Ohio legislators laud proposals by Bush
Not all of the state's lawmakers were complimentary, though.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Several Ohio lawmakers praised President Bush's State of the Union proposals to help the nation's economy, singling out a new job training plan at community colleges that the president was touting in northwest Ohio today.
"I like this idea," said Sen. George Voinovich, a Cleveland Republican. "He recognized that there are a lot of people out there that don't have the skills to get the jobs that they need."
Rep. Ralph Regula, who chairs the House spending panel that funds education programs, also said he was excited about the president's job training proposals. The president was visiting Owens Community College, a school where enrollment has doubled over the last decade.
"If we are going to have a strong economy, we've have got to have an educated work force," said Regula, a Navarre Republican.
Bush said in his Tuesday speech that he was optimistic about the reviving economy and urged Congress to take steps to make sure the recovery lasts. "We must respond by helping more Americans gain the skills to find good jobs in our new economy," the president said.
Democrats were quick to take issue, noting that millions of jobs have been lost under Bush, that deficits are soaring and casualties are climbing in Iraq.
"I didn't hear much that I liked," said Rep. Sherrod Brown, a Lorain Democrat. "We've lost 2.5 million jobs and his prescription is more of the same, more tax cuts for the wealthy, continuing deficits and continued failed trade deals that hemorrhage jobs."
Rep. Tim Ryan, a Niles Democrat, criticized the president for failing to tell the American people about the real state of the union.
"Unfortunately, among other things, he failed in his explanation of the greatest job loss in a recovery since the Great Depression," he said. "Almost 2.5 million jobs have been lost in the last two years, and the president has no plan to put America back to work. The president's support of job-destroying trade deals and wasteful spending insures that job losses will continue for American workers."
Rep. Ted Strickland, a Democrat from Lisbon, said he was troubled both by what the president talked about and what he didn't talk about.
"The president didn't talk about the veterans and the fact that we are underfunding their health care and he didn't talk about the 9,000 soldiers that have been injured in Iraq," Strickland said.
Meanwhile, Ohio Republicans praised the president for a speech that they say focused on a successful national security agenda and impressive ideas to grow the economy.
"He recognized that while the economic recovery is well under way, we still need policies and programs that will lead to more and better jobs," said Rep. Pat Tiberi, a Columbus Republican.
Rep. Rob Portman, a Cincinnati Republican said the president "laid out a positive, hopeful agenda for the future."
Rep. Michael G. Oxley said the president also has made progress in the war on terrorism.
"When the president spoke one year ago, Saddam Hussein was in power," said Oxley, a Findlay Republican. "Iraq has been liberated, Saddam has been captured, and the U.S. has proven its resolve to confront tyranny and terror."
Backing security plan
Rep. Steve LaTourette agreed, saying the president's national security plan is working.
"The thing is, we haven't had an attack on American soil since September 11th. He's done his job," said LaTourette, a Madison Republican.
Also on the domestic front, Bush urged Congress to address the rising costs of health care with tax-free savings accounts for medical expenses, tax credits to pay for insurance and ceilings on medical malpractice damage awards.
"His proposals to extend health care are sensible," Voinovich said. "They are a real shot in the arm for people who are panicked about how they will provide health care for their families."
Rep. Dennis Kucinich, in New Hampshire after finishing fifth in Monday's Iowa Democratic presidential caucus, said Bush's health care proposals would help the insurance industry further take advantage of the American people.
He also criticized Bush for asking Congress to defend marriage a union only between men and women.
"It's unfortunate that the president is seeking to make a public cause of an attack on the rights of people to be able to fully participate in and enjoy the protections of laws in this country regardless of their sexual orientation," Kucinich said.