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Alabama lawmakers on issues in Bush’s speech

The following are comments from the members of North Alabama’s congressional delegation following President Bush’s State of the Union address Tuesday night: Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Mobile:

On the president’s plan to send more than 20,000 additional troops to Iraq: “The president needed to make his case to the American people. The Congress should already have a pretty good appreciation of it. ... I think (Gen. David Petraeus’) testimony (Tuesday) about the details and how they’ll use those troops was very effective. ... I don’t think, at this point, we’ll have an effort to cut off funds for the troops. I would expect that the president would be allowed to execute this policy, and we’ll just hope that it works. It’s a tough, grim situation.

“The president was correct to say ... that the stakes are high and that it’s important that we be successful.”

On immigration: “I thought the immigration part of his speech was maybe the weakest part of it. ... A guest worker program would be something we should consider, but the guest worker program in the previous bill was a disaster. He said no amnesty, and I agree with that, but what did he mean by that? There has to be a consequence to entering the United States illegally.” Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa:

On Iraq: “Just over a week ago, the president addressed the nation about the ongoing violence in Iraq. He outlined his proposal to increase the number of troops in Iraq and he touched on that topic again tonight.
I continue to believe that we must support our troops regardless of the circumstances. It is essential that they have the best equipment, supplies, and leadership necessary to get the job done.

“However, I have expressed my reservations about the president’s plan and will continue to question the president and our military leaders to make certain that we do everything we can to ensure that the Iraqi people take responsibility for their government and their country so that our men and women in uniform can return home.”

On immigration: “Once again, the president used his State of the Union address to advocate his immigration proposal. However, what the president discussed tonight is no different from what he has proposed in previous Congresses.

“Yet again, the president’s proposal offers amnesty to illegal immigrants, and I will not support any legislation that turns a blind eye and rewards illegal immigrants for breaking the law. Amnesty will only serve to embolden those seeking to break our laws and come to the United States illegally in the future. The American people deserve better.” Rep Bud Cramer, D-Huntsville:

“I join the president in his commitment to re-establish fiscal discipline in the federal budget. As a founder and former co-chairman of the Blue Dog Coalition, I have pressed for responsible budgeting programs, such as pay-as-you-go spending rules to help balance the budget.

“I look forward to learning more about the president’s proposals to reduce the deficit and to developing an agenda that both sides of the aisle can support.” Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Haleyville:

“I believe that as commander-in-chief, President Bush deserves some leeway in determining our nation’s military strategy to achieving victory in Iraq. Failure in Iraq is not an option. I hope that Congress will keep that in mind during our deliberations on the issue.

“At the same time, it’s important that Congress continue to monitor the situation closely and work with the president in a bipartisan manner to ensure that we are accomplishing our mission in Iraq.”

Franklin Harris

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