Aug 6, 2013 6:04 PM by Brian White

Arizona lawmakers react to Obama's visit

PHOENIX - Buoyed by an improving housing market, President Barack Obama on Tuesday proposed a broad overhaul of the nation's mortgage finance system, including winding down government-backed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

He declared that taxpayers should never again be left "holding the bag" for the mortgage giants' bad bets.

But Governor Jan Brewer said while she is "always pleased" when the President visits, she was "disapointed the President used his visit as an opportunity to lay out a plan for even more big government programs."

She felt the President took credit for the recovery in Arizona's housing market.

"That credit belongs to the hardworking people of Arizona," she said in a release.

U.S. Rep. Ed Pastor, D-Phoenix, lauded the president's speech afterward as he stood in the crowd.

"Immigration reform is very important because right now you can't build enough housing in Phoenix because you don't have the skilled labor," Pastor said. "A lot of that skilled labor left after S.B. 1070," referring to the strict immigration enforcement law passed in Arizona in 2010 which prompted many illegal immigrants to flee the state.

But Arizona Republicans shot back after the speech, claiming credit for the state's economic recovery rather than the president.

"The real news here is that Arizona is showing the signs of an economic recovery, despite the federal government which has done nothing more than create economic instability," Arizona Republican Party Chairman Robert Graham said in a written statement. "

Credit should go to our entrepreneurs and business owners, our investors, and to the voters who elected conservative Republicans to lead our state and put us on the road to recovery."

He pointed to Arizona cutting spending to balance its budget and reducing taxes since the recession which he argued made Arizona a place for business to thrive.

Here's the entire text of Gov. Brewer's statement:

"I'm always pleased when a President of the United States finds time to visit Arizona. Given President Obama's recent interest in job creation and economic recovery, he certainly came to the right state at the right time. The Arizona Comeback is in full-swing, and this was the President's opportunity to witness firsthand a true economic success story. However, I am disappointed that the President used his visit as an opportunity to lay out a plan for even more big government programs, while also trying to share credit for Arizona's housing and economic recovery. That credit belongs to the hardworking people of Arizona.

"When I took office in 2009, the Arizona economy was in shambles. Our housing market, in particular, was facing the largest collapse in state history. Today, our market is on the steady rebound, recovering faster in metro Phoenix than anywhere in the country. Statewide, home values are rising at one of the top three swiftest rates in the nation, and foreclosures are on the steady decline. In four years, the Arizona economy has gone from one of the most distressed in the nation to one of the strongest. And while the federal government continues to add to the nation's deficit, Arizona is once again running a surplus.
"These successes are no accident. They are certainly no result of the Obama administration's policies, which favor big government and bureaucracy over limited government and business growth. President Obama and I took office under similar economic circumstances, but have pursued vastly different paths. The Arizona Comeback has been made possible by fostering free-market principles, freezing burdensome government regulations, lowering taxes and allowing businesses to grow and prosper. This is hardly the route President Obama has taken - and it shows. Perhaps that's why, nationwide, homeownership is at an 18-year low while rental prices continue to surge.

"Of course, none of this means our work is done. Too many of our friends and neighbors continue to struggle with unemployment and a fickle economy. But we are on the right track, and our successes are a true testament to our state's responsible policies and quality workforce. Arizonans who have witnessed our turnaround, and continue to work hard to sustain it, should be baffled by today's campaign-style appearance in Phoenix. Instead of trying to share credit for Arizona's successes, President Obama should learn from our example. The nation would benefit from an administration that promotes, rather than stifles, business growth. Our recovery has been made possible in spite of the President's policies - not because of them."


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