Statement of the Honorable Howard Coble on the Presidential State of the Union Address
Washington, Feb 2 - "I have previously indicated that President Bush's proposal to encourage individual taxpayers to personalize a portion of their Social Security investment has some merit, and I was pleased to hear him talk about that tonight. In conversations that I have had with members of the younger generation, many have expressed to me their firm belief that they will never realize any benefits from Social Security. I disagree with that assessment, and have told them so. President Bush's speech tonight could offer some hope to our young people that Social Security will be there for them when they retire. Of course, we need to reassure Americans already receiving Social Security or who are at least 55 years old, there will be no impact on them and they will remain in the current system.
"I was particularly impressed with President Bush's comments on the situation in the Middle East. The President's statement, 'The goal of two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace is within reach - and America will help them achieve that goal' is an important first step on the road to bringing a lasting peace to the Middle East, and I applaud President Bush for his efforts in this area.
"Of course, everyone was most interested in hearing what the President had to say about the situation in Iraq, as was I. One statement that particularly resonated with me was when the President said that the United States will 'increasingly focus our efforts on helping prepare more capable Iraqi security forces - forces with skilled officers, and an effective command structure.' This was an important statement because I hope this will lead to discussions of when the United States can begin to reduce its troop commitment in Iraq, a commitment that has been very expensive in the number of American deaths and wounded and costs to the American taxpayers."