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WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today as President Bush prepared to deliver his State of the Union Address before Congress and the American people:
“When President Bush took office in 2001, he proclaimed that he would be a uniter, not a divider. But in the past five years, the American people have seen precious little of the former and far too much of the latter from this Administration and the Republican-controlled Congress – particularly when it suited their short-term political ends.
“Tonight, as the President prepares to deliver his 2006 State of the Union Address, I urge him to reach across partisan lines and to work to enlist Democratic support on the issues that matter most to the American people – national security, the economy and fiscal responsibility, the exploding costs of health care and the number of uninsured, and our continuing dependence on foreign oil.
“If the President hopes to succeed in his final three years in office – and not repeat the experiences of the last year when his Social Security privatization plan was soundly rejected – then he must recognize that bipartisanship is absolutely vital.
“The fact is, President Bush and the Republican Congress have been in complete control in Washington for five years – and they are failing our nation on the most important issues. They have failed to make us safer by enacting reforms recommended by the 9/11 Commission. They have instigated a dangerous spiral of deficits and debt by pursuing the most irresponsible fiscal policies in American history. And they have failed to address skyrocketing gas prices, health care costs, and college costs.
“The poverty rate is up. The number of Americans without health insurance has increased by 6 million since President Bush took office. And the Administration has the worst record of job creation since World War II. This is not a record to be proud of.
“Democrats will continue to fight for positive change. We will aggressively prosecute the war on terrorism, secure loose nuclear materials, and enact 9/11 Commission reforms. We will restore fiscal discipline by reinstating common-sense budget rules. We will ensure the integrity of Congress, enact tax reform that simplifies our system and makes it more fair, and fight for energy policies that make us less dependent on foreign oil.
“President Bush still has three years in office, and I believe it would not be in our national interests to have our Commander in Chief assume the status of lame duck. However, unless the President demonstrates a willingness to rethink his approach and tries to achieve bipartisanship, I think that is precisely what he is likely to become.”