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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
January 31, 2006
State of the Union: A Strong America Leading the World
In His State Of The Union Address, President Bush Discussed America's Leadership In The World And Shared His Vision To Lead America Forward. At a time of great consequence, the President laid out an agenda of leadership to act confidently in pursuing the enemies of freedom and to build our prosperity by leading the world economy. The President rejected the roads of isolationism and protectionism and called for cooperation and courage in confronting challenges. America will lead freedom's advance, compete and excel in the global economy, and renew the defining moral commitments of this land, confident of victory.
Every Step Toward Freedom In The World Makes Our Country Safer, And So America Will Act Boldly In Freedom's Cause. Today our Nation is committed to an historic, long-term goal: the end of tyranny in our world. On September 11th, 2001, America found that problems originating in a failed and oppressive state seven thousand miles away could bring murder and destruction to our country. Dictatorships shelter terrorists, feed resentment and radicalism, and seek weapons of mass destruction. Democracies replace resentment with hope, respect the rights of their citizens and their neighbors, and join the fight against terror. As we celebrate the spread of freedom in places like Afghanistan and Iraq, we do not forget people living in places like Syria, Burma, Zimbabwe, North Korea, and Iran because the demands of justice, and the peace of this world, require their freedom as well.
America Is On The Offensive In The War On Terror. America and its allies have killed or captured many of the leaders of the terror networks. For the others, their day will come.
Progress Will Continue Across The Middle East As America Offers A Hopeful Alternative To Hatred And Fear. America's offensive against terror involves more than military action, and we are delivering a clear message across the broader Middle East. In parts of the Middle East, there have been steps taken toward reform, but there is more progress to be made. Elections are vital but they are only the beginning. Raising up a democracy requires the rule of law, protection of minorities, and strong, accountable institutions that last longer than a single vote. The Palestinian people have voted in elections now the leaders of Hamas must recognize Israel, disarm, reject terrorism and work for a lasting peace. Elsewhere in the Middle East, the repressive regime in Iran is defying the world with its nuclear ambitions, and the nations of the world must not permit the Iranian regime to gain nuclear weapons.
The Offensive Against Terrorism Must Continue At Home. The enemy has not lost the desire or capability to attack us. America has superb professionals in law enforcement, intelligence, the military, and homeland security who are protecting America. They deserve our thanks and they deserve the same tools they already use to fight drug trafficking and organized crime, so the President called on Congress to reauthorize the Patriot Act.
Winning The War on Terror Requires Learning The Lessons of September 11th. To prevent another attack based on authority given to the President by the Constitution and by statute the President has authorized a terrorist surveillance program to aggressively pursue the international communications of suspected al-Qaida operatives and affiliates to and from America. Previous presidents have used the same constitutional authority the President has and Federal courts have approved the use of that authority. Appropriate Members of Congress have been kept informed. This terrorist surveillance program has helped prevent terrorist attacks. It remains essential to the security of America. If there are people inside our country who are talking with al-Qaida, we want to know about it because we will not sit back and wait to be hit again.
Leadership For Prosperity At Home And Abroad
America's Economic Strength Continues To Lead The World. The American economy is healthy and vigorous and growing faster than other major industrialized nations. In the last two and a half years, America has created 4.6 million new jobs more than Japan and the European Union combined. Even in the face of higher energy prices and natural disasters, the American people have turned in an economic performance that is the envy of the world.
Our Nation Will Compete With Confidence And Extend Our Economic Leadership In The World. In a dynamic world economy, we are seeing new competitors. This creates uncertainty, which makes it easier to feed people's fears. Protectionists want to escape competition, while others want the government to take a larger role in directing the economy. The President set forth a better path that will raise standards of living and generate new jobs. Americans should not fear our economic future, because we intend to shape it.
Congress Needs To Make The Tax Cuts Permanent. Keeping America competitive begins with keeping our economy growing. Our economy grows when Americans have more of their own money to spend, save, and invest. In the last five years, tax relief has left $880 billion in the hands of American workers, investors, small businesses, and families, and they have used it to help produce more than four years of uninterrupted economic growth. Yet the tax relief is set to expire in the next few years. If Congress does not act, American families will face a massive tax increase.
The Growth Of Government Must Be Limited Through Fiscal Discipline. Every year since President Bush took office, the growth of non-security discretionary spending has been reduced, and last year this spending was cut. This year the President's budget will cut it again and will reduce or eliminate more than 140 programs that are performing poorly or not fulfilling essential priorities. By passing these reforms, we will save the American taxpayer another $14 billion next year and stay on track to cut the deficit in half by 2009. Congress must also move forward on earmark reform and pass the line-item veto to limit special interest projects.
America Must Continue To Open Markets For American Goods. One out of every five factory jobs in America is related to global trade, and we want people everywhere to buy American. With open markets and a level playing field, no one can out-produce or out-compete the American worker.
Immigration Reform Must Be A Priority. America needs an immigration system that upholds our laws, reflects our values, and serves the interests of our economy. Our nation needs orderly and secure borders. To meet this goal, we must have stronger immigration enforcement and border protection. And we must have a rational, humane guest worker program that rejects amnesty, allows temporary jobs for people who seek them legally, and reduces smuggling and crime at the border.
Health Care Must Be Made Affordable And Accessible. Our government has a responsibility to help provide health care for the poor and the elderly, and it will meet that responsibility. For all Americans, we must confront the rising cost of care, strengthen the doctor-patient relationship, and help people afford the insurance coverage they need.
The Advanced Energy Initiative Will Help Break America's Dependence On Foreign Sources Of Energy. The best way to break Americas addiction to oil is through technology. The President set a goal of replacing more than 75 percent of oil imports from the Middle East by 2025. Since 2001, we have spent nearly $10 billion to develop cleaner, cheaper, more reliable alternative energy sources. The Advanced Energy Initiative will deliver a 22 percent increase in clean-energy research to push for breakthroughs in two vital areas:
The President's American Competitiveness Initiative Will Encourage Innovation Throughout The Economy. America must continue to lead the world in human talent and creativity. Our greatest advantage in the world has always been our educated, hard-working, ambitious people, and we are going to keep that edge.
America Is Becoming A More Hopeful Nation. Violent crime rates have fallen to their lowest levels since the 1970s. Welfare cases have dropped by more than half over the past decade. Drug abuse among youth is down 19 percent since 2001. There are fewer abortions in America than at any point in the last three decades, and the teenage birth rate has been falling for a dozen years in a row. Government has played a role in this quiet transformation, and wise policies such as welfare reform, drug education, and support for abstinence and adoption have made a difference in the character of our country.
America Still Has More To Do To Strengthen Our Culture And Our Institutions. Many Americans, especially parents, still have deep concerns about the direction of our culture and the health of our most basic institutions. They are concerned about unethical conduct by public officials and discouraged by activist courts that try to redefine marriage. And they worry about children in need, fellow citizens still displaced by natural disaster, and suffering caused by treatable disease.
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