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July 20 2005 | 3:09 p.m.(EDT)

Q: Melissa from Beaverton, OR:
Who is your photographer and do they stay with you 24/7?

Eric Draper A: Eric Draper, White House Photo Director:
The President has a staff of photographers that cover both his official and private events. I am the Director and Photographer in Charge of the White House Photo Office. When I am not there, I will assign one of his three staff photographers to cover Presidential events including official First Lady events. There is also a fifth photographer assigned to the Vice President.

May 1 2005 | 6:24 p.m.(EDT)

Q: Immeke from Edgewater, NJ:
Everyone seems to focus only on the emotional side of the Stem Cell Research Bill. But whether you are for or against it, what about the FISCAL side of it?

Why does government (which means us taxpayers) have to FUND it? Seems to me, we don't have the money. Why isn't anyone talking about THAT side of the Bill?

Claude A. Allen A: Claude A. Allen, Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy:
Clearly federal resources devoted to medical research need to be allocated in a careful and informed way to ensure they go where they can do the most good and that we are spending taxpayer dollars responsibly. This means not only that we are not wasteful with public money, though that is crucially important, but also that we recognize that in spending taxpayer funds we are making a significant statement of approval on behalf of the American people. That's why President Bush took the issue of taxpayer funding of embryonic stem cell research so seriously, and why he sought and found a way to use such funding responsibly: to advance research that may have medical potential while holding to the clear and important moral principle that government should never support the destruction of human life for research.

Since that decision was made, in August of 2001, the Administration has spent over $50 million on embryonic stem cell research pursued within moral bounds, and has spent some $1.7 billion on other ethical stem cell research, including animal research as well as work using cells from children, adults, and umbilical cord blood that have already shown real results in treating patients. President Bush is strongly committed to advancing medical research, and has seen to it that the doubling of the National Institutes of Health budget to $29 billion has been completed by his Administration.

By insisting that medical progress be guided by ethical rules, the President is working to ensure that taxpayer dollars are used responsibly, and that an age of great medical breakthroughs also be a time of high moral standards. This is the essence of his policy on embryonic stem cell research funding, and of his firm support for science and medicine more broadly.

May 1 2005 | 4:12 p.m.(EDT)

Q: Emily from Granite Bay:
Dear Mr. President, I have alwys been interested in politics. I was wondering if the White House ever takes interns. If so, where can I get more information on this topic?

Ann Gray A: Ann Gray, White House Intern Coordinator:
The White House Internship Program offers an excellent opportunity to serve our President and explore public service. We are seeking exceptional candidates to apply for this highly competitive program. In addition to normal office duties, interns attend weekly lectures, tours, and complete an intern service project. Interns may serve a term in the Fall, Spring, or Summer. All candidates must be 18 years of age, hold United States citizenship, and be enrolled in a college or university. The Fall, 2005 application deadline is July 1, 2005.

Please see the White House Intern Website for additional information: /government/wh-intern.html.

Thanks for your interest. I look forward to hearing from you.

May 1 2005 | 2:32 p.m.(EDT)

Q: Candis from Asheville, North Carolina:
I was wondering who was on President Bush's cabinet. People like Secretary of State,Secretary of Agricutlture, etc. Thank you!

Heidi Marquez Smith A: Heidi Marquez Smith, Special Assistant to the President for Cabinet Liaison:

Thank you for your question. The President's Cabinet includes the Vice President, the White House Chief of Staff, the heads of 15 executive departments, and the heads of four Cabinet-level rank offices. Every day these Cabinet Members carry out countless responsibilities that help protect our homeland, maintain critical services, ensure economic growth, and strengthen our national security. These individuals serve our citizens and help make our government more efficient and effective. For more information on the President’s Cabinet and their respective agencies please visit the Cabinet page located in the "Your Government" section of the White House Website: /government/cabinet.html.

April 2 2005 | 3:38 p.m.(EDT)

Q: Tina from Roseville, Minnesota:
My question is a detail oriented one. I am writing a public policy paper on education funding. I am looking for the date that the President either wrote or announced his proposed FY 2006 Federal Budget for Education. I can't seem to find it anywhere on the Web.

Margaret Spellings A: Margaret Spellings, Secretary of Education:
On February 7, 2005, the President released his proposed 2006 budget for the U.S. Department of Education. The $56 billion budget request, representing a 33% or $13.8 billion increase since he took office, reaffirms President Bush’s strong commitment to reforming education. Taxpayer dollars will be directed to where student need is the greatest, including increases to assist states and school districts with the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act. In addition, the budget exercises fiscal discipline by focusing on programs that work. More information regarding the President’s budget proposal, and No Child Left Behind, may be found at:

April 1 2005 | 1:40 p.m.(EDT)

Q: Kevin from Stoughton, MA 02072:
Mr President,

With the price of oil at an all-time high and the effect it is having on the economy, why not curtail filling the Strategic Oil Reserve for a while and let the law of supply and demand go to work for you as your father did in the early 90's?

Otherwise, keep up the good work and Let Freedom Ring!

Secretary Bodman A: Secretary Bodman, Secretary of Energy:
After September 11, President Bush directed the Secretary of Energy to fill the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR).

The SPR is vital to our national security and filling it is necessary to maximize protection for American consumers and our economy against severe oil supply disruptions, which could result from a variety of events, including natural disasters, industrial accidents, and terrorist attacks.

March 6 2005 | 12:44 p.m.(EDT)

Q: Chris from Chesterfield, Missouri:
I often hear the press reports from Pebble Beach at the White House. What and where is Pebble Beach?

Nicolle Devenish A: Nicolle Devenish, Assistant to the President for Communications:
Located just outside the West Wing lobby and the press briefing room, network and affiliate television correspondents use this area which provides an ideal backdrop for “stand-ups” while they report on the White House. However, due to its constant use over the years, the spot was often muddy and it became increasingly more difficult to maintain the grass on this part of the lawn. In 1998, the White House installed honeycomb grating and gravel to create “Pebble Beach”. Last summer, “Stonehenge” emerged as another nickname for the spot when the area was paved over with concrete.

March 3 2005 | 5:47 p.m.(EDT)

Q: Kevin from Berea kentucky:
What are the major steps that the bush administration is doing to fight major incresae of drugs in society?

Ambassador John Walters A: Ambassador John Walters, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy:
This Administration has made significant progress in the fight against drugs, using a balanced approach emphasizing prevention, treatment, and law enforcement. President Bush laid out clear and ambitious goals in this area: a 10 percent reduction in teen drug over two years, and a 25 percent reduction over five years. We're pleased to report that with a 17 percent reduction in teen drug use over the past three years, we've exceeded the two year goal and are well on our way to the five year target. That means there are over 600,000 fewer teens using drugs now than there were in 2001.

February 17 2005 | 11:50 a.m.(EDT)

Q: Austin from Big Rapids, Michigan:
I'm an 18-year-old college student at Ferris State University, and a big fan of the Bush administration. As I'm sure everyone working for the Whitehouse knows, college can get pretty expensive, and on the subject of young people's personal expenses, I was wondering if you could translate the conditions of the new social-security program into my generations terms.

Chuck Blahous A: Chuck Blahous, Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy:
President Bush is committed to strengthening Social Security for future generations and also making it a better deal for younger workers. The President has called for allowing younger Americans the option of safely investing a portion of their payroll taxes in voluntary personal accounts that they own and control within the Social Security system. Personal retirement accounts give younger workers the chance to receive a higher rate of return from sound, long-term investing of a portion of their payroll taxes than they receive under the current system.

November 22 2004 | 7:15 p.m.(EDT)

Q: Howard from Marysville, Washington:
I am looking for a copy of the 2004 Presidental Thanksgiving Proclamation. Can you steer me in the correct direction please?

Jimmy Orr A: Jimmy Orr, White House Internet Director:
Hi Howard,

The 2004 Thanksgiving proclamation has not been released yet. When it is, we'll put it on the homepage. In the meantime, other Thanksgiving content including last year's proclamation can be seen here:

November 3 2004 | 4:44 p.m.(EDT)

Q: David from Massachusetts:

Andy Card A: Andy Card, White House Chief of Staff:
To the Cassella Family, On behalf of the President, thank you. President Bush looks forward to his second term in office. Thank you for your support and Go Red Sox! I was born and raised just up the road from Taunton in Holbrook.

October 29 2004 | 1:08 p.m.(EDT)

Q: Vanessa from South Dakota:
I was woundering is it really possible that the Draft could start again if so do you know when?

Jim Wilkinson A: Jim Wilkinson, Deputy National Security Advisor for Communications:
The President has spoken clearly on this issue -- There will be no draft. The all-volunteer military is performing admirably. Click here to read the President's recent statement on this issue.

October 28 2004 | 5:35 p.m.(EDT)

Q: David from Canton, Ohio:
I just heard on the radio that more flu vaccine is available. Is that right? Where can I find more information?

Kristen Silverberg A: Kristen Silverberg, Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy:

As Secretary Thompson said earlier today, we're continuing to build our arsenal of vaccines and medicines to confront the coming flu season. We are encouraged about the potential for some 5 million doses of vaccine from foreign manufacturers and we're sending our inspectors to those facilities. We're redirecting vaccine originally purchased by the government for federal employees to priority populations throughout the country.

Click here for more information.

October 28 2004 | 10:44 a.m.(EDT)

Q: Fran from Cave City, KY:
I and several other of my friends would like to write a note of support and thanks to President Bush for all he has done and continues to do on behalf of our nation.

Andy Card A: Andy Card, White House Chief of Staff:
Dear Fran:

On behalf of President Bush, thank you for your email and for your kind words of support. The President is always encouraged to hear from Americans across the country like you and your friends, and he is grateful for all of the people who think of him and pray for him every day. Thank you, again. I will make sure that the President gets your message. Andy Card

October 27 2004 | 6:28 p.m.(EDT)

Q: Patricia from Lorain, Ohio:
Dear Mr. President, Our day care center, Horizon Activities Center, celebrated National Hispanic month by your recommendation. We would like to send you some pictures of our children's celebration and we don't know where you would like them sent to. Please advice us on what office and address you would like us to send them to. We look forward to hearing from you. Our children anxiously await your answer.

Heidi Marquez Smith A: Heidi Marquez Smith, Special Assistant to the President for Cabinet Liaison:
Dear Patricia: You may mail your items to the White House at the following address: The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500 President Bush appreciates your thoughtfulness in sharing your celebration memorabilia. HMS

October 26 2004 | 1:10 p.m.(EDT)

Q: Tom from Livonia, MI:
We are a small manufacturing firm in Livonia, MI. Been in business since 1969. We saw the economic slowdown occurring in August 2000. By August 2002, we ran out of work and layed off 10 of our work force. By May 2003, we re-hired all furloughed.

This year we have added 30 to our payroll with need for 10 more capacity. Our back log is the largest since 1997 and quote levels are up a minimum of 20 from previous year. Business levels are busy and trending upward.

We feel you and your team have provided excellent leadership in very adverse times. If I had one wish, it would be for your continued leadership.

John Snow A: John Snow, Secretary of Treasury:
Thanks for writing in, Tom. I'm delighted to hear that your business has come back so strong - that's exactly the kind of turnaround that the President had in mind when he designed tax relief to stimulate our economy.

I'm especially glad to hear that you've been able to add to your payroll. Thanks to employers like you, 1.9 million jobs have been added to America's payrolls over the past 13 months. We have the strongest, most resilient and flexible economy in the world thanks to our small-business owners and entrepreneurs, our outstanding workforce and the simple fact that we operate as a free market. The President's economic policies stimulated growth by tapping into those elements, and your story is a terrific example of the success of that policy.

October 22 2004 | 3:27 p.m.(EDT)

Q: Jennifer from Towson, MD:
What does the President plan to do for the future of Education, besides "No Child Left Behind"? Are there any other programs in the works to help support teachers with their increasingly difficult job?

Rod Paige A: Rod Paige, Secretary of Education:
President Bush, the Congress and I all understand the importance of having a can-do attitude about public education in the United States. We all share the philosophy of holding America's students to high standards and high expectations, and of providing all of them the opportunity to learn. That's why the No Child Left Behind Act received bipartisan support in Congress.

The president's new proposals reflect his desire to continue the culture of achievement and accountability. We want to ensure that our children enter schools ready to learn at a young age, and that they leave ready to enter the 21st-century workplace or higher education institutions, as they choose. That's why he has proposed focusing on early literacy, continuing with the Early Reading First and Reading First initiatives and helping children in middle and high school with the Striving Readers program.

Investment in the education of our nation's youth is a top national priority and effective teachers are the key to fulfilling the promise of the No Child Left Behind Act. Teachers are the true heroes of education, and we are pleased to be able to facilitate the Teacher-to-Teacher Initiative, an exchange of information to help teachers, and ultimately students, achieve success in the classroom. For more information and additional resources, I encourage teachers to visit:

This president, working with Congress, has shown that he understands that resources for students at all levels-whether they be in elementary school or high school-will pay off. We must ensure that our educational excellence starts early and is sustained throughout the entire education system.

October 21 2004 | 3:28 p.m.(EDT)

Q: Marcus from Tulsa:
Is the current administration in favor of tax breaks or federal aid to be afforded to "faith based" groups?

Jim Towey A: Jim Towey, White House Faith Based and Community Initiatives Director:
President Bush believes faith-based and community groups are America's "armies of compassion" and can make even greater contributions to the lives of those in need. He believes they can be partners with the Federal government, not rivals, and that enacting greater tax incentives for more charitable giving will help these groups feed more people who are hungry, house more people who are homeless, and reach out to other Americans in need.

October 20 2004 | 7:02 p.m.(EDT)

Q: Heidi from Grafton, WI:
My mother called me in a panic today, because she heard that President Bush has a plan to privatize Social Security. Is this right?

Suzy DeFrancis A: Suzy DeFrancis, Deputy Assistant to the President for Communications:

The President does not favor privatizing Social Security. There will be no changes in benefits for those now in or near retirement.

Under the President's vision for Social Security, the publicly administered Social Security system would still be there. The President favors increased personal ownership and control within Social Security for younger workers.

The President favors giving younger workers the opportunity to save a portion of their Social Security payroll taxes in a personal account which they would own and control, and could use to build a nest egg for their retirement, which they in turn could bequeath to their loved ones.

Social Security must be fixed for our children and our grandchildren. In 1950, there were 16 workers paying into Social Security for each person withdrawing benefits. Today, there are 3.3 workers to support each person on Social Security. By the time today's young workers retire, there will be only two workers to support each person on Social Security. The system that was designed in 1935 will need to be strengthened if it is to support the retirees of 2035.

A number of plans have been put forward that would ensure that full benefits are paid to today's retirees, fix the program for future generations, and give young workers the opportunity to have a Social Security personal account. Each of these proposals would fix the system permanently at less cost than the cost of sustaining the system permanently as it is currently structured.

To repeat: The President has promised that there will be no changes in benefits for those who are now in or near retirement. He also does not favor privatizing Social Security. Those who would say otherwise are scaring our seniors without foundation.

October 20 2004 | 6:52 p.m.(EDT)

Q: Jennifer from Allegan, MI:
In my American Literature class, I'm teaching some of Abigail Adams' letters from when she first moved into the White House. One of my students wants to know how much the White House cost to build, and I couldn't find the answer on the website. Could you tell us how much it originally cost to build? Thank you

Gary Walters A: Gary Walters, White House Chief Usher:
Jennifer, thank you for your question. The first cornerstone of the White House was laid on October 13, 1792. The last cornerstone was laid just about eight years later on November 1, 1800, when the White House was first occupied. Throughout those eight years, the grand total of building the White House was $232,371.83.

October 19 2004 | 2:23 p.m.(EDT)

Q: Bob from Tampa:
What are you doing to improve health care?

Doug Badger A: Doug Badger, Senior Health Policy Advisor:
Millions of Americans lack health insurance coverage today. For them, the anxiety of not knowing how they will find the resources to pay their medical bills is a daily concern. Millions more worry that they might lose coverage if they lose their jobs or change jobs. And while most seniors have prescription drug coverage, millions do not and many are needlessly being forced to choose between their medicines and other life necessities because they don’t about the help that is available to them today through Medicare-approved prescription drug discount cards.

The President’s proposals to make health care more affordable address all of these concerns, from the uninsured child in a low-income household to the senior struggling to make ends meet on a social security check.

In addition to strengthening and improving Medicare and adding prescription drug coverage to the program, the President has:


October 18 2004 | 12:13 p.m.(EDT)

Q: Robert from Ohio:
1)Why do you stand against Stem-Cell research when it has greatpossibilites for health?

2)Why can't you at least give a chance?

Margaret Spellings A: Margaret Spellings, Secretary of Education:
President Bush is not opposed to stem cell research. To the contrary -- he is the first President to support Federal Funding for embryonic stem cell research.

There are many different kinds of stem cell research, all of which are important to studying disease. Last year, the NIH provided over half a billion dollars for all forms of stem cell research. He has asked NIH to establish Centers of Excellence for stem cell research, which give scientists in this area extra support, and his Administration is establishing a Stem Cell registry, to make sure that scientists can get access to embryonic stem cells quickly.

In fact, more than 500 shipments of eligible stem cell lines have been sent to researchers for this important work. 3,500 shipments, from 22 different genetically distinct lines, are still available.

The President has said only that researchers using taxpayer funds cannot use the funds for research that requires the destruction of an additional human embryo. Researchers can use private funds for any form of stem cell research.

Moreover, many scientists focus on stem cell research that does not require the destruction of a human embryo because it uses cells from placental tissue or bone marrow. This type of stem cell research has already produced treatments for disease, and there are clinical trials underway on new treatments for diseases like parkinsons, multiple sclerosis, and leukemia.

I should also note that stem cells are just one of the many areas scientists are studying for possible cures and treatments for diabetes. Since President Bush took office, funding for all forms of diabetes research has increased by $336 million dollars -- a 49% increase.

October 15 2004 | 5:03 p.m.(EDT)

Q: Roger from Glendale:
I'm hearing rumors of a draft again. Can you set the record straight? Thanks.

Jimmy Orr A: Jimmy Orr, White House Spokesman/Internet Director:
The President has been very clear about this. And it doesn't get any more clear than last week when the President said, "I want every American to understand that, as long as I am President, there will be no draft." Click here to read the full statement.

October 15 2004 | 1:51 p.m.(EDT)

Q: Laura from Denver:
I would like us to address the problem of frivilous litigation. We are seeing now that many cave in to demands just on the threat of litigation. How can tort reform impact the explposion of litigation? What legislation would be effective? What can the Administration do directly to rein in the explosion of litigation and threat of litigation?

Kristen Silverberg A: Kristen Silverberg, Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy:
Laura -- You're exactly right. The threat of litigation, and the risk of an excessive jury award, can cause even a blameless defendant to decide to settle the case. And the fear of litigation can cause consumers to pay higher costs. Physicians, for example, may overprescribe tests or medication to avoid the risk of being sued. We call this practice "defensive medicine," and it contributes to the $60-$108b a year in health costs attributable to excessive litigation.

The President has proposed the following important reforms to our litigation system:

First, he has proposed common sense medical liability reforms that would allow unlimited economic damages, but cap non-economic damages and punitive damages. These reforms would also require defendants to pay in proportion to their degree of fault.

Second, the President has called on Congress to reform the Class Action system to, among other things, require lawyers to notify class members of a lawsuit in "plain English" and ensure that judges review any settlement that gives class members "coupons" or other non-cash benefits.

Finally, because runaway asbestos litigation has killed jobs and prevented the truly injured from receiving compensation, the President has called on Congress to pass asbestos reform.

October 14 2004 | 11:50 a.m.(EDT)

Q: Judith from Elkton, Florida:
I have an uncle who will be 90 the end of November and I read that you can receive a birthday greeting signed by the president. How can I do that?

Heidi Marquez Smith A: Heidi Marquez Smith, Special Assistant to the President for Cabinet Liaison:
Heidi Marquez Smith, Special Assistant to the President and Director of Presidential Correspondence: Dear Judith, Thank you for your interest in requesting a greeting from President Bush. You may submit a request via fax at 202-395-1232, mail to The White House, Attn: Greetings Office, Washington, D.C. 20502-0039, or by Web Mail located on the White House website at /greeting/. Please make sure to include your uncle's full name with appropriate salutation, date of birth, mailing address, and your (the requestor's) name and daytime phone number. We ask that requests for greetings are received in our office at least six weeks in advance of the event date. At this date I recommend you fax or use White House Web Mail to submit your request. We will make every effort to send the greeting in time for your special occasion. For more information on our guidelines and the types of greetings you may request please visit the White House website at /greeting/.

October 14 2004 | 10:44 a.m.(EDT)

Q: Peter from Richmond, Virginia:
There doesn't seem to be a Fall Garden Tour at the White House this year. Why is that?

Sara Armstrong A: Sara Armstrong, Director, White House Visitor's Office:
Hi Peter.

Thanks for your timely question. We just announced the dates of this year's Fall Garden Tour. The annual White House Fall Garden Tour will be held on two dates: Saturday, October 23 from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. and Sunday, October 24 from 12 p.m. - 4 p.m. Click here for additional information and details about ticket distribution. We hope you can join us for this annual tradition!

October 8 2004 | 6:32 p.m.(EDT)

Q: Thad from Pittsburgh:
First of all, thank you for providing this forum. Secondly, there is a lot of news coverage on today's job numbers announcement. What is your take on it?

Don Evans A: Don Evans, Secretary of Commerce:
For the 13th straight month, we've had job gains despite being in a wartime economy. Hurricanes and high energy prices haven't dampened our resilient recovery because America created over 1.9 million jobs since last August.

October 8 2004 | 12:10 p.m.(EDT)

Q: Jumeye from Norfolk State University:
Is it true that by july 2005 we will have a draft? And if we do, how will we be picked?

Taylor Gross A: Taylor Gross, White House Spokesman:
Thanks so much for your question Jumeye. We appreciate you visiting the White House web site and using our White House Interactive feature.

With regards to your question, the President has been very clear on this issue. In fact, just last week both the President and the Vice President made sure to point out that this notion there is a plan by the Administration to reintroduce the draft is completely untrue. As the President has said, "we don't need a draft" and "we won't have a draft as long as I'm the President of the United States". While some in Congress, specifically Senator Hollings (D) of South Carolina and Congressman Rangel (D) of New York have sought legislation that would reinstitute a draft, the President applauded the Congress for soundly rejecting it. If this bill had been presented to the President, he would have vetoed it /news/releases/2004/10/20041005-6.html

The President will keep our military all volunteer. In fact, the President has worked to make sure of this by increasing pay and housing benefits for our men and women in uniform and making sure our troops are skilled. As the President has said, "in order to win the war on terror, we need specialized forces. This is specialty work and if you draft, you don't get the specialized force you need."

Thanks again for your question Jumeye.

October 8 2004 | 11:04 a.m.(EDT)

Q: Robbie from Chandler, Arizona:
Does the working family tax relief include single adults also? I have only been hearing about married couples and singles with children.
Thank you.

John Snow A: John Snow, Secretary of Treasury:
The tax cuts enacted by President Bush help all taxpayers--married couples, families and singles. Single taxpayers without children benefit from several provisions in the "Working Families Tax relief Act of 2004" including the expansion of the new 10 percent individual income tax bracket and the higher exemption under the alternative minimum tax. Single taxpayers also benefit from a number of provisions included in the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, such as the reduction in tax rates, the lower tax rates on capital gains and dividend income (if they have investment income), higher contribution limits for IRA and 401(k) contributions, and a new deduction for higher education expenses.

October 7 2004 | 10:40 a.m.(EDT)

Q: Tony from Vacaville, CA:
Tax breaks are great for families with children living at home, but what about the parents and families working to put their kids through college?

Colleges and higher education should be looked at as an investment for the future of America but with tuition up across the nation and reductions in funding from the states and the federal government to help with the costs, families are struggling more than ever. What are the movements towards tax breaks or credits for families putting their kids through college?

Margaret Spellings A: Margaret Spellings, Secretary of Education:
I agree Tony, higher education is a great investment by families and by government. There have been increases in federal funding for higher education, not reductions. The President's FY 2005 budget expands overall, available student financial aid to $73.1 billion, an increase of $4.4 billion or 6% over the 2004 level, and an increase of 55% over the 2001 level. The number of recipients of grant, loan, and work-study assistance would grow by 426,000 over last year to 10 million students and parents. Since President Bush has been in office, total Pell Grant funding for low-income college students has increased by $4.1 billion including the President’s FY 2005 budget, a 47% increase over 2001. In addition, one million more low-income students will be receiving Pell Grants compared to 2001, and the maximum award has increased from $3,750 in 2001 to $4,050 in the President’s FY 2005 budget.

The President also understands that students who are well-prepared when entering college are more likely to succeed and complete their college education. In his FY 2005 budget, President Bush proposed Enhanced Pell Grants, which would provide an additional $1,000 in grants in the first two years of college in addition to the regular Pell Grant for low-income students who complete a rigorous high school curriculum.

President Bush is also a strong supporter of tax relief that allows families to save money for college. The tax relief bill that the President worked with Congress to enact in 2001 not only lets working families keep more of the money they earn right now, but targets additional tax relief to encourage savings for postsecondary education. Specifically, the tax relief bill increased the annual limit on contributions to education savings accounts from $500 to $2,000, and allows tax-free distributions from Qualified Tuition Plans (Section 529 plans) used to pay college costs and permits private institutions to offer such plans. Thanks for writing.

October 6 2004 | 6:34 p.m.(EDT)

Q: Dean from Osawatomie, KS:
Is it true the your Administration is escalating attacks on our environment by letting corportations increase air and water pollution, cut down our wild forest, and destroy our public lands? This information came to me by the Natural Resources Defense Council. If this is what is going on or is planned, will you please have it stopped?

Jim Connaughton A: Jim Connaughton, Chairman Council of Environmental Quality:
Thanks for the question and the opportunity to respond to some of the myths out there. We appreciate it when interested and concerned Americans, like you, want to find out the facts for themselves. Our air and water quality are continuing to improve, even as our economy is rapidly growing. For example, since 1970, air pollution has been dramatically cut by more than half – while the economy more than doubled in strength. In the last several years alone, power plant emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) have been significantly reduced. We’re going to build on that progress.


October 6 2004 | 11:28 a.m.(EDT)

Q: Linda from Camarillo, CA:
Housing costs in California are highier than ever before. Knowing this, how can President Bush cut funding for programs that provide rental assistance to low income families, seniors, and those with disabilites?

Alphonso Jackson A: Alphonso Jackson, Secretary of Housing & Urban Development:
The Bush Administration is committed to serving those who rent, and we recognize that the Section 8 program is in desperate need of reform. In the past four years, funding for Section 8 has increased by 41 percent, to more than half of HUD’s total annual budget. Unfortunately, the growth in the Section 8 budget does not mean that more families are being served, and it is crowding out funding for programs like those that serve the elderly, people living with AIDS, and the homeless.

We have proposed to strengthen the Section 8 program by allowing local housing agencies more flexibility to run the program provided they serve at least the same number of families. By promoting self-sufficiency and more effective use of subsidy, more families currently on waiting lists will be served. Click here to read more about the President's record of achievement in expanding home ownership.

October 5 2004 | 12:27 p.m.(EDT)

Q: Mike from San Antonio, TX:
I'm 43, married, have three young children, and make just under $75,000 a year. What is today's tax cut going to do for me?

John Snow A: John Snow, Secretary of Treasury:
Mike, you and your family will benefit from many of the provisions in the "Working Families Tax Relief Act of 2004." First, you and your wife will have relief from the unfair marriage penalty, which taxes you just because you are married. You also will be able to keep more of your hard earned money because of the expansion of the 10% tax bracket. The full $1,000 per child tax credit will be available to you and your family through 2010. As a middle-class taxpayer, you and your family are provided greater protection from the Alternative Minimum Tax Relief by the larger exemption (i.e., the first $58,000 of a married couple's income).

The "Working Families Tax Relief Act of 2004" also helps simplify the tax code by providing clear direction for families who qualify for the child tax credit, the Earned Income Tax Credit, the dependent care tax credit, the dependent exemption and those who file as the head of household.

October 1 2004 | 5:13 p.m.(EDT)

Q: Priscilla from Katy, Texas:
Why are unelected judges given so much authority over such issues as redefining marriage? Who are these judges and is there anything that can be done to stop them?

Alberto Gonzales A: Alberto Gonzales, Attorney General:
In our system of government the role of the judge is to resolve disputes that fall within their jurisdiction. Unless Congress chooses to limit the jurisdiction of federal judges they will resolve disputes such as gay marriage. The President believes that judges should not decide policy for the American people, and he has nominated judges who do not come to the bench with an agenda.