WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) made these comments on President Bush’s State of the Union Address.
Economy and Earmarks:
"Two major items Congress should focus on if we want to ensure a strong economy in future years are making the Bush tax cuts permanent and getting a grip on how we spend the taxpayer’s hard-earned dollar.
"I hope Congress will join with the President to make the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts permanent. If the tax cuts are not made permanent, 116 million Americans will see their taxes rise by an average of $1,800. Making the tax cuts permanent will help business and individuals plan for the future and know what their long-term tax liability will be. It’s time to get this done.
"President Bush is also right to call for a reduction in both the number and dollar amount of congressional earmarks. While I don’t have a problem with Congress having a say in how the federal government spends money, I also believe the earmarking process has gotten way out of hand.
"When Congress is spending $250 million on a bridge to serve 50 people, it’s pretty obvious the process is broken. Hopefully, the President’s proposal will help get us back on the right track when it comes to spending the taxpayer’s dollar."
Iraq and the Global War on Terror:
"The situation in Iraq looks quite different than it did one year ago.
"At that time, many in the Congress were fighting against the surge. Some were preparing to say the war in Iraq was lost while others were preparing for an American defeat. Thanks to a new strategy, new commander, and the hard work of our brave men and women in uniform, we have seen a phenomenal turnaround in Iraq.
"While there remains more work to be done, now is the time for Republicans and Democrats to embrace the positive effects of the surge and build upon the successes that have been achieved. We should also offer our thanks and appreciation to our American troops and commanders. They have truly made us proud."
Graham on First Lieutenant Andrew Kinard (USMC) in Attendance as a Guest of the First Lady
"The First Lady could not have found a more deserving young Marine to honor than Andrew Kinard. Andrew represents the bravery of all of our men and women serving in Iraq. He is a wonderful young man who makes us all proud."