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 TIME on politics Congressional Quarterly CNN/AllPolitics CNN/AllPolitics - Storypage, with TIME and Congressional Quarterly

In State of Union response, GOP promises to stick to 'practical matters'

January 20, 1999
Web posted at: 12:13 a.m. EDT (0013 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Two House Republicans considered to be rising stars within the party delivered the GOP response to President Clinton's State of the Union address Tuesday night.

Rep. Jennifer Dunn of Washington focused on tax relief and Social Security reform, while Rep. Steve Largent of Oklahoma discussed education and national defense.

Smiling broadly, the two appeared together on a balcony with the white-domed Capitol looming in the darkened background.

Dunn: Cut taxes and save Social Security

Dunn, one of the most prominent GOP women in the House, promised that Republicans would concentrate on "practical matters" and not let the impeachment trial of Clinton wreak havoc on the nation.


"Our country is not in crisis; there are no tanks in the streets," Dunn said. "No matter what the outcome of the president's situation, life in America will go on. Our lives will continue to be filled with practical matters, not constitutional ones."

Dunn echoed Republican frustrations that Clinton's budget proposal included no income tax cuts. She argued that there is enough money in the budget surplus to save Social Security and allow for a 10 percent across-the-board cut in income tax.

She also called for elimination of the "marriage penalty" tax and a cut in death taxes "so that families don't have the sell their businesses and farms when Mom and Dad die."

Dunn dedicated the second part of her presentation to Social Security.

"We must keep our contract with our senior citizens who depend on Social Security for part or all of their retirement income. This nation made that promise long ago, and we will keep that promise," she said.

She criticized Clinton's Social Security plan to establish 401(k)-style Universal Savings Accounts for giving "government more control of your income."

Dunn said that Republicans wanted to focus on giving Americans the choice of investing some of their Social Security dollars into private retirement accounts.

Largent sounds popular conservative themes

The second half of the GOP response was delivered by Rep. Largent, whose unsuccessful attempt to topple House Majority Leader Richard Armey of Texas in November gained him popularity.


Largent sounded solid Republic themes, such as less government, free enterprise and a stronger national defense while touching on themes popular among social conservatives.

"We must never become complacent in what is still a dangerous world," said Largent, calling for a "viable missile defense system" to protect the United States.

Largent called for more local control over education "to ensure that 90 cents of every federal education dollar goes directly to the classroom ... not the bureaucrats."

He also proposed a new tax code to replace the current Internal Revenue Service laws, which he called "8,000 pages of confusion, contradiction and confiscation."

Largent also briefly mentioned the hotly debated issue of partial-birth abortions and other cornerstone issues among social conservatives.

"Both houses will urge the president to end the dreadful and unwarranted practice of partial-birth abortion. We must uphold the sanctity of life amidst the tragedies of abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide," he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

State of the Union

Sen. Grams reiterates call for tax cut in GOP radio address (1-23-99)

Stuart Rothenberg: The state of Bill Clinton's State of the Union (1-20-99)

Clinton rallies support for agenda outside Washington (1-20-99)

Clinton ignores impeachment, calls for Social Security reform (1-19-99)

In response, GOP promises to stick to 'practical matters' (1-19-99)

Poll: Most viewers liked the speech (1-19-99)

President will call for using bulk of surplus to shore up Social Security (1-19-99)

Clinton will not address impeachment in State of the Union (1-13-99)

Clinton plans to give State of the Union speech as scheduled (1-11-99)


Clinton's speech: Transcript and prepared text

GOP response: Transcript and prepared text

The full text of President Clinton's State of the Union addresses from:
1999, 1998, 1997, 1996, 1995, 1994, 1993

For additional transcripts or videotapes, call 1-800-CNN-NEWS (1-800-266-6397) or order online


Clinton on:

281 K/23 sec. AIFF or WAV sound
231 K/20 sec. AIFF or WAV sound
498 K/32 sec. AIFF or WAV sound
374 K/16 sec. AIFF or WAV sound
Social Security
498 K/30 sec. AIFF or WAV sound
623 K/36 sec. AIFF or WAV sound


State of the Union address part 1 (1-19-99) Windows Media: 28K | 56K

State of the Union address part 2 (1-19-99) Windows Media: 28K | 56K

State of the Union address part 3 (1-19-99) Windows Media: 28K | 56K

Republican response to State of the Union (1-19-99) Windows Media: 28K | 56K

Clinton ignores impeachment, calls for Social Security reform (1-20-99) Windows Media: 28K | 80K


Lewinsky allegations overshadow State of the Union

Clinton: Save Social Security first

Analysis: Speech memorable for what he didn't say

Speech transcript

Video on demand: Clinton's address; Lott's response


Clinton vs. O.J.

It's the schools, stupid

Speech transcript


The White House

U.S. House of Representatives

United States Senate

CNN Focus: Tobacco under attack

Mike Luckovich: The Republican response (1-19-99) more

Bob Lang: Promises (1-19-99) more


Message Board: State of the Union address


Tuesday January 19, 1999

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