January 23, 2007

CRAPO: PRESIDENTâ??S SPEECH SETS GOOD TONE

Challenges facing country include immigration, national security, healthcare

Washington, DC â?? Idaho Senator Mike Crapo issued the following statement regarding the Presidentâ??s annual State of the Union address delivered to Congress this evening:â??Tonightâ??s speech recognized the hard tasks facing Congress as well as the bipartisan support that will be necessary for our country to progress and resolve some long-standing domestic issues,â?? Crapo said. â??The tone that President Bush set from the beginning recognized the dissatisfaction that the American public has expressed on the direction of the country, and he set out some domestic and foreign policy goals that are not only needed, but have the potential to bring Congress together in solving some tough challenges we face.â??I particularly noted his desire to improve the No Child Left Behind Act, as that is a priority of mine as well. Earlier this week, I re-introduced legislation to address some of the very issues that the President mentioned. I look forward to working with my colleagues and the Administration to strengthen our public education system and keep our students competitive.â??The initiatives laid out on health care were broad and will require much discussion. All Americans deserve to have access to high-quality healthcare and the Presidentâ??s proposal to make health insurance more affordable through the tax code may be a good approach. Healthcare decisions must remain with patients and doctors, and I will support efforts that will keep those decisions at that level.â??One of the most daunting challenges facing our country right now is immigration and, again, the President has laid out a plan that touches on many of the issues that so deeply concern Idahoans and othersâ??secure borders, jobs for Americans, criminals conducting illegal activities across the border. It is important that we find solutions to these issues, and I expect to fully participate in the debate that will continue over immigration.â??It was terrific to hear the President endorse the need for renewable and alternative energies. As a member of the Senate Renewable and Energy Efficiency Caucus, I have long advocated increasing our efforts to reduce dependence on foreign oil. It is within our own interests to reduce our reliance on traditional energy sources and find ways to conserve energy, improve efficiency and pioneer alternative and renewable energy choices.â??Finally, the President wound up his speech discussing foreign policy and the War on Terror. This issue has deeply divided our nation, and as we discuss and debate our countryâ??s options, we must keep our national security at the forefront. As I continue to review the Presidentâ??s proposals as well as the legislation and resolutions proposed by various Senators, I agree that it is necessary to work together, to continue the debate, and to ascertain the most effective way to keep American citizens safe from terrorism, regardless of whether they are at home or abroad.â??Crapo concluded, â??Tonight, the President did exactly what he needed to do. The election in November left both the House of Representatives and the Senate with a change in leadership and razor-thin margins. The speech noted that and concluded correctly that it isnâ??t so important on which side of the aisle you sit, but whether you are willing to walk across the aisle to find solutions to the challenges our country faces. I look forward to discussing, debating, and hopefully resolving these issues as the 110th Congress moves ahead.â??