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Senate Republican Leader Comments on President's State of the Union Address

Location: Washington, DC

Senate Republican Leader Comments on President's State of the Union Address

McConnell: Together We Can Tackle the Big Issues

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell released the following statement Tuesday after the President's State of the Union Address:

"The President's bold, specific challenge to the Congress is to work together to tackle the big issues facing our nation. And I believe we can find big solutions to big problems, but only if the debate is aimed at accomplishment over political gain. A stable Iraq that is an ally in the war on terror, Social Security and Medicare reform, energy independence, and a commonsense approach to border security and immigration reform are just a few of the top issues we are facing. I believe we have the rare opportunity to find bold solutions for many of these issues, and I take up the President's challenge to set an ambitious course for our country.

* * *

IRAQ: "Americans want to see success in Iraq. We are not a country that shies from challenges. The President should be given a chance to carry out his plan for a secure Iraq. Rather than condemn it before it even starts, we must give it a proper chance to succeed while continuing to have a productive debate on how we can help to stabilize Iraq."

BALANCED BUDGET AND TAX RELIEF: "Americans have come to expect a strong economy, and Republicans in the Senate will not let the tax relief that fostered it be reversed. Our tax reform policies have worked. We won't relent. Republicans used the strong economic climate to cut the deficit. We cut it in half even more quickly than anyone thought we would. And working together, with the President and across the aisle, we must continue that trend and balance the budget within five years."

ENERGY SECURITY: "By calling for a 20 percent reduction in gasoline consumption over the next 10 years, the President challenged the Congress to take a major step toward energy independence and stronger energy security. Setting a specific and measurable goal to reduce our reliance on foreign energy and expand the use of alternative fuels will prove far more effective than the rhetoric and partisan attacks that too often replace constructive policy."

GREATER ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE: "The President's plan to help the uninsured through reforming the tax code is the type of commonsense initiative we need to encourage greater participation. The government can provide the tools necessary for individuals to buy affordable, quality health insurance for their families—and then get out of the way and let them make their own choices."

IMMIGRATION AND BORDER SECURITY: "Like the President, I too see a great opportunity for immigration and border security reform. We have the opportunity to work together to reform the system - without granting amnesty - to ensure that immigrants who want to come here to work, come here legally.

"Divided government has historically provided opportunities for major accomplishments; this Congress should reach for similar bold solutions. And though there will be disagreements, we can find agreement on the outcomes we wish to achieve. I call on my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to put politics aside and work together to find innovative ways to tackle these issues."

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