State Of The Union Excerpts

As Prepared for Delivery

The actions of the 110th Congress will affect the security and prosperity of our Nation long after this session has ended. In this election year, let us show our fellow Americans that we recognize our responsibilities and are determined to meet them. And let us show them that Republicans and Democrats can compete for votes and cooperate for results at the same time.

On trusting and empowering the American people:

From expanding opportunity to protecting our country, we have made good progress. Yet we have unfinished business before us, and the American people expect us to get it done. In the work ahead, we must be guided by the philosophy that made our Nation great. As Americans, we believe in the power of individuals to determine their destiny and shape the course of history. So in all we do, we must trust in the ability of free people to make wise decisions, and empower them to improve their lives and their futures.

On the economy:

To build a prosperous future, we must trust people with their own money andempower them to grow our economy. As we meet tonight, our economy is undergoing a period of uncertainty And at kitchen tables across our country, there is concern about our economic future. In the long run, Americans can be confident about our economic growth.

On earmarks:

The people's trust in their Government is undermined by congressional earmarks.

On housing:

We must trust Americans with the responsibility of homeownership and empower them to weather turbulent times in the housing market.

On strengthening No Child Left Behind:

On education, we must trust students to learn if given the chance and empower parents to demand results from our schools. In neighborhoods across our country, there are boys and girls with dreams -- and a decent education is their only hope of achieving them. Six years ago, we came together to pass the No Child Left Behind Act, and today no one can deny its results.

Now we must work together to increase accountability, add flexibility for States and districts, reduce the number of high school dropouts, and provide extra help for struggling schools. Members of Congress: The No Child Left Behind Act is a bipartisan achievement. It is succeeding. And we owe it to America's children, their parents, and their teachers to strengthen this good law.

On the importance of trade:

On trade, we must trust American workers to compete with anyone in the

world and empower them by opening up new markets overseas. Today, our

economic growth increasingly depends on our ability to sell American goods,

crops, and services all over the worldS These agreements will level the

playing field. They will give us better access to nearly 100 million

customers. And they will support good jobs for the finest workers in the

world: those whose products say "Made in the USA."

If we fail to pass this agreement, we will embolden

the purveyors of false populism in our hemisphere. So we must come

together, pass this agreement, and show our neighbors in the region that

democracy leads to a better life.

On improving our energy security:

³To build a future of energy security, we must trust in the creative genius

of American researchers and entrepreneurs and empower them to pioneer a new

generation of clean energy technology. Our security, our prosperity, and

our environment all require reducing our dependence on oil.²

On combating climate change:

³Let us create a new international clean technology fund, which will help

developing nations like India and China make greater use of clean energy

sources. And let us complete an international agreement that has the

potential to slow, stop, and eventually reverse the growth of greenhouse

gases. This agreement will be effective only if it includes commitments by

every major economy and gives none a free ride.²

On entitlement reform and immigration:

³There are two other pressing challenges that I have raised repeatedly

before this body, and that this body has failed to address: entitlement

spending and immigration. Every Member in this chamber knows that spending

on entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid is

growing faster than we can affordSNow I ask Members of Congress to offer

your proposals and come up with a bipartisan solution to save these vital

programs for our children and grandchildren.²

On the freedom agenda:

³Illegal immigration is complicated, but it can be resolved. And it must be

resolved in a way that upholds both our laws and our highest ideals.²

On the surge in Iraq:

³Our foreign policy is based on a clear premise: We trust that people, when

given the chance, will choose a future of freedom and peace. In the last 7

years, we have witnessed stirring moments in the history of liberty. And

these images of liberty have inspired us. In the past 7 years, we have also

seen images that have sobered usS[and] serve as a grim reminder: The

advance of liberty is opposed by terrorists and extremists -- evil men who

despise freedom, despise America, and aim to subject millions to their

violent rule.²

³The Iraqi people quickly realized that something dramatic had happened.

Those who had worried that America was preparing to abandon them instead

sawSour forces moving into neighborhoods, clearing out the terrorists, and

staying behind to ensure the enemy did not returnSWhile the enemy is still

dangerous and more work remains, the American and Iraqi surges have achieved

results few of us could have imagined just 1 year agoS²

Some may deny the surge is working, but among the terrorists there is no doubt. Al Qaida is on the run in Iraq, and this enemy will be defeated.²

On our 2008 objectives in Iraq:

³Our enemies in Iraq have been hit hard. They are not yet defeated, and we

can still expect tough fighting ahead. Our objective in the coming year is

to sustain and build on the gains we made in 2007, while transitioning to

the next phase of our strategy. American troops are shifting from leading

operations, to partnering with Iraqi forces, and, eventually, to a

protective overwatch mission.²

On this generation rising to the moment in the war on terror:

We must do the difficult work today, so that years from now people will

look back and say that this generation rose to the moment, prevailed in a

tough fight, and left behind a more hopeful region and a safer America.²

On Iran:

Our message to the people of Iran is clear: We have no quarrel with you,

we respect your traditions and your history, and we look forward to the day

when you have your freedom. Our message to the leaders of Iran is also

clear: Verifiably suspend your nuclear enrichment, so negotiations can

begin. And to rejoin the community of nations, come clean about your

nuclear intentions and past actions, stop your oppression at home, and cease

your support for terror abroad. But above all, know this: America will

confront those who threaten our troops, we will stand by our allies, and we

will defend our vital interests in the Persian Gulf.

On the American people:

The secret of our strength, the miracle of America, is that our greatness

lies not in our Government, but in the spirit and determination of our

people.

Comments

Whatever

The only two words George Bush could utter that would be meaningful to me are "I resign". Everything else is 100% total, unadulterated bullshit. No thinking person cares anymore what George says about anything.

He is as lame as lame gets.

Cautionary Whale

NPR is making a big deal about Bush taking on earmarks.

I'm kind of with Anglico though, every day it matters less and less what this president has to say.

Maybe Bush, like Juno, can be a cautionary whale for future presidents.

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The GOP will try to suppress the vote in 2008.

Earmarks don't mean squat

All the earmarks Democrats could come up with in an entire year don't add up to a week's worth of Bush's war in Iraq. Media coverage of the whole earmark furor is just another stupid diversion for things that actually matter.

Bush on Earmarks

Bush's grandstanding on earmarks represents a double standard.

The President himself requested more than $20 billion in earmarks last year.

Bush Republicans like Elizabeth Dole have little credibility on the issue. Earmarks more than quadrupled under Republican rule, including billions of dollars in earmarks signed into law by President Bush.

In fact it's not uncommon for Bush Republicans to brag about their ability to deliver earmarks that benefit their corporate contributors.

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The GOP will try to suppress the vote in 2008.

Dem Response to State of the Union

Tax Cuts/Long Term Economic Growth

PRESIDENT BUSH: “American families should not have to worry about the federal government taking a bigger bite out of their paychecks. There is only one way to eliminate this uncertainty: make the tax relief permanent.”

RESPONSE:

  • Making permanent tax breaks for multi-millionaires three years from now is not an economic plan for America’s future and not fiscally sustainable.
  • Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke cautioned this month against actions that would have the effect of increasing our deficit over the long term, hurting our ability to tackle long-term challenges.
  • A meaningful plan to strengthen our economy will lower health care and energy costs, bolster the housing market, strengthen education for a new generation of skilled workers, strengthen American infrastructure, restore fiscal responsibility, and increase American innovation to transform our economy.
  • Democrats have already passed billions of dollars in small business tax cuts and middle-income tax cuts. This year, we will build on this progress, enacting tax cuts to spur economic growth and extend middle-income tax relief.
  • The President failed to lay out a plan for a permanent fix to the Alternative Minimum Tax to protect middle-income families.

Economy

PRESIDENT BUSH: “Last week, my Administration reached agreement with Speaker Pelosi and Republican Leader Boehner on a robust growth package that includes tax relief for individuals and families and incentives for business investment. … This Congress must pass it as soon as possible.”

RESPONSE:

  • We must act quickly to give the economy a boost – and to lessen the hardship facing American families struggling to make ends meet, in the face of rising prices for gas, home heating oil, groceries and health care.
  • Signs of a weakening economy abound: falling home prices and record high foreclosures; American families falling behind on their bills; and consumer confidence at a five-year low.
  • House Democrats reached agreement last week with Republicans on a bipartisan package to provide timely, targeted and temporary stimulus to the slowing economy.
  • The bipartisan House stimulus bill:
    • o Puts hundreds of dollars into the hands of 117 million Americans;
    • o Helps Americans in danger of losing their homes because of the mortgage crisis; and
    • o Promotes small business investment, which will produce new jobs.
  • We are glad that the Bush Administration has recognized the need for a stimulus package and Congress will act expeditiously to get it to the President’s desk before President’s Day.
  • Senate Democrats are now also working to develop a Senate version of a stimulus package, which may include additional measures such as unemployment insurance and nutrition assistance.

Education

PRESIDENT BUSH: “The No Child Left Behind Act is a bipartisan achievement. It is succeeding. And we owe it to America’s children, their parents, and their teachers to strengthen this good law.”

RESPONSE:

  • We should work together – Democrats and Republicans – to create an education system that better serves every American child and brings greater innovation into every classroom.
  • The 110th Congress has already enacted key laws to improve access to and the quality of American education, including the largest investment in college aid since the GI Bill in 1944 and expanding and improving Head Start.
  • No Child Left Behind must be overhauled. Accountability measures have proven far too punitive, with no recognition for schools that have made incremental progress. In addition, states have been given little flexibility in implementing the law’s requirements, and the President’s failure to keep his promise to fund school reform has left 3.2 million students behind.
  • This year, the 110th Congress will also work to push innovation in the classroom address the dropout crisis in our nation’s high schools, and build on the work Congress did last year to make college more affordable for all students.

Health Care

PRESIDENT BUSH: “We share a common goal: making health care more affordable and accessible for all Americans…. So I have proposed ending the bias in the tax code against those who do not get their health insurance through their employer.”

RESPONSE:

  • On President Bush’s watch, the number of Americans without health insurance has increased by about 7 million – climbing to 47 million today.
  • Health care costs have soared, up 78 percent since 2001.
  • The President’s health tax proposal – the same proposal he unveiled in last year’s State of the Union – is still a step in the wrong direction. His plan would force more workers out of the good employer-provided coverage they have now and into the individual health insurance market, where they could be denied coverage.
  • In the 110th Congress, bipartisan majorities have fought to provide health care coverage to 10 million low-income children, crucial legislation that has been vetoed twice by the President.
  • Democrats are committed to making state-of-the-art health care available to all Americans. This year, we will make critical new investments in life-saving medical research; undertake a major initiative to institute an electronic medical records system which will lower health costs and improve care; and continue to fight for health care for 10 million low-income children.

Energy/Global Warming

PRESIDENT BUSH: “Our security, our prosperity, and our environment all require reducing our dependence on oil.”

RESPONSE:

  • We need a plan that builds on the work of this Congress to lower vehicle emissions for the first time in 32 years with new CAFE standards, increase efficiency for buildings, lighting, and appliances, and increase clean, renewable energy -- not a return to Bush-Cheney policies that increased prices, oil company profits and our dependence on oil.
  • To spur a green economy and reduce global warming, Democrats have been working to reinvest billions of dollars of taxpayer subsidies to the big five oil companies into renewable energy, and extend critical tax credits for renewable energy investment.
  • Global warming also demands enactment of a carbon cap and trade system -- a plan that will take significant critical steps to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that are pushing us closer to the brink of global climate catastrophe. We also need a plan to make the U.S. a global leader in bringing all countries into binding agreement.
  • To reduce global warming, we believe that the President’s proposal for a Clean Technology Fund for Developing Countries, which will help developing nations like India and China make greater use of clean energy sources, is one worthwhile step.

Earmarks

PRESIDENT BUSH: “The people’s trust in their Government is undermined by congressional earmarks.”

RESPONSE:

  • President Bush is a major earmarker himself – for example, he requested over $20 billion in earmarks in FY 2006.
  • It was under the Republican rule of Congress that earmarks skyrocketed. For example, the Labor-HHS bill went from virtually no earmarks in FY 1995, to containing $1.2 billion in FY 2006.
  • Under President Bush and a Republican Congress from 2001 through 2006, as earmarks exploded, the President did nothing – failing to veto one single earmark-laden bill and failing even to criticize the Republican-controlled Congress.
  • Upon taking control of Congress last year, Democrats have led the way in bringing transparency and accountability to earmarks.
  • First, Democrats put in place a one-year moratorium on earmarks for 2007 and then instituted unprecedented earmark accountability and disclosure. Members must disclose earmarks, including who benefits, and they must sign a letter certifying that they and their spouse do not have a financial interest in the earmark.
  • Democrats cut the amount for earmarks by a dramatic 43 percent in the FY 2008 bills.
  • Now, we are pleased President Bush and Republicans have finally indicated that they are also interested in reforming the earmark process. We look forward to working with the President to continue reform regarding both Presidential and Congressional earmarks.

U.S. Military Strength/Readiness

PRESIDENT BUSH: “I ask the Congress to meet its responsibilities to these brave men and women by fully funding our troops.”

RESPONSE:

  • When he took office in 2001, President Bush inherited a military that was fully ready to fight. Now, he has precipitated the greatest crisis in military readiness since the Vietnam war.
  • Years of extended deployments have stretched our military thin.
    • Our troops’ equipment is wearing out.
    • Extended deployments have taken a toll on the lives of soldiers and their families.
    • Not a single non-deployed Army unit in the U.S. is fully combat ready. America is at great risk of not being ready to respond to the next unexpected crisis.
  • Key steps have been taken by the Democratic-controlled Congress to improve military readiness – adding needed equipment and training,more body armor, and better-protected armored vehicles. More will be done to strengthen our military.
  • Democrats will work to reset and renew our armed forces, ensuring that we continue to have the strongest, most powerful military in the world.
  • Democrats will continue to fight to enact a law that guarantees that our troops receive enough time at home after deployments, so that they can take care of their families and get the right warfighting training.
  • We will work to expand our active-duty military, ensure our troops have the equipment and training they need in the field and at home, and repair the damage done to our National Guard and Reserves.

Veterans and Troops

PRESIDENT BUSH: “Over the past seven years, we have increased funding for veterans by more than 95 percent.”

RESPONSE:

  • This past year, the Democratic-led Congress provided the largest funding increase for veterans’ health care and benefits in our nation’s history, over the Bush Administration’s resistance.
  • Democrats have taken a key step toward ensuring that troops returning from war receive the medical care they need by passing the Wounded Warriors Act, and boosting funding for PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury treatment.
  • Democrats passed a 3.5 percent pay raise for our troops for 2008, over objections from the Bush Administration.
  • In the coming year, Democrats are working to expand the G.I. Bill, so that it can do for this generation of soldiers what it did for America’s Greatest Generation.
  • Democrats will continue to stand up for our brave men and women in uniform and their families, ensuring they receive the training, equipment, care, pay, and benefits they deserve.

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The GOP will try to suppress the vote in 2008.