For Immediate Release
February 3, 2005
Fact Sheet: The State of the Union
Over the next several months, on issue after issue, let us do what Americans have always done, and build a better world for our children and grandchildren. President George W. Bush, February 2, 2005
In his State of the Union Address, President Bush described the state
of our Union as confident and strong - the U.S. economy is growing
steadily, more Americans are finding jobs, and our Nation is serving as
an active force for good in the world. The President conveyed his
gratitude to the American people for the privilege to serve once again,
with a renewed commitment to the guiding ideal of liberty for all. He
recognized that, over the last four years, Americans have come together
to overcome great challenges, and he underscored his faith and
confidence in the American people and our Nation's future.
President Bush laid out ambitious goals for the future, behind
which all Americans can unite, and urged the Nation to move forward
with the work that needs to be done this year:
- Growing Our Economy and Renewing Great Institutions
- Saving Social
Security for America's Future Generations
- Protecting America's Families
and Promoting Compassion Across the Nation
- Making America Safer with
Decisive Action to Win the War on Terror and Spread Freedom
Growing Our Economy and Renewing Great Institutions
Over the past four years, we have provided tax relief to every
taxpayer, overcome a recession, opened new markets abroad, prosecuted
corporate criminals, raised homeownership to the highest level in
history, and - in the last year alone -created 2.3 million jobs for
Americans. The President believes we must add to those achievements to
keep America the economic leader of the world.
To ensure prosperity for future generations, we must reform
institutions - retirement plans, the tax code, our health care system,
and worker training programs - that were created for the world of
yesterday, not tomorrow. We must transform these systems so that all
Americans are equipped and prepared to realize the American Dream.
Strengthening Spending Restraint While Meeting Our Nation's
Priorities: The President's budget reflects the country's most
important priorities of ensuring economic growth and fighting the War
on Terror. The President will continue to provide whatever it takes to
defend our country and protect our homeland. He will also continue to
promote pro-growth economic policies and exercise responsible spending
restraint to meet his goal of cutting the budget deficit in half by
Making Tax Relief Permanent: The tax relief enacted over the past
four years, including the tax relief benefiting America's small
businesses, is scheduled to expire over the next several years. This
tax relief must be made permanent. Raising taxes on families and small
businesses will hurt economic growth and job creation.
Strengthening High Schools: The No Child Left Behind Act is
bringing important reforms to America's elementary schools by insisting
on standards and accountability for results. The early grades are
seeing progress across America, but we must improve America's high
schools. The President wants high standards to be applied to America's
high schools to ensure that every student graduates with the skills
needed to succeed in college and a globally competitive workforce. His
Fiscal Year 2006 budget will provide $1.5 billion in funding for a new
High School Initiative to help states hold high schools accountable for
teaching all students and to provide effective and timely intervention
for those students who are not learning at grade level. This
initiative includes requirements for state assessments in high school
to ensure that diplomas are truly meaningful.
Providing Students with Assistance for Quality Higher Education: The current Federal student-aid system does not serve American students
well, and is not the best use of taxpayer money. By reforming the
student loan program, the President's Fiscal Year 2006 budget will
increase the maximum Pell Grant award to $4,150 this year and $4,550
over five years to help more students pay for higher education and
prepare for a lifetime of achievement. The President's budget request
will increase resources for Pell Grants by more than $15 billion over
the next 10 years to provide extra assistance for the Nation's
Preparing Americans for Jobs of the 21st Century: America's
growing and transitioning economy requires new skills and new
technologies, and the President is committed to providing American
workers with the skills they need to succeed. President Bush believes
we must ensure that every adult, and especially low- and middle-income
Americans, can access the training to close the skills gap in America,
and he will work with Congress to reform workforce training and
increase the number of people served.
Reducing Excessive Regulations: The President wants to streamline
regulations and reduce paperwork to alleviate the burdens that unduly
handicap America's entrepreneurs and job creators. Since the President
took office, his Administration has slowed the growth of burdensome new
rules by 75 percent, while still moving forward with crucial safeguards
for homeland security, human health, and environmental protection.
Curbing Junk Lawsuits and Reforming Class Action: To help reduce
the rising cost of health care while improving quality and safety,
President Bush called on Congress to enact legal reform. Class action
lawsuits are an important part of the U.S. legal system, but abusive
class actions harm injured parties and undermine the American judicial
system. Asbestos-related bankruptcies are hurting workers and delaying
relief for truly sick claimants.
Making Health Care More Affordable: President Bush believes all
Americans should have access to affordable, high-quality health care.
Rising health-care costs impose a burden on families and small
businesses and put coverage out of the reach of many Americans. Many
businesses - particularly small firms - are struggling with these
- The President has proposed a comprehensive, consumer-driven plan
to address the problems of rising health-care costs and
uninsurance. His plan includes Health Savings Accounts (HSAs),
Association Health Plans (AHPs) for small businesses, civic
groups, and community organizations, tax credits for low-income
families, medical liability reform, and a goal of electronic
health records for most Americans within 10 years.
President's plan will help reduce the rising cost of health care
while improving quality and safety. It will provide new and
affordable health coverage options for all Americans - targeted
to those who need it most: low-income children and families and
employees of small businesses and the self-employed.
Providing Affordable, Environmentally Responsible Energy: The
President's comprehensive energy strategy will help America meet the
energy needs of a growing economy in environmentally responsible ways.
His plan encourages conservation; passage of Clear Skies legislation to
cut power-plant pollution; alternative sources of energy, including
hydrogen-fuel, clean coal, and ethanol; a modernized electricity grid;
and more production here at home, including safe, clean, nuclear
Reforming Immigration to Safeguard the Liberty of America:President Bush called on Congress to work with him to achieve
significant immigration reform that protects the homeland by
controlling the borders; serves America's economy by matching a willing
worker with a willing employer when no American is willing to fill the
job; promotes compassion and protects workers from abuse; provides
incentives for temporary workers to return to their home countries and
families; and rejects amnesty and protects the rights of legal
immigrants while not unfairly rewarding those who came here unlawfully
or hope to do so.
Reforming the Tax Code: The current tax code is a maze of
special-interest loopholes that causes America's taxpayers to spend
more than six billion hours every year on paperwork and other
headaches. President Bush believes that America's taxpayers deserve -
and our future economic prosperity demands - a simpler, fairer, more
pro-growth system. Taxes should be applied fairly, and reform should
recognize the importance of homeownership and charity in our society.
As a first step in reforming the code, the President has created a
bipartisan panel to advise the Secretary of the Treasury on options to
reform the tax code.
Saving Social Security for America's Future Generations
Fixing the Current Social Security System: The President wants
to strengthen Social Security for the 21st century. His fiscally
responsible plan calls for reforms that would keep Social
Security's promises for today's seniors and those near
retirement; solve the financial problems of Social Security once
and for all; and give younger workers a chance to save in
personal accounts for their own retirement.
- By 2018, Social
Security will owe more in annual benefits than the revenues it
takes in, and when today's young workers begin to retire in 2042,
the system will be exhausted and bankrupt. As currently
structured, Social Security cannot afford to pay promised
benefits to young workers. President Bush has laid out basic
principles to guide reform:
- We must make Social Security permanently sound;
- We must guarantee no change for those 55 years or older (born before 1950);
- We must not jeopardize our economic strength by raising payroll taxes;
- We must ensure that lower-income Americans get the help they need to have dignity and peace of mind in their retirement;
- We must make sure any changes in the system are gradual, so that younger workers have years to prepare and plan for their future; and
- We must make Social Security a
better deal for younger workers through voluntary personal retirement
- The President laid out his vision for voluntary personal
retirement accounts. Under his plan, personal retirement
accounts would start gradually. Yearly contribution limits would
be raised over time, eventually permitting all workers to set
aside 4 percentage points of their payroll taxes in their
- There will be careful guidelines for personal
accounts to provide greater security in retirement, including a
conservative mix of bonds and stock funds similar to those offered
under the Federal employee retirement plan; protection from hidden
fees; protection from sudden market swings on the eve of retirement;
and a requirement of pay-outs over time to prevent a person from
emptying his or her account all at once.
Protecting America's Families and Promoting Compassion Across the
Defending the Dignity of Human Life: The President is committed to
medical research that does not violate the dignity of human life or
exploit one human life for the benefit of another. President Bush will
work with Congress to prohibit the creation of human life for research
and other unethical practices.
Helping America's Youth: Statistics show that boys are at greater
risk than girls for learning disabilities, dropping out of school,
violence, juvenile arrest, and early death caused by violent behavior.
Boys often begin to fall behind girls in elementary school, which leads
to higher dropout rates and juvenile delinquency, and they often show
signs of behavioral problems early in life. As boys grow older, risk
behaviors such as alcohol and drug abuse become more prevalent, and
gang involvement increases.
- The President announced a new outreach effort, to be led by Mrs.
Laura Bush, to focus on young Americans, especially young men, to
help ensure a successful future. During the next year, the
President and Mrs. Bush are committed to highlighting the
importance of focusing on at-risk youth, especially boys;
educating parents and communities on the importance of promoting
positive youth development; and informing parents and communities
of strong and successful prevention and intervention programs
that work by drawing attention to initiatives from around the
- The President's focus on young Americans will include
support for programs that help youth overcome the specific risk
of gang influence and involvement. The President proposed a
three-year, $150-million initiative to help youth at risk of gang
influence and involvement through grants to faith-based and
community organizations. These organizations will provide a
positive model for youth - one that respects women and rejects
Extending and Improving the Lives of Those Living with HIV/AIDS: The President continues his commitment to combating HIV/AIDS
internationally and domestically. President Bush called for the
reauthorization of the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources
Emergency (CARE) Act based on the principles of focusing Federal
resources on life-extending care; ensuring flexibility to target
resources to address areas of greatest need; and ensuring results.
Ensuring Justice and Fairness for All Americans: An important part
of the American character is our system of justice, and the principle
that everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty. President
Bush's new proposal will improve state criminal-justice systems through
training for defense counsel, prosecutors, and judges to ensure they
are adequately trained to handle state capital trials. Congress should
fully fund the President's DNA Initiative to solve crime and protect
the innocent from wrongful conviction through elimination of existing
backlogs of DNA samples, strengthening lab capacity, expanding testing
for convicted offenders, and training for law enforcement and attorneys
on the use of DNA.
Making America Safer with Decisive Action to Win the War on Terror
and Spread Freedom
Since September 11, 2001, President Bush has taken unprecedented
actions to protect all Americans, including creating the Department of
Homeland Security, focusing the FBI on preventing terrorism, reforming
our intelligence agencies, expanding research on biological and
chemical defense, and improving border security.
America's Heroes in Uniform: President Bush continues to honor the
service of America's men and women in uniform serving at posts across
the world. These volunteers make every American proud as they work to
secure our Nation. Americans are grateful to the members of the armed
forces, their family members and loved ones.
Fighting Terrorism and Promoting Democracy: The Coalition forces
are succeeding in their mission to create a secure and peaceful
environment in which democracy can thrive. Taking the fight to the
enemy - with the essential help of our allies - has made America
- Historic Days in Iraq: In cooperation with the Iraqi government
and Iraqi security forces, Coalition forces are conducting an
effective counter-insurgency campaign, while, at the same time,
training more Iraqi recruits and broadening the capabilities of
the Iraqi security forces moving toward self-sustainable
security. Coalition forces are also working with Iraqi
government ministries to protect essential infrastructure such as
electrical transmission lines.
- On January 30, 2005, the
Iraqi people demonstrated their commitment to democracy by holding the
first free and fair elections in generations. Now begins the process
of organizing the Transitional National Assembly, forming a government,
and drafting and ratifying a permanent constitution that will be the
basis of a fully democratic Iraq.
- Historic Days in Afghanistan: On October 9, 2004, the Afghan
people made history by holding their first direct presidential
election, with both men and women voting. They also adopted a
constitution that protects the rights of all, while honoring
their nation's most cherished traditions. The Afghan people have
proven to the world that there is a yearning among people
everywhere for democracy and freedom.
- Working Cooperatively with
Nations Around the World: America continues to work tirelessly
with our many counterterrorism partners overseas to deny al-Qaida
any safe harbor and to disrupt their terrorist plots. The
President also continues to strengthen America's defenses in the
War on Terror.
Building the Institutions of Peace and Freedom: America's actions
will result in the spread of democracy in the broader Middle East - an
important step that will provide an alternative to terror and
violence. To promote peace in the Middle East, the President believes
we must continue to confront those who are still harboring terrorists.
- In partnership with nations of the broader Middle East, the
President is advancing political, social, and economic reforms in the
- Already underway are specific initiatives on
strengthening civil society and business groups, better targeting
democracy assistance, modernizing education and training systems,
expanding the private sector to create jobs, and providing microcredit
opportunities for entrepreneurs.
President Bush seeks justice and dignity and a viable,
independent, and democratic state for the Palestinian people.
The President announced that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
will travel to Israel and the West Bank to work with our partners
to build the institutions of a peaceful, independent, democratic
state. President Bush asked Congress for $350 million to support
needed Palestinian reforms.
President Bush described the state of our Union as confident and
strong and urged all Americans to move forward and complete the
important work ahead.
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