Bush delivers seventh State of the Union address

Published 6:07 pm Monday, January 29, 2007

By By Jo Bonner
Last week, President Bush came to the Capitol and delivered his seventh State of the Union address to the American people.
Given the uncertain climate – not only in Washington, D.C. – but throughout the world, the president did a solid job in addressing many of the top issues of the day while reporting the state of our union is strong.
He continued building upon a theme of calling on Congress to set aside differences in order to work together in accomplishing the work of the American people and building a brighter future.
That future, he said, starts with our growing economy, which is in its 41st month of uninterrupted job growth and has created 7.2 million new jobs. Nationally, the unemployment rate is 4.3 percent; however, Alabama's unemployment rate, 3.3 percent, is well below the national figure.
The president laid out an ambitious domestic agenda. He clearly challenged Congress to work towards solutions for a number of issues including our nation's energy, immigration, and health care problems.
For energy, the president asked Congress and America's scientists, farmers, industry leaders, and entrepreneurs to join him in pursuing the goal of reducing U.S. gasoline usage by 20 percent in the next ten years. A plan he calls – "Twenty in Ten."
According to the president, "Twenty in Ten" will be accomplished in two ways: increasing the supply of renewable and alternative fuels by setting a mandatory fuels standard to require 35 billion gallons of renewable and alternative fuels in 2017 and reforming and modernizing corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards for cars and extending the current light truck rule.
The president once again called on Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform that secures our borders, enhances enforcement, create an additional temporary worker program, resolves the status of illegal immigrants already here without granting amnesty, and promotes assimilation into our society.
The president also announced his plan to reform private health insurance. His plan has two parts: reforming the tax code with a standard deduction for health insurance and aiding states in providing private health insurance to their citizens.
Clearly, there is no subject more front and center than that of the war in Iraq and the ongoing War on Terror. The president presented his resolve to defeat the terrorists who are working to increase their numbers and defeat us in Iraq. He stated, "To win the war on terror, we must take the fight to the enemy."
Earlier this month, the president presented his plan to deploy more than 20,000 additional soldiers and Marines to Iraq in order to secure Baghdad. Just last week, the expected new commander in Iraq, Lt. Gen. David Petraeus, testified before Congress of the need for this surge of troops.
Gen. Petraeus has twice served as a commander in Iraq and has received strong endorsements from senators on both sides of the aisle. He is regarded by many as one of the military's most talented officers, and I hope that his confirmation process moves through the Senate swiftly. The next six months are critical to the success of our mission in Iraq, and it is critical that he be in place to lead our troops in stabilizing Iraq.
I look forward to reviewing in greater detail each of the president's proposals in the weeks ahead.
New, Improved Website Launches
In an effort to provide the constituents of Alabama's First District with improved online services and information, we launched my new, official website last week. It can be accessed at http://bonner.house.gov .
Among the many features, the new website includes detailed information on the following items: flag requests; U.S. Capitol tours; visiting Washington, D.C.; and dealing with federal bureaucracies.
An enhanced student section provides an application for internships, information on service academy nominations, and provides younger children with educational resources.
There are also sections that feature my biographical information; official photo; and archived press releases, weekly columns, radio clips and newsletters.
My staff and I have been working for the past several months to update this website with the goal of making it more user-friendly. This new – and hopefully improved – website is now live on the internet, and I invite you to visit.
My staff and I work for you. If we can ever be of service, do not hesitate to call my office toll free at 1-800-288-8721 or visit my website at http://bonner.house.gov.
Jo Bonner is a U.S. congressman. His column appears weekly.

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