Burr Statement on the State of the Union Address by President George W. Bush

January 23, 2007

WASHINGTON, DC --- U.S. Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) made the following statement regarding the President's State of the Union Address:

"Tonight, President Bush outlined an aggressive domestic agenda as well as reiterated his strategy forward in Iraq. I was heartened to hear him talk about increasing access to affordable health care, improving fiscal responsibility, reducing our dependence on foreign sources of energy and enhancing our nation's energy security, strengthening our public schools, and passing immigration reform.

The rising cost of health care is a big concern for North Carolina families and businesses. I believe everyone should have access to affordable health care and currently, many minimum wage employees are uninsured. I think employers should have the option of providing minimum wage employees with health care benefits equaling the $2.10 wage increase currently being considered by Congress.

I believe Congress must be more fiscally responsible and better prioritize its spending. We should spend taxpayer dollars wisely or not at all. It is inexcusable earmarks are often added to legislation without anyone knowing about the projects. We cannot afford to overlook wasteful spending or we will leave our children with a legacy of unpaid debts.

Tonight President Bush also encouraged America to become less dependent on foreign sources of oil and to improve our energy security. I believe our nation must become more self-reliant by boosting domestic supplies of traditional energy sources like oil while encouraging development of new energy efficient technologies and renewable sources of energy.

Our public schools are the key to better paying jobs and a strong economy in our state. It is my hope that during the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act this year we can include reforms ensuring high school students not only graduate but that they graduate with the necessary skills to succeed in college and the workforce. This year I will introduce legislation to help improve high school graduation rates and make sure our young adults are prepared for their future.

Strengthened border security and comprehensive immigration reform are very important to North Carolinians. I do not support a blanket amnesty that would reward those who have broken the law by putting them on a direct path to citizenship. Our country has a rich history of welcoming legal immigrants but we should only permit those into our country who respect our laws, our system of government, and way of life.

In his speech, President Bush again recognized the importance of our mission in Iraq. I have always believed we must succeed in Iraq and that failure is not an option. We owe it to our troops and to the Iraqi people to remain committed to supporting a free and stable Iraq. It is critical for the Iraqi leadership to take immediate steps to disband the sectarian militias and death squads, pass key oil legislation, and hold provincial elections. Our success in Iraq will define the security of our children as well as generations to come."

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