Washington, D.C. -- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Speaker Nancy Pelosi addressed the National Press Club this morning to deliver Democrats' national Address on the State of Our Union. The new Democratic Congress is committed to working in a bipartisan fashion to make
Speaker Nancy Pelosi:
It is an honor to be here with my friend Senate Majority Leader Reid for what has become an annual pre-State of the Union tradition.
This year, we come to you as the majority. The American people have called for a new direction for the Congress and for the country. They want to see their leaders focus on American priorities and they want us to work together for the American people.
Change is here.
In the first 100 hours:
We have begun to make the American people safer, by passing the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission.
We have begun to make
We have brought hope to
We have begun to set
And, we have created the most open and honest Congress in history by passing tough ethics reform.
I am proud that we passed many of these measures with the broad support of Democrats and Republicans in the Congress and across the country. Under the leadership of Senator Reid, the Senate is working to pass similar bills.
These dramatic successes are just the beginning for this Congress.
Next week, President Bush will come before the Congress and the nation and report on the state of our union.
The state of our union is strong.
We believe that with the hopes and aspirations of our children as our compass, our future is bright.
The founders of this great nation foresaw an
We stand on the edge of a new century of discovery, innovation, and solutions. Congress must use the opportunity given to us by the American people to prepare a new
Energy independence is a national security issue. It is also an environmental issue, and an economic issue for our country and for
Last week, when I met with mayors from all across the nation, Patrick Hays, the Mayor of North Little Rock, Arkansas told me about the hybrid car he drives. He said, 'When I drive that car, I do it for my granddaughter.'
It is important to our children's health and their global competitiveness to rid this nation of our dependence on foreign oil and Big Oil interests. Taking bold measures today to achieve energy independence within 10 years must be the highest priority for this Congress.
In the last Congress, House Democrats' put forth our plan to energize
As it says in the Old Testament, 'To minister to the needs of God's creation is an act of worship. To ignore those needs is to dishonor the God who made us.'
To preserve our planet, God's creation, we must make a serious commitment to combat global warming.
Global warming is an increasing threat to our world, with implications for our health, food supply, and the survival of many species, and perhaps entire ecosystems.
The science of global warming and its impact is overwhelming and unequivocal. The American people understand the urgency of the problem of climate change. 2006 was the warmest year on record, capping a nine year warming streak.
Working with the global, religious, business, and scientific communities, we intend to continue robust research on global warming and produce policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions while simultaneously creating good-paying jobs.
We want to work with President Bush on this important issue in a bipartisan way. But we cannot afford to wait.
Therefore, with openness and participation from all parts of our democracy, we will pass groundbreaking legislation that addresses global warming and energy independence.
Essential to our children's future is the economic security of their families now. Preparing for the 21st century means bolstering our commitment to keep our nation number one. In our Innovation Agenda, unveiled more than a year ago here at the Press Club, House Democrats made a commitment to competitiveness. We will provide our nation with the tools necessary to unleash the next generation of growth and jobs.
In his State of the Union address last year, President Bush spoke of keeping
Innovation and economic growth begins in
In order for our children to have a bright future, they must have a healthy start. Today, more than 8 million American children are uninsured. This year, through the State Children's Health Insurance Program, we have an opportunity to reduce the number of uninsured children by millions. This shouldn't be a partisan issue; we should work together to make the wealthiest nation in the world, also the healthiest.
And we must match every aspect of our current policies on education, childcare, and health care for our children against the wealth of new information produced by our leading scientists and scholars.
Great strides have been made in understanding how children's brains are shaped and developed, how positive behaviors can be encouraged, and how investments in early childhood create success in later years.
We will ensure that our policies match the latest research and that families are given what they need to take advantage of these scientific advances.
Innovation also requires federal grants to our universities, which have long been the spark for great breakthroughs: from the Internet, to biosciences, to fiber optics, to nanotechnology.
We must commit to doubling federal funding for basic research and development in the physical sciences and modernize and expand the research and development tax credit. And we will bring broadband access to every American within five years, creating millions of jobs.
These investments, and initiatives to support a thriving small business environment, will allow us to pursue the long-term, trailblazing research that gives rise to new advances, spawns new industries, and creates good jobs here at home.
In order to be competitive and strong, we must be fiscally responsible. We owe our children boundless opportunity, not mountains of debt.
That is why Democrats have passed the strict standards of pay-as-you-go, no new deficit spending.
For our future to be strong, all of our communities must be strong. It says in the Bible, 'When there is injustice in the world, the poorest people, those with the least power, are injured the most.'
That was certainly true for the people of Hurricane Katrina.
Hurricane Katrina was a natural disaster, compounded by a man-made disaster. It is now 18 months past time to get our response right.
This Congress has begun our hard work of reviewing the response to Katrina, beginning with hearings on housing. Our House Democratic Caucus Katrina Task Force, led by the delegations from the region, is committed to find solutions for the communities of the
The response to Katrina is one of the great moral challenges facing our nation. So is ending the war in
It was a great President who said, '
And we will.
The American people have demonstrated clearly their desire for a new direction in
The solutions to the issues which divide Iraqis are political and diplomatic, not military. As such, they are beyond the ability of our troops, who have performed their difficult and dangerous missions with great courage, to resolve. The Iraqis and their neighbors have the most at stake in an unsafe
That is why, Senator Reid, many House members support the bipartisan resolution in the Senate, that states, 'It is not in the national interest of the United States to deepen our involvement in Iraq, particularly by escalating the United States military force presence.'
We must make this Congress about the future for a new
I am honored to present Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, and in doing so acknowledge his great leadership for our country.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
In its first 100 hours, the new leadership in the House has shown
Now that we've changed the way
The new Congress will confront many difficult issues in 2007, but none more important than keeping
In Darfur, where genocide rages, and elsewhere in
And in the Middle East and here at home, where, as the Speaker indicated, we need to find a way to free ourselves from our dangerous dependence on oil.
These are just some of the national security challenges we face. Unfortunately, we have yet to adequately confront these or other problems, because this Administration has been all consumed and, frankly, overwhelmed by its own failed policies in
The costs of the war have been staggering.
We've lost 3,025 of our troops, and seen tens-of-thousands more wounded. The war has strained our military, and depleted our Treasury. Last year, violence claimed the lives of at least 34,000 Iraqis - a rate of almost 100 a day.
Yet despite these tremendous costs, despite this great sacrifice, the
We must change course.
Unfortunately, the President's new plan can be summed up in four words: 'more of the same.'
Like our military generals, the American people and a growing bipartisan chorus in Congress, I believe escalation is a serious mistake.
As both our top commanders in the region - Generals Abigail and Casey - have testified,
For over a year, Democrats have been proposing a better plan for
Our plan for
Next, we should begin the phased redeployment of
Only Iraqis can ultimately secure
A phased redeployment will allow our country to rebuild the military force here at home, and increase the number of troops available to hunt for Osama bin Laden and stabilize
Third, we need to bring
The violence won't stop in
It is true, the Iranians and the Syrians have played a destabilizing role in
Our plan for
Let me say more about votes in Congress. When we hold the up-or-down vote - and in the many votes that follow - our troops will get everything they need. It is the President who will find he no longer has a blank check.
The days of a rubberstamp Congress are over. This Congress - unlike the previous Congress - will always put the needs of our troops first. We'll keep
As much as we're convinced the President has chosen the wrong direction in
Five years after we defeated the Taliban, the extremists are returning. Drug production is soaring. And attacks on
Although time is short, there is still an opportunity to defeat our enemies in
Much has been made about President Bush's recent saber rattling toward
Let there be no doubt, the Iranian regime poses one of the great threats of the new century, but the Iranian people - 2/3rds of which are under the age of 30 - - present a great opportunity for progress. Regrettably, this Administration has no strategy for connecting with this generation of potential reformers.
One of the reasons
Fortunately, we have the power to turn the tables on
When it comes to energy, the Congress has already moved forward on a number of fronts - from reducing global warming to promoting renewable fuels to mandating ethanol from biomass. On Tuesday, we're looking forward to the President finally joining the energy debate. For our security, our economy, and our environment, we must pull together and secure
Fortunately, I know we can.
Like all Americans, I vividly remember September 11, 2001 and the days that followed. Democrats and Republicans stood together as Americans in doing whatever it took to keep our country safe.
9/11 was a terrible day, but it showed our country united and strong, with the world by our side.
Regrettably, bipartisanship - and the alliances that shined so bright after 9/11 - have been challenged in recent years: the President's conduct of the war in
Together this year, we must reclaim that bipartisan spirit. It shouldn't take a national tragedy to get us to work together. We should be equally inspired by our responsibility to keep
In Congress, we'll continue working with Republicans to keep