Washington Kansas' mostly Republican lawmakers in Congress praised President Bush on Tuesday night for his strong stand against global terrorism and his commitment to reduce dependence on foreign oil with alternative fuels.
In his annual State of the Union speech, the president projected an upbeat vision for America despite the lingering conflict in Iraq, skyrocketing oil prices and massive budget deficits.
Republican Sen. Pat Roberts said Bush was right to defend his administration's domestic spying program to monitor phone calls made to suspected terrorists abroad.
"He needs to use every constitutional tool at his disposal to find and capture or kill the enemies of this nation," said Roberts, who serves as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Reducing oil addiction
Republican Sen. Sam Brownback said he appreciated the president's strong response to the hard-line regime in Iran and its moves toward obtaining nuclear weapons.
Brownback also cheered the focus on increased federal research into alternative fuels such as ethanol. The president said the nation "is addicted to oil" and touted technology as the best way to break the habit.
In November, Brownback was part of a bipartisan group of senators who backed legislation that would save 2.5 million barrels of oil a day within a decade and 10 million barrels a day by 2031.
"We must be more energy independent and I support the president in efforts to make current tax cuts permanent and improve primary math and science education, all of which will help us continue to grow our economy," Brownback said.
'Number one issue'
Bush also urged the government to confront the rising cost of care and help people afford the insurance coverage they need, an issue Republican Rep. Jerry Moran, of Hays, calls "the number one issue we face in this country."
"I've been saying for several years that we really should get the policy makers in Washington to focus on what we can do to improve health care," Moran said. "We need to get to the underlying issue of why health care costs seem to escalate every year."
Rep. Dennis Moore of Lenexa - the only Democrat in the Kansas delegation - said he was glad Bush focused on improving the health care system.
"But I'm disappointed he didn't address, in detail, the problems with the new Medicare prescription drug program," Moore said.
Kansas and other states have been dealing with massive confusion this year over the Medicare Part D drug benefit that allows Medicare recipients to obtain insurance coverage for drug purchases. Some states have had to pay to help cover drug costs until the federal government works out problems with the new system.
Tiahrt's work cited
Rep. Todd Tiahrt, a Goddard Republican, said Bush mentioned many of the items Tiahrt has been highlighting over the past three years in his effort to make the nation competitive with emerging economies in Asia and India.
White House officials contacted Tiahrt last week and again Tuesday to discuss his work as co-chairman of two economic competitiveness groups. Tiahrt said he was pleased Bush focused attention on health care costs, the need for focused research and development, improving education in math science and technology and the burden taxes place on the economy.
"The White House actually called my office last week and asked for some of the stuff I had been working on the last few years and he actually put it into his speech," Tiahrt said.
Republican Rep. Jim Ryun, of Lawrence, said he found the president's remarks on health savings accounts encouraging.
"The ability for workers to control their own health care will give more stability to Kansas families during times of need," Ryun said.