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WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today regarding the State of the Union Address by President Bush that is scheduled for Wednesday evening:
“It is imperative tomorrow night that President Bush outline the details of his Social Security plan and make a good-faith effort to reach out to Members on both sides of the aisle. To date, Republican leaders have disregarded the example set in 1983 by President Reagan and Speaker Thomas P. ‘Tip’ O’Neill, a Democrat, who forged a bipartisan compromise that ensured the solvency of Social Security for 60 years.
“To successfully tackle the issues confronting our nation, Republicans need to move ‘bipartisanship’ out of their talking points and into their action plan.
“I also hope the President dispenses with the hyperbolic language that has characterized his comments on Social Security. Exaggerations only raise questions about motives, particularly given the Republican Party’s historic dislike of Social Security and their persistent call for its privatization.
“Make no mistake, Democrats recognize that Social Security faces long-term challenges that must be addressed. However, Democrats will not allow those challenges to be used as an excuse to push a privatization scheme that fails to address Social Security’s problems, that cuts benefits and that forces us to borrow $2 trillion over the next decade. The privatization of Social Security is a non-starter.
“I also hope that the President faces fiscal reality and outlines a real budget plan that tackles the record deficits and debt that his economic policies have caused. I urge him to embrace the bipartisan pay-as-you-go budget rules that apply to both spending and taxes and which he supported in his first three budgets.
“Finally, I believe that it is vital that the President provide a detailed plan for his next steps in Iraq. All of us are proud of the courage and character of our men and women who made Sunday’s election possible, and we salute the Iraqi people for their bravery in turning out to vote. But the American people want to know, and deserve to know, what is next.”