Key Initiatives in the President's State of the Union Message
President Bush announced a $1.2 billion hydrogen fuel initiative to reverse America's growing dependence on foreign oil by developing the technology for commercially viable hydrogen-powered fuel cells to power cars, trucks, homes and businesses with no pollution or greenhouse gases. The hydrogen fuel initiative will include $720 million in new funding over the next five years to develop the technologies and infrastructure to produce, store, and distribute hydrogen for use in fuel cell vehicles and electricity generation. Combined with the FreedomCAR (Cooperative Automotive Research) initiative, President Bush is proposing a total of $1.7 billion over the next five years to develop hydrogen-powered fuel cells, hydrogen infrastructure and advanced automotive technologies.
Under the President's hydrogen fuel initiative, the first car driven by a child born today could be powered by fuel cells. The hydrogen fuel initiative complements the President's existing FreedomCAR initiative, which is developing technologies needed for mass production of safe and affordable hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles. Through partnerships with the private sector, the hydrogen fuel initiative and FreedomCAR will make it practical and cost-effective for large numbers of Americans to choose to use clean, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles by 2020. This will dramatically improve America's energy security by significantly reducing the need for imported oil, as well as help clean our air and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Building a More Compassionate America
Helping Children at Risk: In his 2002 State of the Union address, President Bush called on all Americans to serve their neighbors and their Nation and created the USA Freedom Corps. In the last year the USA Freedom Corps has become a resource for volunteers and volunteer-serving organizations alike -- working with federally-supported programs, business, educators and the volunteer sector to enlist millions of Americans in meaningful opportunities to serve their neighbors. This year, he asked Americans to share their compassion with those at risk of losing hope by becoming mentors. The President proposed a three-year, $450 million initiative to recruit and train mentors for more than one million disadvantaged youth, and children with one or more parents in prison, who are making the transition from childhood through adolescence. Through this initiative, key federal agencies will work with nonprofit, community, and faith-based organizations that train volunteer mentors and pair them with children in need.
Conquering Addiction: Last year, approximately 100,000 men and women seeking drug treatment could not get help. To address this problem, the President called for a $600 million increase in federal treatment funding over the next three years to help addicted Americans find needed treatment from the most effective programs, including faith-based institutions. This new investment will make treatment available to help 300,000 more Americans combat their addiction over the next three years, by providing vouchers to individuals identified in their communities as needing treatment. By doing this, the Presidents plan ensures the availability of a comprehensive continuum of effective treatment and support service options for those who need help.
Combating the International HIV/AIDS Pandemic
President Bush announced the Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, a five-year, $15 billion initiative to turn the tide in the global effort to combat the HIV/AIDS pandemic. The HIV/AIDS pandemic has killed at least 20 million of the more than 60 million people it has infected thus far, leaving 14 million orphans worldwide.
Today, on the continent of Africa, nearly 30 million people have the AIDS virus including three million children under the age of 15. There are whole countries in Africa where more than one-third of the adult population carries the infection. More than four million require immediate drug treatment. Yet across that continent, only 50,000 AIDS victims are receiving the medicine they need.
The Presidents Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief will help the most afflicted countries in Africa and the Caribbean wage and win the war against HIV/AIDS, extending and saving lives. The following countries will be the focus of the initiative: Botswana, Cote dIvoire, Ethiopia, Guyana, Haiti, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.
In each of these countries, the United States will work with private groups and willing governments to put in place a comprehensive system for diagnosing, preventing and treating AIDS. Central hospitals will have laboratories, specialized doctors, and nurses to anchor the system. Satellite clinics will provide antiretroviral drugs and education on the prevention of AIDS. By truck and motorcycle, nurses and local healers will reach the farthest villages and farms to test for the disease and to deliver life-saving drugs.
The initiative is intended to:
Prevent 7 million new infections (60 percent of the projected 12 million new infections in the target countries);
Provide antiretroviral drugs for 2 million HIV-infected people; and
Care for 10 million HIV-infected individuals and AIDS orphans.
The $15 billion virtually triples the current U.S. commitment to fighting AIDS internationally. It includes $10 billion in new funds, of which $1 billion is for the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. Funding will begin with $2 billion in FY 04 and ramp up thereafter.
Protecting Americans from the Threat of Bio-Terrorism
The possibility of the intentional use of biological or other dangerous agents represents a threat to our society. Unfortunately, the medical treatments available for some types of terrorist attacks have improved little in decades, while there has been tremendous and rapid progress in the treatment of many serious naturally-occurring diseases. The President believes that, by bringing researchers, medical experts, and the biomedical industry together in a new and focused way, our Nation can achieve the same kind of treatment breakthroughs for bio-terrorism and other threats that have significantly reduced the threat of heart disease, cancer, and many other serious illnesses.
In his State of the Union Address, President Bush proposed Project BioShield -- a comprehensive effort to develop and make available modern, effective countermeasures against biological and other dangerous agents. This major cooperative effort will be a joint activity of the new Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Health and Human Services. The Presidents Project BioShield program will:
Ensure Resources to Develop Next-Generation Countermeasures: The Presidents plan would create a special secure spending authority to pay for the delivery of next-generation medical countermeasures. Over the next 10 years, almost $6 billion will be available to purchase new countermeasures for smallpox, anthrax, and botulinum toxin. Additional funds will be available to produce and purchase countermeasures for other dangerous agents, such as Ebola and plague, once safe and effective treatments are developed.
Expand Research and Development: Project BioShield would expand the ability of the National Institutes of Health to speed research and development on medical countermeasures based on the most promising recent scientific discoveries.
Make Promising Treatments Available Quickly for Emergencies: Under Project BioShield, the Food and Drug Administration would have the ability to make new and promising treatments under development available quickly in emergency situations potentially saving many more lives than treatments otherwise available today.
Strengthening Our Intelligence Systems to Better Protect America
President Bush announced that he has instructed the Directors of Central Intelligence and the FBI, the new Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Secretary of Defense to develop the Nations first unified Terrorist Threat Integration Center. This new center will merge and analyze terrorist-related information collected domestically and abroad in order to form the most comprehensive possible threat picture.
The Terrorist Threat Integration Center will continue to close the "seam" between analysis of foreign and domestic intelligence on terrorism.
Specifically, it will:
Optimize use of terrorist threat-related information, expertise, and capabilities to conduct threat analysis and inform collection strategies.
Create a structure that ensures information sharing across agency lines in a way consistent with our national values of privacy and civil liberties.
Integrate terrorist-related information collected domestically and abroad in order to form the most comprehensive possible threat picture.
Be responsible and accountable for providing terrorist threat assessments for our national leadership.