Monday, January 28, 2008

Blunt: We stand ready and able to fight

Seventh District Congressman Roy Blunt released the following statement after President Bush's seventh and final State of the Union address:

"The president used his final State of the Union address tonight to
bring a number of important issues to the forefront, none more important
than the challenge of keeping the American people safe and secure in a
dangerous, increasingly divisive world.

"To that end, I share the president's strong belief in the continued
need for good, sound intelligence. That can only be achieved by equipping
our intelligence community with the tools and authority they need to do
their job.

"One way Congress can provide those tools is to pass a long-term and
comprehensive plan to finally fix to our nation's foreign surveillance
laws. Unfortunately, all the majority appears willing to do is bring up a
short-term, short-sighted patch - as if the business of securing our nation
can be accomplished through a series of temporary extensions.

"As critical as strengthening our nation's security, the president also
talked about securing our economic future as well - both in the near-term,
as well as in promoting long-term growth. It is my hope that we can get the
economic stimulus package negotiated in the House to the president in next
several weeks. As it moves through the Senate, its focus should remain on
providing tax relief to individuals and businesses rather than finding new
ways for the government to spend money.

"As we look to strengthen our country's economic and national security,
international trade must be a part of the discussion. The president tonight
refocused attention on the importance of building relationships with our
friends in Latin America, and I couldn't agree more.

"Congress should respond by bringing forth the pending free trade
agreement with Colombia - a country of 45 million would-be consumers of
American products.

"The president insisted we must leave Iraq on our own terms, not those
of our enemy: a point of serious disagreement between Republicans and
Democrats in Congress. More than 60 separate votes were called on Iraq this
past year - few of them substantive, and even fewer put the needs of our
men and women in uniform first. It's my hope this new year will reveal a
new approach on this crucial issue from the majority.

"In the president's last year in office, I believe he stands behind the
podium in a much stronger position tonight than he did last year. He has
demonstrated his ability to lead our nation and take tough stands when
needed. We will not see President Bush coast to the finish - we will see a
strong sprint.

"Congress has a unique opportunity to finish the work of years past,
while creating the conditions necessary for Americans to succeed in the
future. We must work with the president to advance an agenda that keeps
taxes low, freedom intact, and our nation secure. To the extent possible,
Republicans look forward to working with our colleagues across the aisle on
these and other issues as the new year takes shape. Where necessary,
however, we stand ready and able to fight."

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