2007 State of the Union Policy Initiatives
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Overview Fact Sheet
Tonight, President Bush Will Address The Major Issues Facing Our Nation And Discuss Opportunities For Both Parties To Work Together To Accomplish Big Objectives For The American People. The President will unveil a positive, comprehensive agenda that will improve the daily lives of the American people and explain how our actions in the world will make our Nation safer and more secure. The President believes we can find practical ways to advance the American Dream and keep our Nation safe without either party compromising its principles.
President Bush's Agenda For Spreading Hope And Opportunity In America
In The State Of The Union Address, President Bush Will Discuss A Domestic Agenda Including:
- Energy: President Bush will ask Congress and America's scientists, farmers, industry leaders, and entrepreneurs to join him in pursuing the goal of reducing U.S. gasoline usage by 20 percent in the next ten years Twenty in Ten. We will reach the President's Twenty in Ten goal by increasing the supply of renewable and alternative fuels and by reforming and modernizing Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for cars and extending the current light truck rule. The President's energy plan also includes stepping up domestic oil production in environmentally sensitive ways and doubling the current capacity of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR).
- Health Care: President Bush will announce his proposals to make basic, private health insurance available and affordable for more Americans. The President's plan includes reforming the tax code with a standard deduction for health insurance so all Americans get the same tax breaks for health insurance, and helping states make affordable private health insurance available to their citizens.
- Spending Reform: President Bush will discuss three major reforms to spend taxpayer dollars wisely: balancing the budget through pro-growth policies and spending restraint, enacting common-sense reforms to help prevent billions of taxpayer dollars from being spent on unnecessary earmarks, and reforming entitlement programs.
- Education: President Bush will discuss his priorities for strengthening and reauthorizing the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) this year.
- Immigration: President Bush will call on Congress to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill that will secure our borders, enhance interior and worksite enforcement, create a temporary worker program, resolve without animosity and without amnesty the status of illegal immigrants already here, and promote assimilation into our society.
- Judges: The President has a duty to nominate qualified men and women to fill vacancies on the Federal bench, and he calls on the Senate to give those nominees a fair hearing and a prompt up-or-down vote.
America's Actions In The World Will Make Our Nation Safer And More Secure
In The State Of The Union Address, President Bush Will Discuss An International Agenda Including:
- War On Terror/Iraq: The challenge playing out across the broader Middle East is more than a military conflict it is the decisive ideological struggle of our time. For the safety of our people, America must succeed in Iraq, and the President believes his new Iraq plan is the best way to succeed. Tonight, the President will propose to establish a special advisory council on the War on Terror made up of leaders in Congress from both political parties.
- Strengthening Our Military: Tonight, President Bush will ask Congress for authority to increase the overall strength of our active Army and the Marine Corps by 92,000 Soldiers and Marines in the next five years.
- The President's Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) And The President's Malaria Initiative: The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the President's Malaria Initiative are working abroad to save lives.
PRESIDENT BUSH'S DOMESTIC AGENDA
President Bush Will Ask Congress And America's Scientists, Farmers, Industry Leaders, And Entrepreneurs To Join Him In Pursuing The Goal Of Reducing U.S. Gasoline Usage By 20 Percent In The Next Ten Years Twenty In Ten.
America Will Reach The President's Twenty In Ten Goal By:
- Increasing The Supply Of Renewable And Alternative Fuels By Setting A Mandatory Fuels Standard To Require 35 Billion Gallons Of Renewable And Alternative Fuels In 2017 Nearly Five Times The 2012 Target Now In Law. In 2017, this will displace 15 percent of projected annual gasoline use.
- Reforming And Modernizing Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standards For Cars And Extending The Current Light Truck Rule. In 2017, this will reduce projected annual gasoline use by up to 8.5 billion gallons, a further 5 percent reduction that, in combination with increasing the supply of renewable and alternative fuels, will bring the total reduction in projected annual gasoline use to 20 percent.
- Congress Must Reform CAFE For Passenger Cars. The Administration has twice increased CAFE standards for light trucks using an attribute-based method. An attribute-based system (for example, a size-based system) reduces the risk that vehicle safety is compromised, helps preserve consumer choice, and helps spread the burden of compliance across all product lines and manufacturers. Congress should authorize the Secretary of Transportation to apply the same kind of attribute-based method to passenger cars.
The President's Plan Will Help Confront Climate Change By Stopping The Projected Growth Of Carbon Dioxide Emissions From Cars, Light Trucks, And SUVs Within 10 Years.
The President's Plan To Strengthen America's Energy Security Also Includes:
- Stepping Up Domestic Oil Production In Environmentally Sensitive Ways
- Doubling The Current Capacity Of The Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) To 1.5 Billion Barrels By 2027. Doubling the SPR alone will provide approximately 97 days of net oil import protection, enhancing America's ability to respond to potential oil disruptions.
President Bush Will Announce His Proposals To Make Basic, Private Health Insurance Available And Affordable For More Americans. Americans are fortunate to have the most advanced and innovative health care system in the world. The President's plan will make private health insurance more affordable and increase the number of Americans with health insurance. The plan will also help our Nation move away from reliance on government-run health care and toward a system in which Americans have better access to basic, affordable private insurance, and increased ownership of their medical decisions.
The President's Plan Includes Two Parts: Reforming The Tax Code With A Standard Deduction For Health Insurance So All Americans Get The Same Tax Breaks For Health Insurance And Helping States Make Affordable Private Health Insurance Available To Their Citizens.
- The President's Plan Will Help More Americans Afford Health Insurance By Reforming The Tax Code With A Standard Deduction For Health Insurance Like The Standard Deduction For Dependents. The President's primary goal is to make health insurance more affordable, allowing more Americans to purchase coverage. The President's proposal levels the playing field for Americans who purchase health insurance on their own rather than through their employers, providing a substantial tax benefit for all those who now have health insurance purchased on the individual market. It also lowers taxes for all currently uninsured Americans who decide to purchase health insurance making insurance more affordable and providing a significant incentive to all working Americans to purchase coverage, thereby reducing the number of uninsured Americans.
- Under The President's Proposal, Families With Health Insurance Will Not Pay Income Or Payroll Taxes On The First $15,000 In Compensation And Singles Will Not Pay Income Or Payroll Taxes On The First $7,500.
- At the same time, health insurance would be considered taxable income. This is a change for those who now have health insurance through their jobs.
- The President's proposal will result in lower taxes for about 80 percent of employer-provided policies.
- Those with more generous policies (20 percent) will have the option to adjust their compensation to have lower premiums and higher wages to offset the tax change.
- The President's Affordable Choices Initiative Will Help States Make Basic Private Health Insurance Available And Will Provide Additional Help To Americans Who Cannot Afford Insurance Or Who Have Persistently High Medical Expenses. For States that provide their citizens with access to basic, affordable private health insurance, the President's Affordable Choices Initiative will direct Federal funding to assist States in helping their poor and hard-to-insure citizens afford private insurance. By allocating current Federal health care funding more effectively, the President's plan accomplishes this goal without creating a new Federal entitlement or new Federal spending.
These Two Policies Will Work Together To Help More Americans Afford Basic Private Coverage. The President's proposed standard deduction for health insurance will help make basic private health insurance more affordable for families and individuals whether they have insurance through their jobs or purchase insurance on their own. For those who remain unable to afford coverage, the President's Affordable Choices Initiative will help eligible States assist their poor and hard-to-insure citizens in purchasing private health insurance.
There Are Many Other Ways That Congress Can Help. We need to expand Health Savings Accounts, help small businesses through Association Health Plans, reduce costs and medical errors with better information technology, encourage price transparency, and protect good doctors from predatory lawsuits by passing medical liability reform.
President Bush Will Discuss Three Major Reforms To Spend Tax Dollars Wisely And Keep America's Economy Strong. Next week, the President will deliver a full report on the state of our economy, which has added more than 7.2 million jobs since August 2003. Americans are finding jobs and taking home more pay.
To Spend Tax Dollars Wisely, We Must:
- Balance The Budget Through Pro-Growth Policies And Spending Restraint.
- Enact Common-Sense Reforms To Help Prevent Billions Of Taxpayer Dollars From Being Spent On Unnecessary Earmarks.
- Reform Entitlement Programs To Address The Longer-Term Fiscal Challenge Facing Our Country.
President Bush Will Discuss His Priorities For The Reauthorization Of The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). In 2001, President Bush worked with Republicans and Democrats to pass NCLB with overwhelming support, and he was proud to sign it into law in 2002. President Bush is committed to reauthorizing NCLB this year and building on the good progress that has been made. Strengthening and reauthorizing NCLB is critical if we were to lower standards and roll back accountability now, we would be leaving children to the former status quo that failed them for decades.
- NCLB Is Raising Student Achievement For Millions Of Children In Schools Nationwide. Because of NCLB, every State and the District of Columbia now hold schools accountable for results by testing every child and evaluating students by student group. Minority students are closing the achievement gap, and student achievement is rising more reading progress was made by 9-year-olds in five years than in the previous 28 years combined, and reading and math scores for 9-year-olds and fourth-graders have reached all-time highs.
- Reauthorization Offers An Opportunity To Make Some Common Sense Changes To Strengthen NCLB And Increase Flexibility, But We Must Preserve NCLB's Core Principles:
- All students must be able to read and do math at grade level or above by 2014.
- We must have higher expectations and demand greater accountability in order to improve the academic achievement of every student and to close the achievement gap using annual assessments and disaggregated data.
- We must have effective teachers in core academic subjects in every classroom.
- We must provide timely information and real options including intensive tutoring and choice for children in consistently underperforming schools for all parents with children in failing schools so they can make the best decisions for their children.
- The President's Proposals To Strengthen NCLB Further The Goals Of His American Competitiveness Initiative. Math and science skills are critical for success in college and the workplace. Our students must be equipped with the knowledge and skills to compete in the global economy.
President Bush Will Call On Congress To Pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform. The President believes that America can simultaneously be a lawful, economically dynamic, and welcoming society. We must address the problem of illegal immigration and deliver a system that is secure, productive, orderly, and fair. The President calls on Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform that will secure our borders, enhance interior and worksite enforcement, create a temporary worker program, resolve without animosity and without amnesty the status of illegal immigrants already here, and promote assimilation into our society. All elements of this problem must be addressed together or none of them will be solved.
President Bush Will Call On The Senate To Give His Judicial Nominees A Fair Hearing And A Prompt Up-Or-Down Vote. President Bush and Congress have a shared obligation to ensure that vacancies in the Federal courts are filled.
PRESIDENT BUSH'S INTERNATIONAL AGENDA
War On Terror/Iraq
President Bush Will Discuss His Determination To Defeat The Terrorists Who Are Part Of A Broader Extremist Movement That Is Now Doing Everything It Can To Defeat Us In Iraq. If the extremists prevail in Iraq, the American people will be less safe and our enemies will be emboldened and more lethal.
- The Challenge Playing Out Across The Broader Middle East Is More Than A Military Conflict It Is The Decisive Ideological Struggle Of Our Time. On one side are those who believe in freedom and moderation. On the other side are extremists who kill the innocent, and have declared their intention to destroy our way of life. It is in our Nation's interests to stand with moderates working for the cause of freedom across the Middle East.
- For The Safety Of Our People, America Must Succeed In Iraq. The consequences of failure are clear: radical Islamists would grow in strength and gain new recruits. They would be in a better position to topple moderate governments, create chaos in the region, and use oil revenues to fund their ambitions. Iran would be emboldened in its pursuit of nuclear weapons, and our enemies would have a safe haven from which to plan and launch attacks on the American people.
- Now Is The Time For The Iraqi Government To Act. Iraq's leaders have committed themselves to a series of benchmarks to achieve reconciliation to share oil revenues among all of Iraq's citizens, to put the wealth of Iraq into the rebuilding of Iraq, to allow more Iraqis to re-enter their nation's political life, to hold local elections, and to take responsibility for security in every Iraqi province.
- To Achieve Progress In Iraq, We Must First Secure Baghdad. The President's plan to deploy more than 20,000 additional soldiers and Marines to Iraq will help the Iraqi government take back its capital and make good on its commitments.
- The President Believes His New Iraq Plan Is The Best Way To Succeed. Tonight, the President will propose to establish a special advisory council on the War on Terror made up of leaders in Congress from both political parties. It is important for our country to come together in this hour of war and to give the President's new plan an opportunity to succeed. More information on the President's Iraq strategy is available at: /news/releases/2007/01/20070110-3.html .
Strengthening Our Military
President Bush Will Act On Defense Secretary Bob Gates' Recommendation And Ask Congress For Authority To Increase The Overall Strength Of Our Active Army And The Marine Corps By 92,000 Soldiers And Marines Through 2012. A larger, all-volunteer Army and Marine Corps will expand the capabilities of our armed forces while reducing the stress on the force and the war fighter caused by deployments in the Global War on Terror. It may take some time for these new troops to become available for deployment, but it is important that our men and women in uniform know that additional manpower and resources are on the way.
President's Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)
President Bush Will Discuss How The President's Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Is Meeting His Commitment Of $15 Billion Over Five Years To Support Treatment For 2 Million People, Prevention Of 7 Million New Infections, And Care For 10 Million People. PEPFAR is the largest international health initiative in history dedicated to a single disease. PEPFAR works worldwide, but targets 15 focus countries that are home to approximately half of the world's 39 million HIV-positive people: Botswana, Cote d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Guyana, Haiti, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Vietnam, and Zambia.
President Bush Will Discuss How The President's Malaria Initiative (PMI) Is Saving Lives. Announced by President Bush in June 2005, PMI is a five-year, $1.2 billion program that challenges the private sector to join the U.S. government in combating malaria in 15 of the hardest-hit African countries. In December 2006, the President and Mrs. Bush hosted the White House Summit on Malaria, bringing together experts; corporations and foundations; African civic leaders; multi-lateral groups; and voluntary, faith-based, and non-profit organizations to join PMI in the goal of cutting malaria's mortality rate by 50 percent in these target countries, freeing the citizens of these African nations from the grip this of debilitating disease.
Civilian Response Capacity
President Bush Will Call For The Development Of A Strong Civilian Response Capacity To Provide Critical Assistance To The Development Of Civil Society And Reconstruction Efforts.