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Oregon Congressional Leaders Voice Concern Over President's SpeechSalem-News.com
Oregon lawmakers seem concerned with the President's proposals on employer-provided health insurance, and energy.
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - Oregon's Congressional deligation is sounding off today on the President's State of the Union speech.
During his address on Tuesday night, President Bush covered a wide range of subjects, from the economy to the environment, but his main topic was the war in Iraq.
Bush said "Our country is pursuing a new strategy in Iraq, and I ask you to give it a chance to work. And I ask you to support our troops in the field and those on their way," Bush said, because "America must not fail in Iraq."
Here are their comments: (Greg Walden and David Woo did not send us any comments)
U.S. Congresswoman Darlene Hooley (D-OR):
As Einstein said, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
If there is anything that we learned on November 7th, it’s that the American people are looking for a new direction that takes us forward, not backward.
In last year’s State of the Union, the President promised to decrease troop levels in Iraq, and yet today he has plans to send 21,500 more troops to Iraq.
‘Stay the course’ is not working.
In Iraq, rather than continuing to ramp up the US’s involvement militarily, we need to give the Iraqi people the opportunity to step up to govern themselves.
Global warming continues to threaten our national security, our economy, and our environment.
During each prior State of the Union address, the President has promised to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, but instead gas prices have soared and the US imports more oil every year.
Yet in its first few days, the new leadership in Congress has taken already action by investing in the future, putting 14 billion dollars into creating a clean renewable energy fund and taking America closer to energy independence.
America must continually strive to provide a better education for our children so they can compete in the global economy.
The President demands accountability in public education through his No Child Left Behind Law while keeping it an under-funded mandate.
But Democrats are already working to keep the federal government's promise by providing the appropriate resources to fulfill NCLB’s goals and give children the opportunity to succeed.
The President said he wants to reduce the cost of health care, but prices continue to rise each year with no end in sight and more than 46.5 million Americans go without health insurance.
The new Democratic leadership Congress took its first steps to lower health care costs by allowing a vote on a bipartisan measure to lift the ban that prevents the Secretary of Health and Human Services from negotiating lower Medicare drug prices, a prohibition on cost savings the President signed into law only a few short years ago.
In the first 100 hours of the new Democratic Majority, Congress in a new bipartisan fashion has taken the important first steps to address the rising costs of health care, gas, and college tuition; provide real security at home and abroad; and restore honesty and civility to the legislative process.
I’m committed to moving in a new direction together with my colleagues, and I encourage the President to join us in moving this country forward.
U.S. Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR):
"American voters sent a clear message for change last November that the president's failed policies on Iraq, the economy, energy policy, and health care, are no longer acceptable. Tonight's speech proves the president was not listening. He offers no substantial changes to the American people. Tax and health care policies continue to favor the wealthiest among us, with little relief for the average American family. The president's 'stay the course' plan for Iraq involves sending over 20,000 more troops to referee a civil war that's been going on for 1,400 years. And despite the president's professed interest in a new energy policy, he opposes legislation passed by the House that would move America toward energy independence."
U.S. Senator Gordon Smith (R-OR):
“It is very important that the President focused on several key issues that families face every day,” Smith said. “We need better forms of energy production that won’t strap the family budget, but will power our cars and heat our homes efficiently. Equally important is the President's emphasis on healthcare. I am pushing to see that stem cell research, mental health parity legislation, and coverage for children and the uninsured are all among the first issues we address this year."
U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR):
At community meetings from Oregon to Maine, two topics dominate: Iraq and health care. I want to work in a bipartisan manner on both issues and I want to keep my door open to the Bush Administration on both of these issues.
Thus far, the President has not convinced me that overstretching our military even further is going to make a bit of difference in Iraq and I will oppose the troop increase that he has proposed. Iraq is on the brink of all-out civil war and only the Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds can make the tough choices necessary to reach a political settlement and stabilize the country.
The Iraqis won’t make these tough choices until they see that U.S. troops won't be there forever. We need to start bringing U.S. troops home now to motivate Iraqi leaders to do what it takes to brings stability to Iraq. Our courageous troops have been a crutch that Iraqis have leaned on for too long.
It disappoints me that the President is suggesting an escalation, which the military commanders, and even the Iraqi government, don’t support.
On another key issue, I appreciate that the Bush Administration has consulted with me on health care issues and I think that by working together, there’s a real opportunity to fix health care.
To fix health care, there are four essentials. The test of any health reform proposal should be: (1) does the proposal get affordable coverage to every American; (2) does it hold down health care costs; (3) does it strengthen the health care system over time; and (4) does it encourage wellness and prevention? It is not clear from tonight that the President’s plan passes any of these tests.
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