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Quotes from members of Congress and others

Reaction to President Bush's State of the Union address follows:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., on Bush's health-insurance proposals: "Punish people because they have good insurance? I don't think they would agree with that. Taxing people who have health insurance doesn't make sense to me."

Sen. James Webb, D-Va., on Bush's plan for Iraq: "Basically, they don't have a plan. They do not have an overarching strategy as to how we can bring this situation to a resolution. If you cannot clearly articulate the endpoint of a strategy you don't have one."

House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio: "This is a time for America to unite behind this plan, to help make it win."

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo.: "The president attempted to change the subject, to ignore the 800-pound gorilla in every citizen's living room. Our nation cannot and will not be able to move forward on a meaningful domestic agenda as long as the war in Iraq continues to escalate. I wish I could say Iraq was not all-consuming—but it absolutely is."

House Armed Services Chairman Ike Skelton, D-Mo.: "A decision to commit more troops and equipment to Iraq has serious consequences that may reduce America's ability to respond to other contingencies that threaten our national security. ... Because I am convinced a 20,000-troop increase is too little, far too late to make a difference in Iraq's security, this is a trade-off I cannot support."

Sen. Christopher Bond, R-Mo., the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee: "If Iraq descends into chaos, we risk wider regional conflict and the prospect of handing over to America's terrorist enemies a safe haven which they will use as a base to plan and launch attacks against our homeland. That is a risk we simply cannot afford."

Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla.: "The president has laid out a targeted, ambitious, and positive agenda—one that will benefit America. I am especially encouraged by the direction he's taking in the area of health insurance."

Ron Pollack, the executive director of Families USA, on the president's health care tax proposal: "The president's health proposal offers such small relief for uninsured, moderate-income, working families that health coverage will remain unaffordable. It's like throwing a ten-foot rope to someone in a 40-foot hole."

Rep. George Radanovich, R-Calif.: "He's facing a legislative body that's changed as a result of his policies, in large part because of his way of running the worldwide war on terror, especially in Iraq."

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.: "With not telling the truth in the past, do we really expect that the American people should suddenly say we support the president in wanting to increase the troops in Baghdad? On Iraq, the trust is gone."

Rep. Jim Costa, D-Calif.: "Unfortunately, if you evaluate our president's current credibility level, both at home and abroad, it's not good."

Rep. Henry E. Brown Jr., R-S.C.: "President Bush remains steadfast in his belief that we cannot leave Iraq in its present state. In fighting the Global War on Terror, our forces should not remain there a single day longer than necessary, but while deployed, they deserve our full support to ensure they have sufficient resources to accomplish their mission."

House Education Committee Chairman George Miller, D-Calif.: "President Bush is right that we cannot afford to go back to the status quo that existed before the enactment of No Child Left Behind. But the task of renewing the law will be made much more difficult if the president's budget fails to provide a substantial increase in funding for schools to carry out their responsibilities under the law."

Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz.: "Congress now has an opportunity to work on a bipartisan basis to address critical issues facing our country, like expanding access to health care. The president has brought serious proposals to the table to begin the debate, and I look forward to working to enact legislation to address these and other priorities of the American people."

R. Bruce Josten, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce executive vice president: "We are encouraged that the White House is attempting to present market-based solutions to the critical problems of the uninsured and the skyrocketing costs of health insurance. We look forward to seeing more details of this plan and will analyze it carefully."

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.: "It doesn't seem to be reaching for a vision that will truly address global warming and energy independence. It just seems like a little bit more of the same. ... It's not so much what the president says, it's what he does not say. At this stage, I don't see it as a call for action. I don't see it as America as the leader. ... There's a song by Peggy Lee that's titled `Is that all there is?' Overall, it's a huge disappointment."

Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., the top Republican on the Senate Environment Committee, downplayed President Bush's willingness to link carbon dioxide emissions to climate change. "I was very proud of him. He did not advocate any kind of a cap-in-trade policy. I know a lot of people were trying to get him to do it, and he realizes what would happen to the economy if we had such a thing."

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(Lesley Clark, David Goldstein, James Rosen, Kevin G. Hall, Tony Pugh and Michael Doyle contributed to this report.)

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(c) 2007, McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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