(202) 225 - 3130
“Tonight, President Bush said many things that virtually all Americans can agree with – that we must make our nation more secure, that we must expand access to health insurance and reduce costs, that we must break our nation’s dependence on foreign oil, and that we must restore fiscal discipline. But recognizing the reality of these problems and offering real solutions -- as the American people know -- are two entirely different things.
"The fact is, the President and the Republican Congress – which have been in complete control in Washington for the last five years – are failing our nation on all of these key issues as well as others. There are six million more Americans without health insurance today than when President Bush took office. Health care costs are up 73 percent, gas prices are up 58 percent, and college costs are up 46 percent. Meanwhile, real wages have dropped and the Administration has the worst record of job creation since World War II.
"The President made some positive recommendations. I support his effort to be energy independent. I also welcome his commitment to educate more math and science teachers and to encourage students to pursue those courses. That is critical for our future. I hope, too, that his intention to address the funding challenges to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid is genuine. He did not do that last year with Social Security and the country emphatically rejected his effort to partially privatize that critical program. But, nowhere in his speech did he suggest how he was going to pay for the initiatives he proposed.
"I am perhaps most disappointed at the President's refusal to acknowledge fiscal reality. The Administration and Congressional Republicans have pursued the most irresponsible fiscal policies in the history of our nation, turning a projected $5.6 trillion surplus into a $4 trillion deficit. Yet tonight, the President essentially announced that he wants to perpetuate this debilitating spiral of deficits and debt by making his tax cuts permanent, while offering no idea how to plans to pay for them and no plan to balance the budget.
“In the days and weeks ahead, House Democrats stand ready to work with the President and Congressional Republicans to address the critical issues facing our nation whenever possible. But we are mindful that the Republican Party has shown little interest in bipartisanship over the last five years.
"Democrats will continue to fight for our positive agenda. We will make our nation safer by enacting 9/11 Commission reforms, restoring common-sense budget rules and balance the budget, eliminating the Republican Culture of Corruption, fighting for tax reform and simplification, and ending America's dependence on foreign oil.”