Canton Repository

January 29, 2003

Ohio Republicans, Dems split on Bush’s speech 

Copley Washington correspondent 

WASHINGTON — Ohio lawmakers were more divided over the second State of the Union speech from President Bush than they were last year, when the president spoke after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. 

Although Republican lawmakers supported most, if not all of his proposals, Democrats slammed his economic proposals and warned him to be careful in Iraq.

The reaction:

Rep. Ralph Regula,

R-Bethlehem Township

“I thought it was a good speech. He started out being the compassionate conservative that he said he is. I liked the programs he proposed. I think they’re designed to help people who need assistance.” Of the economic-stimulus and tax-cut package, he said, “I will carefully review these proposals as Congress debates them to determine that they are the best solution to the problems facing Ohioans today.” About Iraq, he said: “I believe America must stand for freedom and peace, and that we must act to make
the world safe from those who seek to promote instability, hatred and violence. I also believe that we can do this best by building an alliance of like-minded nations. When we act in concert, our actions carry more weight.”

Rep. Bob Ney, R-St. Clairsville

“The president was decisive. He was obviously strong,” he said. “I’m pleased President Bush recognizes that a true economic-stimulus bill must be centered around creating jobs and getting people back to work.” Ney supports the elimination of double taxation of dividends because “it makes business more honest. They’re going to report the bottom line in a more honest way. It will stimulate the stock market.” He said: “The president continues to just lay it on the line that Saddam Hussein is still a threat. But I think, at this point in time, I don’t think war is inevitable. Saddam Hussein could exit the country.” Ney said he was “very pleased to hear the president’s remarks on the
need to improve and strengthen our health-care system.”

Rep. Sherrod Brown, D-Lorain

About war with Iraq, he said: “The president should have used this speech to show that his administration recognizes the need for cooperative international action. I am disappointed that he failed to demonstrate solidarity with the international community and sympathy with the concerns of Americans wary of a rush to war.” Reacting to Bush’s health plan, he said: “I will not help the president force retirees into HMOs. His plan would pull the rug out from under seniors and disabled Americans, making them give up the reliable Medicare coverage they need, before they get the prescription-drug assistance they lack.”

Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Niles

“While the president has shown leadership in the war against terrorism, he has failed the American people on a number of other issues. Economic growth is the weakest in 50 years, and coupled with over 2 million job losses, has left working families struggling to survive,” he said. “States have been forced to cut key educational and health programs, and the president’s plan will cut state revenue this year by $4 billion. Also left out of the president’s plan are the 1 million employees who lost their jobs and their unemployment benefits.”

Rep. Ted Strickland, D-Lucasville

“The more than 700,000 people who lost their jobs since last year’s speech know that tax cuts targeted for the wealthy do nothing to stimulate the economy. The economic plan the president outlined tonight is no cure for what ails America. It’s just more of the same,” he said. He said about Iraq that Bush “has still not made a substantial case for engaging in a nearly unilateral war against Iraq. He still has time, but he is a long way from convincing the American people that our nation should act without the support of the United Nations to force Saddam Hussein from power.”

Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio

“Any stimulus plans should have an immediate, job-creating benefit without adding to our long-term deficit woes,” he said of the tax-cut proposal. “The president has jump-started the debate with a bold plan and it will be up to Congress now to immediately sift through all the various ideas and put out the best possible stimulus package.” He said about health care: “The soaring medical liability costs have added to the high cost of health insurance and threaten to put many doctors out of business, which would limit access to quality health care for many Americans. I strongly support the president’s call for reform.”