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WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) issued the following statement today in anticipation of the President's State of the Union Address:
President Bush must convince the American people tonight in his State of the Union Address that he has a pro-active plan to address crucial domestic concerns – jobs for the unemployed, health insurance for the uninsured, prescription drugs for seniors, and a commitment to actually fund landmark education and corporate accountability reforms. To date, he has only paid lip service to these priorities and used them as props for his No. 1 priority – tax cuts that have done, and will do, little for working families or the economy.
Right now, this Administration is not effectively addressing America's needs and our citizens know it. The honeymoon's over. Only one-third of Americans believe our nation is headed in the right direction.
Since President Bush took office, the economy has lost more than 1.7 million jobs. Today, there are 8.6 million unemployed Americans. The stock market has nosedived, and consumer confidence is down. The poverty rate is increasing and health insurance costs and drug costs are skyrocketing. There are currently 41 million Americans without health insurance today.
Meanwhile, this Administration, which inherited record budget surpluses, has enacted policies that have us swimming in a sea of red ink again. The Congressional Budget Office is expected to release new projections tomorrow that show the federal budget will run a deficit of $175 billion this year, and OMB Director Mitch Daniels now predicts deficits "for the foreseeable future."
The Administration has put our nation in this predicament, but it's only response to date has been "full steam ahead" with ideological tax cuts that are tilted toward the most affluent. Our ship of state is on a rocky sea today, and the Bush Administration seems to have lost its bearing as well as its ability to steer us out of this storm.
Democrats have a plan to increase our prosperity and enhance our security. Our economic stimulus proposal would jumpstart our economy now and get America back to work. It would create one million jobs, provide tax benefits to workers as well as small businesses, strengthen our homeland security and provide aid to the fiscally-strapped states.
Tonight, Americans want answers to their questions. It remains to be seen whether President Bush will give them anything more than rhetoric.