WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Xavier Becerra, Assistant to the Speaker, today will respond in Spanish to President Bush’s State of the Union Address from the Speaker’s Ceremonial Office. Following is the text of his remarks, as prepared. Also, attached are the links to the video and audio of his speech.Audio: http://www.speaker.gov/audio/BecerraSOTU.mp3 Video: (Windows) http://www.speaker.gov/vids/BecerraSOTU.wmv (Quicktime) http://www.speaker.gov/vids/BecerraSOTU.mov Good evening. I am Congressman Xavier Becerra from Los Angeles, California. Today is an important and special day. As is the tradition, it is the day when our President informs the country of the state of the union. It is also, a special day for me because today my parent’s celebrate their wedding anniversary: 54 years! Maria Teresa and Manuel Becerra have given the best years of their lives to this country. What they did not achieve, they put within reach for their children. To all the parents, workers and immigrants of this great nation: thank you. Thank you for your work, your patriotism, and your faith in America. Because of you, the state of our Union is strong. But, our country could be stronger. Our economy has grown. But what does it matter if parents must work sometimes two jobs each, just to pay the bills? Today, 37 million people in the United States live in poverty. We graduate the best doctors and we possess the best technologies. But what does it matter if 47 million people in the United States don’t have health insurance? People from around the world come to study at our universities. But what does it matter if too many of our own children cannot afford it? We have had enough! Democrats heard your message and last November, you gave us a chance to lead and to take this country in a New Direction. With your help, that’s exactly what we intend to do. Already, in the first two weeks of 2007, House Democrats have voted to increase the minimum wage; reduce the cost of prescription drugs; make college more affordable; and close the doors to political corruption. Friends, the era of conformism has passed. Democrats are going to take the lead, even if at times it means challenging the President. Day after day, our troops have fought valiantly in Iraq. We will always stand with them wherever they are deployed. But we Democrats will not stand by as they sit in the crossfire of a civil war. It is time for the President to listen to the American people, to his military generals and to a growing number of Democratic and Republican leaders. It is time to discuss bringing our troops out of Iraq, not send more in. Democrats believe we can redeploy our troops responsibly; we can continue to train the Iraqis; and we then can refocus our efforts on counter-terrorism. And we must bring Iraq’s neighbors into the process to stabilize the country. Bottom line: Iraqis must take responsibility for their future. Only Iraqis can save Iraq. On immigration, after years of Republican attacks and inaction, Democrats are ready to lead. For us to succeed, however, we will need the support of President Bush, and we are ready to work with him. Our bipartisan principles for comprehensive immigration reform are clear: protect our borders responsibly, fix the backlogged visa process, and establish a path for legal residency for immigrants who have earned it through years of hard work. Our immigration system is broken. Now is the time for comprehensive immigration reform. Thanks to you, we have new leaders to take America in a New Direction. Thanks to you, Nancy Pelosi is the first woman in American history to become the Speaker of the House of Representatives. And thanks to you, the Senate now has a Democratic majority, under the leadership of my friend, Majority Leader Harry Reid. Thanks to you, more than half of the Latino Members of Congress are in positions of leadership. Never before have we seen such diversity in our Congress. From Iraq to immigration, minimum wage to fair prices for prescription drugs, Democrats are ready to take this country in a New Direction. Together, we can achieve it! May God bless you and may God bless America. Good night.
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