Excerpts

State Of The Union

February 03, 2005

Excerpts from President Bush's fifth State of the Union address

Mr. Speaker, Vice President Cheney, Members of Congress, fellow citizens: As a new Congress gathers, all of us in the elected branches of government share a great privilege: We have been placed in office by the votes of the people we serve. And tonight that is a privilege we share with newly elected leaders of Afghanistan, the Palestinian territories, Ukraine, and a free and sovereign Iraq.

Tonight, with a healthy, growing economy, with more Americans going back to work, with our nation an active force for good in the world -- the state of our union is confident and strong.

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.

BUDGET AND ECONOMY

First, we must be good stewards of this economy, and renew the great institutions on which millions of our fellow citizens rely.

In the past four years, we have provided tax relief to every person who pays income taxes, overcome a recession, opened up new markets abroad, prosecuted corporate criminals, raised homeownership to the highest level in history, and in the last year alone, the United States has added 2.3 million new jobs. Now we must add to these achievements.

America's prosperity requires restraining the spending appetite of the federal government. I will send you a budget that holds the growth of discretionary spending below inflation, makes tax relief permanent, and stays on track to cut the deficit in half by 2009. My budget substantially reduces or eliminates more than 150 government programs that are not getting results, or duplicate current efforts, or do not fulfill essential priorities.

We will help an additional 200,000 workers to get training for a better career, by reforming our job training system and strengthening America's community colleges. And we will make it easier for Americans to afford a college education, by increasing the size of Pell Grants.

Small business is the path of advancement, especially for women and minorities, so we must free small businesses from needless regulation and protect honest job-creators from junk lawsuits. Justice is distorted, and our economy is held back, by irresponsible class actions ... and I urge Congress to pass legal reforms this year.

I ask Congress to move forward on a comprehensive health care agenda -- with tax credits to help low-income workers buy insurance, a community health center in every poor county, association health plans for small businesses and their employees, expanded health savings accounts, and medical liability reform that will reduce health care costs.

We also need reliable supplies of affordable, environmentally responsible energy. My budget provides strong funding for leading-edge technology -- from hydrogen-fueled cars, to clean coal, to renewable sources such as ethanol. Four years of debate is enough -- I urge Congress to pass legislation that makes America more secure and less dependent on foreign energy.

IMMIGRATION AND TAX REFORM

To build the prosperity of future generations, we must update institutions that were created to meet the needs of an earlier time. Year after year, Americans are burdened by an archaic, incoherent federal tax code. I have appointed a bipartisan panel to examine the tax code from top to bottom.

America's immigration system is also outdated -- unsuited to the needs of our economy and to the values of our country. It is time for an immigration policy that permits temporary guest workers to fill jobs Americans will not take, that rejects amnesty, that tells us who is entering and leaving our country, and that closes the border to drug dealers and terrorists.

DEMOCRACY

The attack on freedom in our world has reaffirmed our confidence in freedom's power to change the world. We are all part of a great venture: to extend the promise of freedom in our country, to renew the values that sustain our liberty, and to spread the peace that freedom brings.

As Franklin Roosevelt once reminded Americans, "Each age is a dream that is dying, or one that is coming to birth." And we live in the country where the biggest dreams are born. The abolition of slavery was only a dream -- until it was fulfilled. The liberation of Europe from fascism was only a dream -- until it was achieved. The fall of imperial communism was only a dream -- until, one day, it was accomplished.

Our generation has dreams of its own, and we also go forward with confidence. The road of Providence is uneven and unpredictable -- yet we know where it leads: to freedom.

SOCIAL SECURITY

One of America's most important institutions -- a symbol of the trust between generations -- is also in need of wise and effective reform. Social Security ... is headed toward bankruptcy. And so we must join together to strengthen and save [it].

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