Hoyer Statement on President Bush’s State of the Union Address

For Immediate Release:

January 20, 2004

Contact:Stacey Farnen
202-225-3130

WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement tonight in response to President Bush’s State of the Union Address:

“The President’s speech tonight, in many respects, was a well-written statement of our shared American values – on the imperative of protecting the American people from harm, on winning the war on terrorism and winning the peace in Iraq, and on promoting freedom and democracy around the world.

“Democrats, first and foremost, are focused on national security.  Our nation is at war, but we can – and must – do better.  However, this Administration has made our job in Iraq far more difficult by stiff-arming our allies.  Its high-handedness has fueled anti-Americanism around the world.  And it has failed to address homeland security vulnerabilities such as inspecting cargo containers at our ports and securing nuclear materials in the former Soviet Union.

“However, this speech, at times, seemed unnecessarily partisan – a strange position for one who took office claiming he was a uniter, not a divider.  President Bush often uses a tone that indicates he is so certain of the morality and correctness of his position that he need not entertain the idea that he could be wrong.

“Nowhere is this more clear than on his failed tax program.  This nation, indeed, does have a choice: continue on with the Bush economic program that has turned record budget surpluses into record deficits in three years, that threatens our future prosperity and the future of Social Security and Medicare, and that has failed to create new jobs.  Or America can choose the Democratic program of fiscal discipline, a fair and simpler tax code and a plan to create one million new jobs.

“When it comes to the domestic agenda, the President’s claims that we are making progress amount to little more than feel-good rhetoric that is flatly contradicted by the evidence.

“In January 2003, the President said: ‘We will not deny, we will not ignore, we will not pass along our problems to other Congresses, to other presidents, and other generations.’  But in three years, this Administration has turned squandered our record budget surpluses.  The President preaches the gospel of fiscal discipline but practices the sin of fiscal recklessness.

“In January 2002, the President said: ‘My economic security plan can be summed up in one word: jobs.’  Today, it is virtually guaranteed that he will have the worst record of job creation since Herbert Hoover. 

"We have lost 2.4 million jobs in the last three years, including 500,000 manufacturing jobs in 2003 alone.  Nearly 9 million Americans are unemployed today, and another 5 million are working part time when they would rather be working full time.  And yet, the President offered no real jobs plan tonight.”

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