January 23,2007

Finance Committee Chairman Baucus Responds to President’s State Of The Union Proposals

Senator calls for efforts to work together on health, energy issues

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, tonight issued the following comments on President George W. Bush’s State of the Union address:

“Americans want results from Congress, and we have committed to working with the President to do what’s right for the American people. Differences exist tonight, but so do opportunities to move forward together – particularly on health care and energy.

“The President is right to recognize that we have to start reforming health care now, or else risk Americans’ lives and the loss of our economic competitiveness. I plan to review his ideas carefully. To get traction, his proposals need to meet two tests: getting new health coverage to people who have none, and better coverage to those who don’t have enough. We can’t just rearrange the chairs on the deck of our sinking health care system. And we can't be careless with the safety net on which millions of Americans currently rely. In the coming weeks I will move aggressively to renew and expand children’s health care coverage through the CHIP program, and to explore pooling arrangements that may extend health coverage to even more Americans.

“There’s tremendous momentum for bipartisan action on energy, and I want to strike while the iron is hot. My home state of Montana has abundant natural resources, and I intend to enact tax incentives for renewable resources and new energy technologies through the Finance Committee this year. For starters, we need to up our investments in clean coal and cellulosic ethanol. I agree that we can work together to responsibly produce more energy at home.”

“We need to start a productive conversation on entitlement reforms as well – one that is real, bipartisan, and puts more than benefit cuts on the table. Protecting Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security for the future should be a mutual priority for Congress and the President.”

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