A sampling of reaction to President Bush's State-of-the-Union address from Memphis-area congressional representatives:
9th District congressman Steve Cohen (Democrat): "We've seen this president, during the last six years of a Republican congress, create a disparity of wealth worse than anything we've seen since the 1920's, and now, with his proposal for 'health care,' he wants to increase that disparity from wealth to health. And with his Iraq proposals he shifted into stealth, dealing with what 'Maliki wanted,' not Americans. Just about all the experts, Baker-Hamilton and others, know his surge proposal isn't the right thing to do, and yet he goes ahead with it."
8th District congressman John Tanner (Democrat): "The American people have paid great costs - in terms of troop support, casualties and tax dollars - toward a goal that is increasingly impossible to obtain.... We cannot put additional strain on our military men and women and their families if it remains unlikely we will be able to achieve full victory, which should be redefined as stability in that region....."It is past time for this country to get back on the path toward a balanced budget...improving its oversight of the Administration's budgeting....I am encouraged by the President's pledge to promote bio-fuels from agricultural products grown in Tennessee and across the country."
7th District congressman Marsha Blackburn (Republican):: "I will continue to back our mission in the War on Terror, because it is critical to the continued security and prosperity of our country. The president has wisely listened to his troops and commanders in the field and acted accordingly....I applaud the President for calling for more private sector involvement in addressing the issue of adequate health care for the American people....
"On the other hand, I was deeply disappointed to hear the President continue to push amnesty for illegal aliens....Either we're a nation of laws, or we're not. Illegal aliens are here illegally."
Senator Bob Corker (Republican): "I was glad to hear the President focus on health care, on energy and on fiscal responsibility. It is vital that the federal government becomes fiscally responsible, and that we balance the budget while keeping taxes low and ending the abuse of wasteful earmarks. At the same time, to be prepared to compete in the 21st century, our country must embrace new technologies that lead to energy independence, and we must ensure that health care for our citizens becomes more accessible and affordable."
Senator Lamar Alexander (Republican): "The biggest news tonight was about health care costs and energy independence. The Presidents 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.
On energy independence, the Presidents proposal would reduce the use of gasoline by 20 percent over the next 10 years. This would help clean the air in Tennessee, reduce our dependence on foreign oil and create a new market for Tennessee agricultural products like corn and grass used for ethanol and other alternative fuels.