Knoxville (WVLT/AP) - Our US lawmakers from Tennessee are responding to the President's State Of The Union Address.
Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) Reacts to First State of the Union as Senator
Freshman Republican Senator Bob Corker said he looks forward to working with the Senate and members of the House to enact the Presidents call for energy independence and affordable healthcare.
"I look forward to working with members of the senate and the house to really move our country ahead. To make healthcare more affordable, to make us less dependent on energy and to really work towards a balanced budget."
Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) Comments on State of the Union
In a written statement issued by Senator Lamar Alexander, the state's senior senator said the President's plan for improved healthcare could be beneficial to a large number of Tennesseans.
The Senator said, "The biggest news tonight was about health care costs and energy independence. The President's proposal to lower healthcare costs was this: 80 percent of working Tennesseans could save more than $3,000 on average in federal income taxes and payroll taxes which they then could use to buy health insurance. "
Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN) Shares Thoughts on Address
On the Democratic side, Tennessee Congressman Steve Cohen issued a response. In it, Congressman Cohen, said the President is continuing to act against the wishes of the American people.
"The cost to this country in dollars and cents and human lives and in respect is so great no other issue is so important. Unfortunately, our President is going against the words of the Iraqi president, his own generals, the Baker/Hamilton Report, Democratic Congress and the American people."
Bush defends Iraq plan to Congress makes domestic proposals
President Bush has used his sixth State Of The Union Address to ask Congress to give his Iraq policy "a chance to work."
Bush said his plan to increase troop levels is the best hope in a war the US must not lose. While he addressed domestic issues in the address, the war in Iraq and anti-terror efforts were a key focus.
On domestic matters, he pressed congress to help find ways to overhaul entitlements such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
The President also reached out to Democrats. He opened with a tribute to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and shook her hand. He noted that the Congress has changed, but that its responsibilities have not.
Bush gives speech in a hive of presidential wannabes
Ten Senators and Members of Congress who are vying for the presidency are among those present for President Bush's sixth State Of The Union Address.
They include top-tier prospects such as Hillary Clinton, John McCain and Barack Obama.
It's the first time a President has used the words "Madame Speaker," a reference to Nancy Pelosi.
Also present for the annual speech, were the Chief Justice of the United States and members of the Supreme Court.
Attorney General skips speech as precaution
By tradition, a member of the President's cabinet forgoes attending the State of the Union Address in case of an attack or accident.
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is the one who stayed away from Capitol Hill.
His absence is a precaution against the entire administration being wiped out in a catastrophe. Veteran Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson stayed behind last year.
Bush: 'This economy is on the move'
President Bush has touted the country's job growth in his address.
Bush says with 7.2 million jobs created so far, the economy is "on the move."
He says the way to keep unemployment and inflation low and raise wages is with more "enterprise," not more government.
Bush shares health care proposals
President Bush has used his address to pitch proposals he says will improve the health care system.
Bush called for changing the tax code to encourage more people not covered by medical insurance to buy a plan, and to discourage others from keeping the most costly health care plans.
Under Bush's proposal, employer-financed health care benefits would be considered taxable income after a deduction of $15,000 for families and $7,500 for individuals. Those buying their own plan would get the same deductions on their taxes.
His second proposal calls for states to get federal funding to help provide coverage for those without insurance. Bush says states providing private coverage should also provide it to "the poor and the sick."
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