Reactions to the State of the Union address
Published in News on February 3, 2005 2:07 PM
North Carolina's congressional delegation predictably split along party lines in their reaction to President Bush's State of the Union address.
Bush's proposal to revamp Social Security drew the most comments.
Democrat G.K. Butterfield, a freshman congressman, accused Bush of wanting to "dismantle Social Security as we know it. Instead, I want to save, strengthen and preserve Social Security for the future. We have to meet the challenges facing the program in ways that ensure that every American worker gets the benefits they paid for."
First-term Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry said Bush has "taken on the tough issue of saving Social Security for future generations, while maintaining our commitment to those at or near retirement age."
Rep. Walter B. Jones Jr., said the Social Security issue is too complex for snap judgments.
"Tonight, the president proposed some ideas to reform the system," Jones said, "and I look forward to seeing the details of his proposal. I also look forward to continue hearing from eastern North Carolinians about their ideas to strengthen the system."
Jones also commented on the President's plans to cut the federal government's budget deficit in half during his second term.
"Our nation's deficit is at a record high," Jones said. "That is irresponsible, and I support the president in his efforts to finally clamp down on unnecessary spending. It is something we must do for the future of America."
Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole said Bush "spoke candidly about the solvency of Social Security" and that his proposed tax reforms "will allow North Carolinians to keep more of their hard-earned money and will allow small businesses to grow."
Republican Rep. Virginia Foxx, in her first term, said Bush "made the case for Social Security reform so that our children and grandchildren can have a secure retirement.
"Obviously, the details on how we are going to get there will have to be ironed out in the upcoming months. I look forward to seeing the details of his plan."
Democratic Rep. Bob Etheridge called Bush's Social Security proposal "a risky scheme" that "cuts benefits for every American worker and borrows trillions of dollars but will not save Social Security.
"That's not Social Security reform, its just a 'Super Casino' where Wall Street bankers make off like bandits and North Carolina workers get left holding the bag."
The chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, Democratic Rep. Mel Watt, said the speech "was heavy on symbolism and very, very short on substance.
"A lot of code words, freedom and apple pie and motherhood. There was no substance there. Maybe that's his version of the state of the nation. A lot of promises. No particular avenues for delivering on it."
Rep. David Price, a Democrat, said Bush's speech disappointed him.
"Tonight, I hoped to hear honesty from the President: a straightforward account of the situation in Iraq, a real plan to balance the budget, and a realistic projection of his Social Security plan," Price said.
"I am disappointed on all three counts."
Price said Bush's plans for tax reform, war and Social Security mean the federal budget cannot be balanced.
"His plan adds $2 trillion to the national debt, making the 'voodoo economics' of the 80s seem like sound fiscal policy," Price said. "His fiscal recklessness will ultimately drive interest rates through the roof, affecting the lives of every North Carolinian."
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