Pres­i­dent pre­pares for ‘fu­ture of hope and op­por­tu­nity’

The Washington Times Weekly - - National -

The fol­low­ing are excerpts of Pres­i­dent Bush’s State of the Union Ad­dress,as­pre­pared­forde­liv­eryon Jan. 23:

This rite of cus­tom brings us to­gether at a defin­ing hour — when de­ci­sions are hard and courage is tested. We en­ter the year 2007 with large en­deav­ors un­der way, and oth­ers that are ours to be­gin. In all of this, much is asked of us. We must have the will to face dif­fi­cult chal­lenges and de­ter­mined en­e­mies — and the wis­dom to face them to­gether.

Some in this cham­ber are new to the House and Se­nate — and I con­grat­u­late the Demo­cratic ma­jor­ity. Congress has changed, but our re­spon­si­bil­i­ties have not. Each of us is guided by our own con­vic­tions — and to th­ese we must stay faith­ful. Yet we are all held to the same stan­dards and called to serve the same good pur­poses. [. . . ]

We are not the first to come here with gov­ern­ment di­vided and un­cer­tain­tyintheair.Like­many­be­fore us, we can work through our dif­fer­ences,an­dachieve­bigth­ings­forthe Amer­i­can peo­ple. [. . . ]

A fu­ture of hope and op­por­tu­nity be­gins with a grow­ing econ­omy — and that is what we have. We are now in the 41st month of un­in­ter­rupted job growth — in a re­cov­ery that has cre­ated 7.2 mil­lion new jobs so far. Un­em­ploy­ment is low, in­fla­tion is low, and wages are ris­ing. This econ­omy is on the move — and our job is to keep it that way, not with more gov­ern­ment but with more en­ter­prise. [. . . ] ‘Three eco­nomic re­forms’

Tonight, I want to dis­cuss three eco­nomi­cre­form­sthat­de­serve­tobe pri­or­i­ties for this Congress.

First, we must bal­ance the fed­eral bud­get. We can do so with­out rais­ing taxes. What we need to do is im­pose spend­ing dis­ci­pline in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. We set a goal of cut­ting the deficit in half by 2009 — and met that goal three years ahead of sched­ule. Now let us take the next step. In the com­ing weeks, I will sub­mit a bud­get that elim­i­nates the fed­eral deficit within the next five years. [. . . ]

Next, there is the mat­ter of ear­marks. Th­ese spe­cial in­ter­est items are of­ten slipped into bills at the last hour — when not even C-SPAN is watch­ing. In 2005 alone, the num­ber of ear­marks grew to over 13,000 and to­taled nearly $18 bil­lion. [. . . ] The time has come to end this prac­tice. [. . . ]

Fi­nally, to keep this econ­omy strong, we must take on the chal­lenge of en­ti­tle­ments. So­cial Se­cu­rity and Medi­care and Med­i­caid are com­mit­ments of con­science — and so it is our duty to keep them per­ma­nently sound. Yet we are fail­ing in that duty — and this fail­ure will one day leave our chil­dren with three bad op­tions: huge tax in­creases, huge deficits, or huge and im­me­di­ate cuts in ben­e­fits. Ev­ery­one in this cham­ber knows this to be true — yet some­how we have not found it in our­selves to act. So let us work to­gether and do it now. With enough good sense and good will, you and I can fix Medi­care and Med­i­caid — and save So­cial Se­cu­rity.

Spread­ing op­por­tu­nity and hope in Amer­ica also re­quires pub­lic school­sthat­givechil­dren­the­knowl­edge­and­char­ac­tertheyneedin­life. Five years ago, we rose above par­ti­san­dif­fer­ences­topass­theNoChild Left Be­hind Act. [. . . ]

The No Child Left Be­hind Act has worked for Amer­ica’s chil­dren —andIaskCon­gres­store­au­tho­rize this good law.

A fu­ture of hope and op­por­tu­nity re­quires that all our cit­i­zens have af­ford­able and avail­able health care. When it comes to health care, gov­ern­men­thasanobli­ga­tion­to­care­for the el­derly, the dis­abled and poor chil­dren. [. . . ]

Tonight, I pro­pose two new ini­tia­tives to help more Amer­i­cans af­ford their own in­sur­ance. First, I pro­posea­stan­dard­taxd­e­duc­tion­for health in­sur­ance that will be like the stan­dard tax de­duc­tion for de­pen­dents. Fam­i­lies with health in­sur­ance will pay no in­come or pay­roll tax­e­son$15,000oftheir­in­come.Sin­gle Amer­i­cans with health in­sur­ance will pay no in­come or pay­roll tax­e­son$7,500oftheir­in­come.With this re­form, more than 100 mil­lion men, women, and chil­dren who are now cov­ered by em­ployer-pro­vided in­sur­ancewil­l­ben­e­fit­from­low­er­tax bills. [. . . ]

For Amer­i­cans who now pur­chase­health­in­sur­anceon­theirown, my pro­posal would mean a sub­stan­tial tax sav­ings — $4,500 for a fam­i­ly­of­four­mak­ing$60,000ayear. And for the mil­lions of other Amer­i­cans who have no health in­sur­ance at all, this de­duc­tion would help put aba­sicpri­vate­health­in­sur­an­ce­plan with­intheir­reach.Chang­ing­th­etax code is a vi­tal and nec­es­sary step to mak­ing health care af­ford­able for more Amer­i­cans.

My sec­ond pro­posal is to help the states that are com­ing up with in­no­va­tive ways to cover the unin­sured. States that make ba­sic private health in­sur­ance avail­able to all their cit­i­zens should re­ceive fed­eral funds to help them pro­vide this cov­er­age to the poor and the sick. I have asked the sec­re­tary of health and hu­man ser­vices to work with Congress to take ex­ist­ing fed­eral funds and use them to cre­ate “Af­ford­able Choices” grants. Th­ese grants would give our na­tion’s gov­er­nors more money and more flex­i­bil­ity to get private health in­sur- ance to those most in need. [. . . ] Im­mi­gra­tion ‘de­bate’

Ex­tend­ing hope and op­por­tu­nity in our coun­try re­quires an im­mi­gra­tion sys­tem wor­thy of Amer­ica —with­law­sthatare­fairand­bor­ders thatarese­cure.When­lawsand­bor­ders are rou­tinely vi­o­lated, this harms the in­ter­ests of our coun­try. To se­cure our border, we are dou­blingth­e­size­oftheBorderPa­trol— and­fund­ingnewin­fras­truc­ture­and tech­nol­ogy.

Yet even with all th­ese steps, we can­not fully se­cure the border un­less we take pres­sure off the border — and that re­quires a tem­po­rary­worker pro­gram. We should es­tab­lish a le­gal and or­derly path for for­eign­work­er­stoen­ter­our­coun­tryto work on a tem­po­rary ba­sis. As a re­sult, they won’t have to try to sneak in — and that will leave border agents free to chase down drug smug­glers, and crim­i­nals, and ter­ror­ists. We will en­force our im­mi­gra­tion laws at the work site, and giveem­ploy­er­s­thetool­stover­i­fythe le­gal sta­tus of their work­ers — so there is no ex­cuse left for vi­o­lat­ing the law. We need to up­hold the great tra­di­tion of the melt­ing pot that wel­come­san­das­sim­i­lates­newar­rivals. And we need to re­solve the sta­tus of the il­le­gal im­mi­grants who are al­ready in our coun­try — with­out an­i­mos­ity and with­out amnesty.

Con­vic­tion­srun­deepinthisCapi­tol when it comes to im­mi­gra­tion. Let us have a se­ri­ous, civil, and con­clu­sive de­bate — so that you can pass,andI­can­sign,com­pre­hen­sive im­mi­gra­tion re­form into law.

Ex­tend­ing hope and op­por­tu­nity de­pend­sonasta­ble­sup­ply­ofen­ergy that keeps Amer­ica’s econ­omy run­ning and Amer­ica’s en­vi­ron­ment clean. For too long, our na­tion has been de­pen­dent on for­eign oil. [. . . ]

It is in our vi­tal in­ter­est to di­ver­si­fyAmer­ica’sen­er­gy­sup­ply—and the way for­ward is through tech­nol­ogy. We must con­tinue chang­ing the way Amer­ica gen­er­ates elec­tric power — by even greater use of clean coal tech­nol­ogy, so­lar and wind en­ergy, and clean, safe nu­clear power. We need to press on with bat­tery re­search for plug-in and hy­brid ve­hi­cles, and ex­pand the use of clean diesel ve­hi­cles and biodiesel fuel. We must con­tinue in­vest­ing in new meth­ods of pro­duc­ing ethanol — us­ing ev­ery­thing from wood chips, to grasses, to agri­cul­tural wastes. [. . . ]

Tonight,IaskCon­gressto­joinme in­pur­suin­ga­great­goal.Le­tus­build on the work we have done and re­duce gaso­line us­age in the United States by 20 per­cent in the next ten years—there­by­cut­tin­gour­to­talimports by the equiv­a­lent of three­quar­ter­so­falltheoil­wenow­im­port from the Mid­dle East.

To reach this goal, we must in­crease the sup­ply of al­ter­na­tive fu­els, by set­ting a manda­tory fu­els stan­dard to re­quire 35 bil­lion gal­lons of re­new­able and al­ter­na­tive fu­els in 2017 — this is nearly five times the cur­rent tar­get. At the same time, we need to re­form and mod­ern­ize fuel econ­omy stan­dards for cars the way we did for light trucks — and con­serve up to eight and a half bil­lion more gal­lons of gaso­line by 2017. [. . . ] ‘Fight the en­emy’

For all of us in this room, there is no higher re­spon­si­bil­ity than to pro­tect the peo­ple of this coun­try from dan­ger. Five years have come and gone since we saw the scenes and felt the sor­row that ter­ror­ists can cause. We have had time to take stock­o­four­si­t­u­a­tion.We­haveadded many crit­i­cal pro­tec­tions to guard the home­land. We know with cer­tainty that the hor­rors of that Septem­ber­morn­ing­w­ere­justaglimpse of what the ter­ror­ists in­tend for us — un­less we stop them.

Withthedis­tance­of­time,wefind our­selves de­bat­ing the causes of con­flict and the course we have fol­lowed. Such de­bates are es­sen­tial whenagreat­democ­ra­cy­faces­great ques­tions. Yet one ques­tion has surely­beenset­tled—that­towinthe war on ter­ror we must take the fight to the en­emy. [. . . ]

Ev­ery suc­cess against the ter­ror­ists is a re­minder of the shore­less am­bi­tions of this en­emy. The evil that in­spired and re­joiced in 9/11 is stil­lat­workinthe­world.And­so­long as that is the case, Amer­ica is still a na­tion at war.

In the minds of the ter­ror­ists, this war­be­gan­well­be­foreSeptem­ber11 and will not end un­til their rad­i­cal vi­sion is ful­filled. [. . . ] Al Qaeda and its fol­low­ers are Sunni ex­trem­ists, pos­sessed by ha­tred and com­manded by a harsh and nar­row ide­ol­ogy. Take al­most any prin­ci­ple of civ­i­liza­tion, and their goal is the op­po­site. They preach with threats, in­struct with bul­lets and bombs and prom­ise par­adise for the mur­der of the in­no­cent.

Our en­e­mies are quite ex­plicit about their in­ten­tions. They want to over­throw mod­er­ate gov­ern­ments, and es­tab­lish safe havens from which to plan and carry out new at­tacks on our coun­try. By killing and ter­ror­iz­ing Amer­i­cans, they want to force our coun­try to re­treat from the world and aban­don the cause of lib­erty. They would then be free to im­posetheir­wil­land­spreadtheir­to­tal­i­tar­ian ide­ol­ogy. Lis­ten to this warn­ing from the late ter­ror­ist Zar­qawi: “We will sac­ri­fice our blood and bod­ies to put an end to your dreams, and what is com­ing is even worse.” And Osama bin Laden de­clared: “Death is bet­ter than liv­ing on this Earth with the un­be­liev­ers among us.”

Th­ese men are not given to idle words, and they are just one camp in the Is­lamist rad­i­cal move­ment. In re­cent times, it has also be­come clear that we face an es­ca­lat­ing dan­ger from Shi’a ex­trem­ists who are just as hos­tile to Amer­ica, and are also de­ter­mined to dom­i­nate the Mid­dle East. Many are known to take di­rec­tion from the regime in Iran, which is fund­ing and arm­ing ter­ror­ists like Hezbol­lah — a group sec­ond only to al Qaeda in the Amer­i­can lives it has taken.

The Shi’a and Sunni ex­trem­ists are dif­fer­ent faces of the same to­tal­i­tar­ian threat. But what­ever slo­gans they chant, when they slaugh­ter the in­no­cent, they have the same wicked pur­poses. They want to kill Amer­i­cans, kill democ­racy in the Mid­dle East and gain the weapons to kill on an even more hor­rific scale. [. . . ]

The great ques­tion of our day is whetherAmer­i­caw­ill­help­me­nand women in the Mid­dle East to build free so­ci­eties and share in the rights of all hu­man­ity. And I say, for the sake of our own se­cu­rity, we must. ‘The fight we are in’

In the last two years, we have seen the de­sire for lib­erty in the broad­erMid­dleEast—andwe­have been sobered by the en­emy’s fierce re­ac­tion. [. . . ] De­spite end­less threats from the killers in their midst, nearly 12 mil­lion Iraqi cit­i­zens came out to vote in a show of ho­pe­and­sol­i­dar­i­ty­weshould­n­ever for­get.

A think­ing en­emy watched [. . . ] ad­justed their tac­tics, and in 2006, they struck back. In Le­banon, as­sas­sins took the life of Pierre Ge­mayel,apromi­nent­par­tic­i­pantin the Cedar Revo­lu­tion. And Hezbol­lah ter­ror­ists, with sup­port from Syr­i­aandIran,sowed­con­flictinthe re­gion and are seek­ing to un­der­mineLe­banon’sle­git­i­mate­ly­elected gov­ern­ment. In Afghanistan, Tal­iban and al Qaeda fight­ers tried to re­gain­power­byre­groupin­gan­den­gag­ing Afghan and NATO forces. In Iraq, al Qaeda and other Sunni ex­trem­ists blew up one of the most sa­cred places in Shi’a Is­lam — the

Golden Mosque of Sa­marra. This atroc­ity, di­rected at a Mus­lim house of prayer, was de­signed to pro­voke re­tal­i­a­tion from Iraqi Shi’a — and it suc­ceeded. Rad­i­cal Shi’a el­e­ments, some­ofwhom­re­ceivesup­port­from Iran, formed death squads. The re­sult was a tragic es­ca­la­tion of sec­tar­ian rage and reprisal that con­tin­ues to this day.

This is not the fight we en­tered in Iraq, but it is the fight we are in. Ev­ery one of us wishes that this war were over and won. Yet it would not be like us to leave our prom­ises un­kept, our friends aban­doned, and our own se­cu­rity at risk. Ladies and gen­tle­men: On this day, at this hour, it is still within our power to shape the out­come of this bat­tle. So let us find our re­solve, and turn events to­ward vic­tory. [. . . ]

My fel­low cit­i­zens, our mil­i­tary com­man­ders and I have care­fully weighed the op­tions. We dis­cussed ev­ery­pos­si­bleap­proach.Intheend, Ichosethis­course­o­fac­tion­be­cause it pro­vides the best chance of suc­cess. Many in this cham­ber un­der­stand that Amer­ica must not fail in Iraq—be­causey­ou­un­der­standthat the con­se­quences of fail­ure would be griev­ous and far reach­ing.

If Amer­i­can forces step back be­fore Bagh­dad is se­cure, the Iraqi gov­ern­ment would be over­run by ex­trem­ists on all sides. We could ex­pect an epic bat­tle be­tween Shi’a ex­trem­ists backed by Iran, and Sunni ex­trem­ists aided by al Qaeda and sup­port­ers of the old regime. A con­ta­gion of vi­o­lence could spill out across­the­coun­try—and­in­timethe en­tir­ere­gion­couldbedrawn­in­tothe con­flict.

For Amer­ica, this is a night­mare sce­nario. For the en­emy, this is the ob­jec­tive. Chaos is their great­est al­lyinthisstrug­gle.And­out­ofchaos in Iraq, would emerge an em­bold­ened en­emy with new safe havens, new re­cruits, new re­sources and an even­grea­ter­de­ter­mi­na­tion­to­harm Amer­ica. [. . . ]

This is where mat­ters stand tonight, in the here and now. I have spo­ken with many of you in per­son. I re­spect you and the ar­gu­ments you have made. We went into this largely united — in our as­sump­tions and in our con­vic­tions. And what­ever you voted for, you did not vote for fail­ure. Our coun­try is pur­su­ing a new strat­egy in Iraq — and I ask you to give it a chance to work. And I ask you to sup­port our troops in the field — and those on their way. [. . . ] ‘Heroic kind­ness’

The great­est strength we have is the heroic kind­ness, courage, and self sac­ri­fice of the Amer­i­can peo­ple. You see this spirit of­ten if you know where to look — and tonight we need only look above to the gallery.

Dikembe Mu­tombo grew up in Africa, amid great poverty and dis­ease. He came to Ge­orge­town Univer­sity on a schol­ar­ship to study medicine—butCoachJohnThomp­son got a look at Dikembe and had a dif­fer­ent idea. Dikembe be­came a star in the NBA and a cit­i­zen of the United States. But he never for­got the land of his birth — or the duty to share his bless­ings with oth­ers. He has built a brand new hospi­tal in his home­town. A friend has said of this good hearted man: “Mu­tombo be­lieves that God has given him this op­por­tu­nity to do great things.” And we are proud to call this son of the Congo our fel­low Amer­i­can.

Af­ter her daugh­ter was born, Julie Aigner-Clark searched for ways to share her love of mu­sic and art with her child. So she bor­rowed some equip­ment, and be­gan film­ing chil­dren’s videos in her base­ment. The Baby Ein­stein Com­pany was born — and in just five years, her busi­ness grew to more than $20 mil­lion in sales. In Novem­ber 2001, Julie sold Baby Ein­stein to the Walt Dis­ney Com­pany, and with her help Baby Ein­stein has grown into a $200 mil­lion busi­ness. Julie rep­re­sents the great en­ter­pris­ing spirit of Amer­ica. [. . . ] We are pleased to wel­come this tal­ented busi­ness en­tre­pre­neur and gen­er­ous so­cial en­tre­pre­neur — Julie Aigner-Clark.

Three weeks ago, Wesley Autrey waswait­in­gataHar­lem­sub­waysta­tion with his two lit­tle girls, when he sawa­man­fallintothep­atho­fa­train. With­sec­ond­stoact,Wes­leyjumped onto the tracks, pulled the man into a space be­tween the rails and held him as the train passed right above their­heads.[...]Thereis­some­thing won­der­ful about a coun­try that pro­duces a brave and hum­ble man like Wesley Autrey.

Tommy Rie­man was a teenager pump­ing gas in In­de­pen­dence, Ky., when­heen­liste­dintheUnit­edS­tates Army.In­De­cem­ber2003,hewa­son a re­con­nais­sance mis­sion in Iraq when his team came un­der heavy en­emy fire. From his Humvee, Sergeant Rie­man re­turned fire — and used his body as a shield to pro­tect his gun­ner. He was shot in the chest and arm, and re­ceived shrap­nel wounds to his legs — yet he re­fused med­i­cal at­ten­tion, and stayed inthe­fight.He­helped­tore­pelasec­ond at­tack, fir­ing grenades at the en­emy’spo­si­tion.Forhi­sex­cep­tional courage, Sergeant Rie­man was awarded the Sil­ver Star. And like so many other Amer­i­cans who have vol­un­teered to de­fend us, he has earned the re­spect and grat­i­tude of our whole coun­try.

In­such­courage­and­com­pas­sion, ladies and gen­tle­men, we see the spirit and char­ac­ter of Amer­ica — and th­ese qual­i­ties are not in short sup­ply. This is a de­cent and hon­or­able­coun­try—an­dresilient,too.We have­been­throughalot­to­gether.We have met chal­lenges and faced dan­gers, and we know that more lie ahead. Yet we can go for­ward with con­fi­dence — be­cause the State of ourUnionis­strong,our­cau­seinthe world­is­right,and­tonight­that­cause goes on.

Katie Falkenberg / The Wash­ing­ton Times

Pres­i­dent Bush re­ceived ap­plause from Vice Pres­i­dent Dick Cheney as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi looked on be­fore his State of the Union ad­dress on Jan. 23.

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