Building A Better Future Through Trusting And Empowering The American People
President Bush Delivers 2008 State Of The Union Address, Says Congress And The Administration Must Come Together To Achieve Results
Tonight, President Bush will deliver his 2008 State of the Union address and set forth a vigorous agenda to achieve results for the American people this year. The President will reaffirm his belief in the power of freedom and in policies that trust the American people to make wise choices. He will present new ideas and identify key areas where the Administration and Congress can come together to complete important unfinished business to protect Americans and to ensure that our country continues to prosper. This includes:
- Keeping America's Economy Healthy: To help keep our economy growing in the short-term, President Bush will ask Congress to quickly pass the $150 billion economic growth package agreed upon in bipartisan negotiations between the Administration and House leadership. President Bush will also ask Congress to make sure the tax relief that is now in place is made permanent â this is the most important action to ensure the long-term health of our economy.
- Expanding Opportunities For America's Workers: President Bush will call on Congress to open markets to American workers, farmers, and entrepreneurs by approving free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea. The President believes Americans can compete with anybody, anywhere as long as the rules are fair, and these trade agreements will ensure open markets and new opportunities for U.S. business and agriculture. The Administration is also working for a successful Doha Round of trade talks, and the President is committed to completing a good agreement this year to expand opportunity for Americans and millions struggling to escape poverty worldwide.
- Eliminating Wasteful Federal Spending: President Bush will issue a pledge to veto any appropriations bill Congress sends him that does not cut the number and cost of earmarks in half. He will also issue an Executive Order on Tuesday, January 29, directing Federal agencies to ignore any future earmark that is not voted on by Congress.
- Saving Social Security, Medicare, And Medicaid: The President will challenge Members of Congress to come up with a bipartisan solution to save these vital entitlement programs for future generations. He has laid out several proposals to reform these programs, and now he calls on Members of Congress to develop their own ideas.
- Caring For Our Nation's Veterans And Their Families: The President will call on Congress to expand support for military families by expanding their access to childcare, creating new hiring preferences for military spouses across the Federal government, and allowing our troops to transfer their unused education benefits to their spouses or children. He will also ask Congress to ensure our returning wounded warriors effectively and efficiently receive the services they need by completing work on the remaining Dole-Shalala Commission recommendations that require legislation.
- Reauthorizing No Child Left Behind And Expanding Education Options: President Bush will call on Congress to pass bipartisan legislation reauthorizing and strengthening No Child Left Behind. He will also ask Congress to support a new $300 million "Pell Grants for Kids" program to help poor children in underperforming schools afford the schools of their choice and announce a White House Summit on inner city children in faith-based and other non-public schools that will be held this spring.
- Keeping America Competitive In The 21st Century: The President will ask Congress to continue on the path to double Federal support for critical basic research in the physical sciences and ensure America remains the most dynamic nation on earth. Last year, Congress passed legislation supporting full funding of research under the President's American Competitiveness Initiative, an agenda to strengthen our scientific education and research, improve our technological enterprise, attract the world's best and brightest workers, and provide 21st century job training. Unfortunately, Congress has not provided sufficient funding. This funding is necessary now for American entrepreneurs and workers to maintain a competitive edge.
- Increasing Energy Security And Confronting Climate Change: President Bush will call on Congress to build on the success of the energy bill he signed in December and take the next steps to improve our energy security and confront the challenge of climate change without undermining economic growth. He will reaffirm the United States' commitment to work with the other major economies and through the UN toward an international agreement on climate change that can slow, stop, and then reverse the growth of greenhouse gas emissions through actions by every major economy. He will also call for the creation of a new $2 billion international clean technology fund.
- Empowering America's Armies Of Compassion: President Bush will call on Congress to help ensure equal treatment for faith-based organizations seeking Federal funding by permanently extending Charitable Choice provisions guaranteeing their participation on equal footing in certain Federal programs. In addition, the President will honor the resilience of the people of the Gulf Coast, and the contributions volunteers have made to the region, by announcing that the United States will host the annual North American Leaders' Summit in New Orleans this April.
- Improving Border Security, Immigration Enforcement, And Assimilation: President Bush will review the steps his Administration is taking to improve our border security and address immigration challenges within the boundaries of existing law. Although Congress has not passed legislation to address the immigration challenges our Nation faces, the Administration continues to build upon progress we have already made in strengthening our borders, enforcing our worksite laws, prosecuting criminal aliens, keeping our economy well-supplied with vital workers, and helping new Americans successfully assimilate into our society. Without legislation that creates a lawful way for foreign workers to support our economy, however, we cannot fully relieve the pressure on the border.
- Empowering Americans With Affordable Options For Health Care: President Bush will lay out elements of his health care agenda to promote accessible and affordable health care and leave medical decisions in the hands of patients and the doctors that treat them. He will call on Congress to eliminate the unfair bias in the tax code in order to make basic private health insurance more affordable for millions.
- Confirming Qualified Judicial Nominees: The President has submitted qualified judicial nominees who will interpret the law instead of attempting to make new laws. Many of these worthy candidates' nominations are being unfairly delayed, and the Senate should give each of them a prompt up-or-down vote.
- Increasing Federal Support For Ethical Stem Cell Research: President Bush has directed Federal agencies to provide funding for stem cell and medical research that does not harm human embryos. In November 2007, several new studies reaffirmed the President's commitment to support this type of research by showing the potential of reprogramming adult cells, such as skin cells, to make them function like embryonic stem cells. President Bush will also call on Congress to pass legislation that bans unethical practices such as the buying, selling, patenting, or cloning of human life.
President Bush will ask Congress to work with him to advance the freedom agenda abroad and continue to fulfill his top priority of keeping our Nation safe. This includes:
- Keeping Our Nation Safe From Terrorism: President Bush will remind Congress that one of the most important tools we can give the men and women who protect us from attack is the ability to monitor terrorist communications. To protect America, we need to know who the terrorists are talking to, what they are saying, and what they are planning. Last year, Congress passed legislation to help us do that, but it is set to expire on February 1. This means that if Congress does not act this week, our ability to track terrorist threats would be weakened --and our citizens will be in greater danger. Congress must act now to ensure the flow of vital intelligence is not disrupted and to pass liability protection for companies believed to have assisted our nation following the attacks on 9/11.
- Supporting Our Troops As They Make Progress In Iraq And Afghanistan: The President will call on Congress to fully fund our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan so they get the equipment they need as soon as possible to do the job they have been asked to do. While much work remains, U.S. and Iraqi troops working together have achieved significant results, and as we are seeing more success, some of our forces in Iraq are returning home and not being replaced. He will also announce the United States is adding 3,200 Marines to our forces in Afghanistan to ensure the gains this nation has made toward democracy are not reversed.
- Keeping America Safe By Advancing Freedom Worldwide: President Bush will reaffirm his commitment to support those in other countries who are advancing freedom and justice as hopeful alternatives to the violent extremism embraced by America's enemies.
- Supporting A Compassionate Foreign Policy: President Bush believes freedom can only be advanced if the United States does its part to eliminate the hunger, disease, poverty, and illiteracy that creates despair and allows violent extremism to take root. The President will ask Congress to reauthorize the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, consistent with the program's successful founding principles, and to double the Plan's historic initial commitment with an additional $30 billion over five years. He continues to support the President's Malaria Initiative to combat malaria in 15 African countries, and the President will also ask Congress to support an innovative proposal to provide food assistance by purchasing crops directly from farmers in the developing world.