Archive for Wednesday, January 20, 1999

SPEECH

January 20, 1999

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Social Security was the highlight of the President's State of the Union address and of Kansas delegates' comments.

Kansas congressional delegates all had their own takes on the "laundry list" of proposals in the president's State of the Union address Tuesday night, including saving Social Security.

"It was a great speech," Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., said. "I liked our proposals better, but it was a great speech."

Freshman Rep. Dennis Moore, D-Kan., said that the speech contained a "laundry list of proposals" which included almost everything.

"I think it is just a very ambitious agenda," he said. "In reality, we're never going to see all of these become law. I hope some of the bigger issues will get some bipartisan support."

Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., said Congress would have to sort through the legislation proposed.

"Last session, he said the era of big government was over, and he listed 16 new programs," Roberts said. "This time I counted 24 new programs.

"We're going to have to separate what we can do under the budget and what we can't."

The big topic of the evening was Social Security. Moore and Brownback agreed that the program needs help and spoke of the need for a "bipartisan solution."

"I think we've got some room for a bipartisan solution that is greatly needed," Brownback said. He didn't agree, though, with the president's suggested uses of projected budget surpluses over the next few years.

"He spends the rest of the surplus and I think we'd be better start making tax cuts and paying down the deficit," he said. "We really do need to provide substantial tax relief to the American public."

Moore, on the other hand, supported the president's ideas for bolstering both Social Security and Medicare with budget surpluses.

"I think he came forward with at least a framework for saving Social Security," Moore said. "I'm really hopeful that both parties can get together over the next couple of months and come up with some bipartisan proposal for saving Social Security for the future. Frankly, the bottom line is that Medicare is in deeper financial trouble than Social Security. He's made a proposal that really would strengthen Medicare."

Roberts took issue with a different part of the address, the strength of the military.

"I'm going have a little quarrel with the president in reference to our military is strong," he said. "Our military today is stressed, it is strained and we have a hollow military. The Republican leadership is going to come forward. We're going to raise the ante to make sure that our military is truly strong."

However, on some of the president's other issues, like crop insurance and child care, he said he would work with the president.

"We need to work with the president, and we're going to do that," Roberts said.

-- Felicia Haynes' phone message number is 832-7173. Her e-mail address is fhaynes@ljworld.com.

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