As I reviewed the President’s jobs bill, I was reminded of the famous first line from the classic Charles Dickens novel “A Tale of Two Cities.”

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness.”

It wasn’t necessarily the exact meaning of those words that grabbed my attention, but the stark contrast they create.

I just spent several weeks traveling the 6th District. I met with business owners, spoke to civic groups and held town hall meetings. And whether I was in Crockett or Kerens, Midlothian or Mansfield – people all said the same thing: Washington needs to stop spending money it doesn’t have.

Now compare that to the bill President Obama presented this week. He laid out a $447,000,000,000 spending plan to create jobs, which he plans to pay for by raising taxes several years from now (basically recycling the same proposals the American people have repeatedly rejected).

These messages show the true divide between Washington and the rest of the country – it’s a real life Tale of Two Cities.

The President’s plan does include several ideas that I can support, in theory. I think extending the payroll tax deduction for workers and reducing employer payroll taxes will spur growth. I also believe that improving and repairing our nation’s infrastructure will create jobs now and benefit people far into the future – from the cement plants in Ellis County to the steel plants in Leon and Houston counties.

However, we can’t move forward until we have a way to pay for these proposals – one that doesn’t include raising taxes on job creators.

While Congress takes a closer look at the President’s plan, I hope Mr. Obama will reexamine some of our ideas as well.

The House has passed several bills (most of which are stalled in the Senate) that would clear the way for the creation of tens of thousands of jobs by cutting government red tape and eliminating unnecessary regulations.

This week 500 Texans found out that those unnecessary regulations have real world consequences. They lost their jobs because of a new, overzealous Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, which included Texas at the last minute. The rule issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) forced the closure of several power plants and coal mines. These people are now unemployed despite the fact that air in Texas has gotten cleaner over the past decade thanks to cooperation between the public and private sectors. We’re not a cause of interstate air pollution and the EPA’s own data proves this point.

I look forward to working with the President on getting the economy back on track, but at the same time I won’t break the promise I made to the people of the 6th District - to rein in federal spending and improve the climate for job creation.

 U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Ennis/Arlington, represents the Sixth Congressional District of Texas.