Vermont’s delegation reacts to the State of the Union

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President Bush’s State of the Union address focused on the economy, and that’s a concern of Vermont’s Congressional delegation as well.

Congressman Peter Welch said in a statement that the economic stimulus package Bush announced might give a temporary boost to the economy. But Welch said it’s time to look for long-term change in the nation’s economic policies.

In a statement, Senator Patrick Leahy said that Congress has sought common ground with the president, and he’s rarely accepted the offer. But Leahy says the prospects for cooperation on the economy seem encouraging.

Senator Bernie Sanders said he wants to see a $500 bonus for low and middle income seniors, expansion of heating assistance and foods stamps, and other benefits added to the bill.

The war in Iraq is also a concern for the delegation.  Congressman Peter Welch said the speech was notable for what the president didn’t say, and that Bush neglected any mention of meaningful political progress in Iraq. Welch called the war a  "deadweight" on the economy.

Leahy said it’s evident that the President is deferring withdrawal of troops from Iraq and has decided to hand the problem off to his successor.

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