenberry.
Fortenberry says such legislative complexity, coupled with broken partisanship in Congress, are part of the problem that has allowed the executive branch to assert more power than authorized by the Constitution.