January 31, 2006

Crapo: Bush Addressed Tough, Issues, Offered Answers in State of the Union

Health care, energy, sound fiscal policy, terrorism continue to dominate agenda

Washington, DC - Idaho Senator Mike Crapo released the following statement regarding the President's State of the Union Address this evening: "The President addressed some very tough issues tonight and I commend him for the courage to do so. He offered explanations for terrorist surveillance and reiterated the goals and progress our military is achieving in Iraq. He also clearly laid out the concerns that face the United States if we were to simply pull our troops out of the Middle East."On the domestic front, he tackled the economic concerns that many of us share. As a member of the Senate Budget Committee, I am particularly interested in the Administration's budget proposal which will be unveiled next week. Tonight the President talked about reducing or eliminating dozens of ineffective and wasteful programs. I hope we can work together to make government effective and efficient. Entitlement spending is one of the most challenging issues that we will face as Baby Boomers turn 60. In the Senate Finance Committee, where I also serve, we will take up the concerns dealing with Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. This spending is only going to increase as more Americans reach the appropriate age and it will be useful to have a commission to examine the full impact of Baby Boom retirements."I agree with the President's assessment on tax cuts, particularly capital gains and dividends. While I expect a continued full debate over making the tax cuts permanent, it is obvious that they have already played a role in economic growth. One example is the qualified tuition deduction for students. Congress must pass the reconciliation bill currently pending in the Senate, or this deduction will no longer be available to the many families who need it in order to afford a college education."The rising cost of health care will hit every American and I agree with the President's assessment that this must be dealt with. As a long-time advocate of telehealth measures, I was pleased with his support of electronic health information technology. Health savings accounts are also a measure that can make a difference for individuals and small businesses. "Lastly, the President's commitment to affordable energy was heartening. Without a strong commitment to research and education, we will not be able to meet our ever-growing energy needs. With this speech tonight, the President has clearly outlined his goals for the next year and I look forward to working with him and other members of Congress to put together programs and legislation that will keep America strong."# # #