Washington, D.C. -- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi held a news conference this morning with Whip Steny Hoyer, Caucus Chair Bob Menendez, and Assistant to the Minority Leader John Spratt on the failed Republican 108th Congress. Below are Pelosi’s remarks:
"Good morning. We are here to talk about the missed opportunities of this Congress. For the past two years, Republicans have controlled the entire government – the White House, the Senate, and the House of Representatives. They have had the opportunity to address the concerns of the American people. And yet, from day one, Republicans have wasted and squandered the 108th Congress. They have been destructive and unethical. And they have consistently made decisions that are against the interests of the American people.
"Our first responsibility as elected officials is to protect the American people. But Republicans have failed to give our police and firefighters the resources they need. They have failed to secure our borders and ports; they have failed to screen cargo coming into our country, and they have failed to buy up loose nuclear material, to name a few.
"Meeting our responsibility on homeland security will be the first order of business when Democrats win the House.
"Americans deserve prosperity – we need good jobs and a growing economy. Yet Republicans have failed to do anything to create jobs. This morning, we learned that less than 100,000 jobs were created last month, and we lost another 18,000 manufacturing jobs. These disappointing job numbers confirm that President Bush will be the first President to lose jobs in his four years in office in 70 years, since Herbert Hoover during the Great Depression.
"Yet Republicans have failed to pass a robust, job-creating highway bill. They have failed to reform the tax code, which continues to encourage outsourcing jobs overseas. They have even failed to reauthorize funding for the Small Business Administration. Instead, Republicans have fought to give irresponsible tax breaks to those who need them least. And they have used taxpayer money to create new incentives to ship those taxpayers’ jobs overseas.
"Democrats will lead on the economy. We will create new jobs, not sit by and watch them disappear. We will provide tax breaks for the middle class. And we will assure access to capital for small business.
"Republicans have also failed to hold down prescription drug costs and make health care affordable. But Republicans fought for the special interests, giving a $139 billion windfall to big drug companies and creating a $46 billion slush fund for HMOs. And they did that under an ethical cloud."