Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Talking Points 1/23/07
Last November, the American people demanded a change at home and abroad. Now in the majority, Democrats in Congress are providing that change, reaching out to Republicans and delivering results on the priorities of the American people.With his State of the Union Address tonight, President Bush can demonstrate that he has listened to the American people and is ready to work with Congress on these priorities. On critical issues from Iraq to energy independence, it is time to take America in a new direction.

State of the Union
President Bush has made promises in all of his State of the Union Addresses. Unfortunately, he hasn’t kept them. Identifying problems is no longer enough. It is long past time to start solving them.

Last November, the American people demanded real results to improve their everyday lives, strengthen middle-class families, and ensure their national security.

Democrats are already working in a bipartisan fashion to deliver results for the American people. Tonight, President Bush has the opportunity to change course and join Congress in working on behalf of America’s families. Democrats, and the American people, will be listening.

Sen. Webb Delivers the Democratic Response
Senator Webb is a voice for the millions of Americans who demanded real change last November.

The American people want leaders who will put aside gridlock, work in the spirit of bipartisanship, and take America in a new direction.

As the former Navy Secretary under President Reagan, Senator Webb understands personally that we need to work in a bipartisan fashion to find a new direction in Iraq and to deliver a new direction for working families here at home.

Security and Iraq

President Bush’s policies have made the world more dangerous and America less safe. Now he wants to escalate the war in Iraq over the overwhelming opposition of the American people and many of his own generals.

President Bush’s plan to escalate the war in Iraq will not bring success in Iraq or make America more secure, and it faces significant bipartisan opposition in both chambers of Congress.

Congress will always put our troops first, and that means holding the President accountable for a change of course and giving his plan an up-or-down vote.

Democrats have a plan for success in Iraq that will make America safer and bring our troops home sooner:
Shifting the principal mission of our forces from combat to training, logistics, force protection, and activities to counter terrorism;
Beginning the phased redeployment of our forces in the next four to six months; Implementing an aggressive diplomatic strategy, both within the region and beyond, to help the Iraqis achieve a sustainable political settlement, including amending their constitution.

Health Care
President Bush wants to raise taxes on middle class families to fund a proposal that will provide little assistance to the 47 million uninsured.

In the same year the President intends to make permanent tax cuts that benefit the wealthiest Americans, he is proposing to shift more of the cost of health care onto working Americans.

The President's proposal would jeopardize good health insurance for those lucky enough to have it, and it would shift Americans into insurance where they'll be at risk of losing their coverage just for getting sick.

Under President Bush’s leadership, the nation’s health insurance crisis has worsened: costs are up and the number of uninsured Americans has grown. This latest proposal is another step in the wrong direction.

Economic Security
President Bush has the opportunity to change course and work in a bipartisan on behalf of America’s families. Democrats are already hard at work delivering results.

In its first 100 Hours, the House of Representatives succeeded in passing legislation to raise the minimum wage, expand federal funding for stem cell research, implement the recommendations of the bipartisan 9/11 Commission, require negotiation for lower prescription drug costs, make college more affordable and end subsidies for Big Oil to invest in clean renewable energy.

These 100 hours bills are just the beginning. The new Congress will do more to take America in a new direction. The state of our union is strong. Democrats believe that with the hopes and aspirations of our children as our compass, and our future is bright.

Energy Independence
Our national security and our economic security depend on making America energy independent.

Last year, President Bush declared America “addicted to oil” in his State of the Union. One week later, in his annual budget, he shortchanged the development of the alternative fuels and technologies needed to make America energy independent.

Democrats are already putting America on the path to energy independence by cutting huge subsidies to Big Oil and investing in the alternative fuels and technologies needed to protect our national security, our economy, and the future of our planet. We want to work with President Bush in a bipartisan fashion on energy and global warming, but he needs to put science before special interests.

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