Senate Democrats

SENATOR REID DELIVERS SPEECH ON REAL STATE OF OUR UNION

Details Growing Credibility Problem between the President’s Words in his State of the Union Addresses and his Actions

Washington, DC– Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid today delivered a speech about the real state of our union, demonstrating the Bush Administration’s growing credibility problem in solving the problems of the nation. Senator Reid called on President Bush to use his State of the Union Address next Tuesday to be honest with the American people, and to offer a new direction for the country.

“President Bush and Congressional Republicans have not been honest with the American people, telling them one thing and doing another,” said Senator Reid. “There is a price to pay for this Republican abuse of power, and it can be seen in the present state of our union. Special interests and the well-connected have been rewarded by Republicans, while everyone else has been left behind.”

The Bush Administration’s “culture of corruption” policies have put the needs of special interests ahead of the needs of ordinary people. It’s standard practice for a Republican Party in lockstep with industry lobbyists. The cost to Americans can be found at home, where Administration energy policies help Big Oil rake in huge profits while the price of oil skyrockets to nearly $70 a barrel. Families are paying twice as much for heat and gas as they were in 2001. The cost can be found abroad, where the Administration gave sweetheart, no-bid contracts to Halliburton but sent our troops into Iraq without the body armor that could have saved their lives.

Of the President’s State of the Union, Senator Reid said, “In his speech, the President needs to tell the American people what he is going to do to end the culture of corruption and lay out solutions that will make America strong.”

“In his 2000 campaign, George Bush promised to bring “dignity” to the White House…but we’ve found that he brought Jack Abramoff instead. President Bush needs to quite stonewalling about his White House’s connection to corruption, and finally tell us how he’s going to reform Washington.”

Last week, Democrats have introduced the Honest Leadership Act: to clean up the culture of corruption that the GOP has brought to Washington.

The Center for American Progress released a new report and video Tuesday that demonstrated the President’s growing credibility problems in his State of the Union speeches. The report details dozens of instances where President Bush failed to keep his word or didn’t give the American people an honest assessment of the state of the country.

On National Defense:

President Bush: “In the three and half years since September 11th, 2001, we have taken unprecedented actions to protect Americans.”

In fact, four years later, Bin Laden is still on the loose and continues his threats, the number of terrorist attacks around the world has increased sharply, and the nuclear threats posed by North Korea and Iran have only grown worse. Meanwhile, the nuclear threat in Iraq has been proven non-existent. Of course, sweetheart deals and no-bid contracts have protected Halliburton’s bottom line.

Senator Reid said, “Republicans run good campaigns, but when it comes to actually governing and protecting Americans, they have a record of incompetence.”

On the Economy:

President Bush: “We will not deny, we will not ignore, we will not pass along our problems to other Congresses, to other presidents, and other generations.”

In fact, Bush has chosen to do just that, bankrupting the country in order to hand out tax breaks to the special interests and the wealthy. President Bush owns the three highest deficits ever recorded in the history of this country – 2003, 2004 and 2005. Next month, because of the President’s reckless spending, America will hit a debt ceiling of 8.2 trillion dollars. These deficits will only go up if Republicans vote to make the President’s tax cuts permanent.

On Healthcare:

President Bush: “Medicare is the binding commitment of a caring society. We must renew that commitment by giving seniors access to preventive medicine and new drugs that are transforming health care in America.”

In fact, the Medicare Drug Benefit has left seniors confused and too often without the medication they need. Most Democrats voted against the Medicare Bill of 2003 because they knew it would help drug companies more than seniors. Unfortunately, they’ve been proven right.

A 5-minute clip reel highlighting President Bush’s failure to level with the American public was shown at today’s speech. A link to the video can be found on the web at http://www.thinkprogress.org/sotu/

In his speech, Senator Reid urged President Bush to use the State of the Union to be honest with the American public and offer the country something new.

“When the President speaks to the Congress next week, he faces a choice: offer a fresh start or more of the same,” Senator Reid said. “He can continue to speak in platitudes, like we’ve seen in the last five State of the Unions, or he can choose to come clean: on Iraq, on Corruption, and how the Republican Party’s wrong priorities are holding America back. For the sake of the state of our union, let’s hope he chooses a fresh start.”

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