U.S. Rep. Berkley addresses Nevada lawmakers | NevadaAppeal.com

U.S. Rep. Berkley addresses Nevada lawmakers

RYAN PEARSON, Associated Press

U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley spelled out her support for President Bush’s foreign policy and opposition to his domestic agenda in a speech Tuesday to Nevada lawmakers.

Saying she opposed new tax cuts and the administration’s energy plan, the three-term Nevada Democrat also reiterated her backing of the U.S.-led war against Iraq and called Syria a “rogue nation.”

She noted the importance of Bush’s “road map” proposal for peace between Israel and the Palestinians, which has not yet been formally unveiled.

“I do not think there can be peace in the world and an end to terrorism if we do not solve the Middle East,” Berkeley said, adding that she supports Bush’s call for a Palestinian state.

“I believe that the Israelis are entitled to a peaceful existence within their borders … and the Palestinian people are entitled to a homeland of their own.”

Speaking for about 30 minutes without a prepared script, the congresswoman and former state assemblywoman from Las Vegas moved rapidly from talk of highways to veterans to education.

Lawmakers applauded loudly as Berkley outlined her disgust at the Bush administration’s energy plan. She said it would increase spending on nuclear power and mean more radioactive waste in Nevada.

“We don’t want it, we don’t need it. This is 20th century technology in a 21st century world,” she said. “Certainly there’s a better way of providing for our energy needs and not spending it in a hole in the Nevada desert.”

The government hopes to bury high-level nuclear waste in the desert northwest of Las Vegas at Yucca Mountain, a plan Nevada’s federal lawmakers have vehemently opposed.

Berkley, who voted for a $1.3 billion federal tax cut in 2001, said she was opposed to new cuts now making their way through Congress because of the strains of war spending and upcoming Social Security needs.

She also praised Republican Gov. Kenny Guinn, saying he was being “extremely courageous” in addressing the “daunting” challenges facing cash-strapped Nevada. Guinn has proposed a record $1 billion tax increase for the state.