Thursday, January 28, 2010

Isakson Statement on State of the Union

‘There Is One Major Issue on People’s Minds: Jobs and the Economy. It’s Essential that the President Start to Handle It in a Meaningful Way’

U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., tonight issued the following statement following President Obama’s State of the Union address:

“I know from traveling Georgia there is one major issue on people’s minds: jobs and the economy. It’s essential that the President start to handle it in a meaningful way. It’s obvious the stimulus didn’t help with the unemployment situation. We have a very uncertain marketplace right now. We need to bring clarity and opportunity for the private sector to make those investments that are necessary to bring back our economy.

“I’m glad the president has finally realized that spending is a problem. The only problem with freezing it at current levels is it includes all the money that’s been spent for the stimulus. It includes all of the budget increases from last year, in some cases 20 percent increases in one year. It’s also inconsistent to come to us tonight and ask us to cap spending while on the Senate floor he’s asking us to raise the debt by almost $2 trillion.

“The American people expect us to spend their money like they spend their money. Sitting around the kitchen table, establishing priorities, not going into debt, spending money only where it should be spent. That’s what the federal government needs to be doing. Caps are fine. Limitations are fine. But they need to be meaningful and they need to be consistent with debt borrowing, and they’re not right now.

“On national security, while I was pleased with the president’s decision to send 37,000 troops to Afghanistan, I’ve been deeply disappointed that the president has decided to grant constitutional rights to foreign enemy combatants. To send Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to New York City where he was the mastermind of the slaughter of almost 3,000 Americans and hold a trial in that city in my opinion is just plain wrong. We were right to establish the facility at Guantanamo Bay. We were right to establish military tribunals. It is wrong to grant American constitutional rights to a terrorist from another country.

“On health care, the American people think we need to get back to the basics and start over. I think we ought to do a step-by-step approach. For example, we know by allowing insurance to be sold across state lines and forming risk pools across state lines that we can open accessibility to affordable health care for almost a third of the uninsured. We know that a third of the uninsured are really eligible for Medicare, Medicaid or SCHIP but they’re not enrolled. The government ought to have an enrolment system so when they show up at health care facilities the coverage is there. There are other things we need to do including tort reform. The tremendous amount of money that goes out in runaway verdicts or from negotiated settlements out fear of going to trial is just not right. I would rather us start with a step-by-step approach that deals with the things we know we can do rather than a comprehensive and pervasive overhaul of a system that ends up destroying what 86 percent of Americans have all for the 14 percent who don’t.”
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