Lawmakers react to State of the Union Address

January 30, 2002

Lawmakers react to State of the Union Address


Tri-State area members of Congress reacted Tuesday night to President Bush's State of the Union address, applauding his commitment to national security in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

- U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., said he believed this was the most applauded State of the Union address in history.

"Predictably, the president talked about the war on terrorism, homeland defense and the economy and that is exactly the order that Americans care about," Bartlett said in a telephone interview after the speech.

He said he was most impressed with the president's call for service - two years from all young men in the country in the military.


- "The president was right on target emphasizing winning the war on terrorism, protecting our homeland and economic security," said U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa. in a faxed response.

He said the president was poised, confident and demonstrated the leadership necessary for America in these troubled times.

While U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., had good things to say about the speech, his overall response was more reserved than those of some of his colleagues.

" I appreciate the president focusing so much on homeland defense. I only wish he had done so earlier. Six weeks ago, the administration opposed my effort to devote critical resources to homeland defense," Byrd said in an e-mailed response. "Now, the president is seeking $38 billion for these initiatives. I look forward to learning about his plan in more detail when the budget is presented next week."

Byrd pointed out that Bush said nothing about his proposed increases in defense spending and how he will do that without shorting education, health care and Social Security.

- "While I agree with the president that the safety of our citizens must be a top priority, every decision we make must also be good for West Virginia," U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said in a faxed response.

He pointed to steel and clean coal produced in West Virginia as necessary to national defense as well as economic security in the Mountain State.

Rockefeller said the president and the nation must also commit to providing health care coverage to all - veterans, children, the elderly and the uninsured.

- "Americans overwhelmingly endorse the president's agenda to win the war on terrorism, protect our homeland and revitalize our economy," said U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., via e-mail.

Shuster said that any plans for the country's future must include revitalizing the economy in central Pennsylvania.

"I believe the president set out a very sobering and severe statement about the terrorist threat," said U.S. Sen. Paul Sarbanes, D-Md., in an e-mailed comment. The address underscored how immense and daunting the challenge facing our country is, he said, especially in regard to the tens of thousands of terrorists spread throughout the world like ticking time bombs - set to go off without warning.

"There was however, a conflict and a contradiction in the president's goals," Sarbanes said, alluding to increased spending requests coupled with large tax cuts.

- U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., said she supports the president's call for Americans' continued commitments to acts of service since Sept. 11.

In a faxed statement, Capito also expressed her support for any measures that will ensure economic security.

"President Bush is right on target to ask one, fundamental question, 'what can we do to keep Americans working?' If people aren't working, then we will stifle our national economic engine," Capito said.

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