Southland lawmakers react to speech along party lines

first_imgSouthland Democrats pilloried President George W. Bush’s State of the Union speech Tuesday, saying it was littered with already broken promises on health care, energy and education, while area Republicans praised the address as a show of strong leadership at home and abroad. Following are reactions to Bush’s speech from Southern California members of Congress. Republicans: Rep. DAVID DREIER, R-Glendora: AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card “President Bush laid out a strong vision tonight for a more prosperous, more productive America.” Dreier praised Bush’s domestic agenda and credited the president with staying “resolute” on Iraq and the war on terrorism. “We need to stay focused. We need to see this through,” Dreier said, referring to the war in Iraq. Rep. ELTON GALLEGLY, R-Thousand Oaks, said Bush’s speech had a “human touch.” “It was clear to me he was making every effort to say, I want to work in a bipartisan way.” On Bush’s call to develop alternative energy sources, he noted: “We didn’t even hear those things during the Clinton administration.” Gallegly said he thinks Bush balanced the proposed new spending initiatives with calls to eliminate some 140 programs. New programs for energy and education might cost money, Gallegly said, “but it’s also the future of your country.” Democrats reacted with deep skepticism. Many said they share Bush’s vision of improving health care, alleviating poverty, addressing the continued scourge of AIDS and seeking alternative sources of energy – but said they don’t believe the administration will put up the money to cover its promises. Rep. BRAD SHERMAN, D-Sherman Oaks, described Bush’s speech as full of style but lacking in substance. And he noted that in calling for a reduced dependence on foreign oil, Bush did not encourage energy or fuel conservation, nor urge higher mileage standards. “This is a speech that would sound good listening to the radio in a Hummer,” Sherman said. He also noted that Exxon’s staggering $36 billion profit this quarter so far outweighs the $10 billion Bush boasted America has spent over the past five years on energy research that “that says to me the president is not seriously committed to alternative energy.” Sherman said the high point of the speech for him was when Bush noted that Congress failed to privatize Social Security and “one bald member of Congress” – namely, Sherman – stood up to clap. Democrats, most of whom strongly oppose privatization, followed suit. “I created the standing ovation for the president’s failure to change Social Security,” Sherman said. Rep. HENRY WAXMAN, D-Los Angeles, also panned Bush’s health savings account plan as combining “the worst elements of the president’s failed Social Security privatization plan and his Medicare prescription drug fiasco.” Waxman argued that the accounts would increase health care costs for consumers and force others to ration care, “embroiling them in a confusing morass of accounts and bills when they should be focused on their health.” Reps. Howard Berman, D-Van Nuys, and Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, did not respond to requests for comment. Lisa Friedman, (202) 662-8731 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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