Reaction Of Senator Patrick Leahy To The President's State Of The Union Message

The President set forth wise priorities with a proper sense of urgency.  He also helped heal the nation with his deeply moving call for civility and respectful debate.  Mindless political point-scoring, demonizing and ‘my way or no way’ obstructionism are ‘luxuries’ the American people can no longer afford, let alone stomach.

What we saw in him tonight was a little less of the professor and a little more of the statesman.  The American people largely agree with his diagnosis of our greatest challenges.

Two high priorities of mine on the Senate Judiciary Committee will directly complement the President's jobs and deficit reduction agenda.  The bipartisan patent reform bill that I introduced today will strengthen our position as the world leader in innovation, without adding a penny to the deficit.  And the anti-fraud laws I have championed already are saving taxpayers billions of dollars.  Fraud is the focus this week of the Judiciary Committee’s very first hearing of the new Congress, as we start to consider a new round of initiatives to root out fraud and to recapture ill-gotten gains.

Governing and budgeting are about choices and priorities, and I agree with the President that our budget focus needs to be on what makes America stronger.  In Congress, restoring fiscal responsibility is a worthy goal that spawns 535 different answers, and there is merit in many of them.  It is a crucially important goal, and we cannot afford to let our differences define the nation’s future.  With civility and respect we can forge solutions for the good of the country.  With civility and respect, we also will discover that we agree on more than we expect we do.

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