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Economy & Business

Pennsylvania Democrats Call on GOP to Vote for American Jobs Act

The leader of the national Democratic Party stopped in Pittsburgh on Tuesday to call on Republicans to pass President Obama's American Jobs Act.

Florida Congresswoman and Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said Republicans "should be ashamed of themselves" for voting against the stimulus measure when it came up for votes, both in full form and in smaller pieces.

"They only care about one job, Barack Obama's, and Democrats care about American jobs," said Wasserman Schultz. "I mean, Mitch McConnell said it himself at the beginning of this Congress, a little over a year ago. He's the Minority Leader of the United States Senate, a Republican; he said his number one priority is defeating Barack Obama, not getting people back to work, not getting the economy turned around."

But Wasserman Schultz defended members of her own party who also voted against the bill, like Congressman Jason Altmire (D-PA).

"We're a party that celebrates our diversity, and diversity of opinion, and benefits from that rich diversity of opinion and, as a result, we get better policy out of that diversity," said Wasserman Schultz. "We don't force our members to walk in lock-step and do exactly as they're told, like the Tea Party Republicans do."

She said Altmire is one of "just a handful" of Democrats who voted against the jobs bill, which she said would help fund repairs for some of the 30 structurally deficient bridges in Allegheny County.

Putting People to Work

Wasserman Schultz said the measure would put billions of federal dollars into both infrastructure repair and school modernization.

Jim Burn, Chair of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, added his voice to the call for a federal jobs package, saying it's unlikely that the state will invest in infrastructure. He said Pennsylvania has more than 5,900 ailing bridges, but Governor Tom Corbett has said he won't fund repair efforts this year, despite calls to do so from fellow Republicans.

"Governor Corbett is ignoring such calls to action by those even in his own party," said Burn. "He said, 'There has been a problem for 25 years, and where has everyone been for 25 years?' That's not leadership, ladies and gentlemen. He's simply passing the buck and trying to pin the blame on others, instead of finding a solution."

Joining Burns and Wasserman Schultz were Pennsylvania Democratic Congressmen Mike Doyle and Mark Critz, Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, Pittsburgh Controller Michael Lamb, Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato, and former Allegheny County Council President Rich Fitzgerald.