Republican Senator Jim Talent officially began his work Tuesday by defending President Bush's top priorities: tax cuts, and the potential war in Iraq.
Talent took the oath of office as a new U.S. Senator at the opening of the 108th Congress. Fellow Missouri Republican Kit Bond was at his side, and Vice President Cheney swore him in.
Bush was in Chicago, describing plans to seek more than $670 billion in tax cuts to boost the economy. The plan surprised lawmakers who expected a price-tag of half as much.
But Talent called it a good first step. He refused to be drawn into a discussion of how much tax relief would go to which segments of the population. Bond responded warmly to the Bush proposal, although he acknowledged there likely will be some compromises.