[Hpn] C-SPAN 2001 State of the Union Address

wtinker wtinker@metrocast.net
Tue, 27 Feb 2001 23:57:44 -0500


Tom,
Here is the text!
A Brother
Bill

       President George W. Bush's
       Address Before a Joint Session of the Congress
       February 27, 2001

       TO THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES:

       Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress:

       It is a great privilege to be here to outline a new budget and a new
 approach for governing our great country.

       I thank you for your invitation to speak here tonight. I want to
thank
 so many of you who have accepted my invitation to come to the White House
to
 discuss important issues. We are off to a good start. I will continue to
 meet with you and ask for your input. You have been kind and candid, and I
 thank you for making a new President feel welcome.

       The last time I visited the Capitol, I came to take an oath. On the
 steps of this building, I pledged to honor our Constitution and laws, and I
 asked you to join me in setting a tone of civility and respect in
 Washington. I hope America is noticing the difference. We are making
 progress. Together, we are changing the tone of our Nation's capital. And
 this spirit of respect and cooperation is vital -- because in the end, we
 will be judged not only by what we say or how we say it, but by what we are
 able to accomplish.

       America today is a nation with great challenges -- but greater
 resources. An artist using statistics as a brush could paint two very
 different pictures of our country. One would have warning signs: increasing
 layoffs, rising energy prices, too many failing schools, persistent
poverty,
 the stubborn vestiges of racism. Another picture would be full of
blessings:
 a balanced budget, big surpluses, a military that is second to none, a
 country at peace with its neighbors, technology that is revolutionizing the
 world, and our greatest strength, concerned citizens who care for our
 country and for each other.

       Neither picture is complete in and of itself. And tonight I challenge
 and invite Congress to work with me to use the resources of one picture to
 repaint the other -- to direct the advantages of our time to solve the
 problems of our people.

       Some of these resources will come from government -- some, but not
 all. Year after year in Washington, budget debates seem to come down to an
 old, tired argument: on one side, those who want more government,
regardless
 of the cost; on the other, those who want less government, regardless of
the
 need.

       We should leave those arguments to the last century and chart a
 different course. Government has a role, and an important one. Yet too much
 government crowds out initiative and hard work, private charity and the
 private economy. Our new governing vision says government should be active,
 but limited, engaged, but not overbearing.

       My budget is based on that philosophy. It is reasonable and it is
 responsible. It meets our obligations and funds our growing needs. We
 increase spending next year for Social Security and Medicare and other
 entitlement programs by $81 billion. We have increased spending for
 discretionary programs by a very responsible 4 percent, above the rate of
 inflation. My plan pays down an unprecedented amount of our national debt,
 and then when money is still left over, my plan returns it to the people
who
 earned it in the first place.

       A budget's impact is counted in dollars, but measured in lives.
 Excellent schools, quality health care, a secure retirement, a cleaner
 environment, a stronger defense -- these are all important needs and we
fund
 them.

       The highest percentage increase in our budget should go to our
 children's education. Education is my top priority and by supporting this
 budget, you will make it yours as well.

       Reading is the foundation of all learning, so during the next 5
years,
 we triple spending, adding another $5 billion to help every child in
America
 learn to read. Values are important, so we have tripled funding for
 character education to teach our children not only reading and writing, but
 right from wrong.

       We have increased funding to train and recruit teachers, because we
 know a good education starts with a good teacher. And I have a wonderful
 partner in this effort. I like teachers so much, I married one. Please help
 me salute our gracious First Lady, Laura Bush.

       Laura has begun a new effort to recruit Americans to the profession
 that will shape our future: teaching. Laura will travel across America, to
 promote sound teaching practices and early reading skills in our schools
and
 in programs such as Head Start.

       When it comes to our schools, dollars alone do not always make the
 difference. Funding is important, and so is reform. So we must tie funding
 to higher standards and accountability for results.

       I believe in local control of schools: we should not and we will not
 run our public schools from Washington. Yet when the Federal Government
 spends tax dollars, we must insist on results.

       Children should be tested on basic reading and math skills every
year,
 between grades three and eight. Measuring is the only way to know whether
 all our children are learning -- and I want to know, because I refuse to
 leave any child behind.

       Critics of testing contend it distracts from learning. They talk
about
 "teaching to the test." But let us put that logic to the test. If you test
 children on basic math and reading skills, and you are "teaching to the
 test," you are teaching ... math and reading. And that is the whole idea.

       As standards rise, local schools will need more flexibility to meet
 them. So we must streamline the dozens of Federal education programs into
 five and let States spend money in those categories as they see fit.

       Schools will be given a reasonable chance to improve, and the support
 to do so. Yet if they do not, if they continue to fail, we must give
parents
 and students different options -- a better public school, a private school,
 tutoring, or a charter school. In the end, every child in a bad situation
 must be given a better choice, because when it comes to our children,
 failure is not an option.

       Another priority in my budget is to keep the vital promises of
 Medicare and Social Security, and together we will do so. To meet the
health
 care needs of all America's seniors, we double the Medicare budget over the
 next 10 years.

       My budget dedicates $238 billion to Medicare next year alone, enough
 to fund all current programs and to begin a new prescription drug benefit
 for low-income seniors. No senior in America should have to choose between
 buying food and buying prescriptions.

       To make sure the retirement savings of America's seniors are not
 diverted to any other program -- my budget protects all $2.6 trillion of
the
 Social Security surplus for Social Security and for Social Security alone.

       My budget puts a priority on access to health care -- without telling
 Americans what doctor they have to see or what coverage they must choose.

       Many working Americans do not have health care coverage. We will help
 them buy their own insurance with refundable tax credits. And to provide
 quality care in low-income neighborhoods, over the next 5 years we will
 double the number of people served at community health care centers.

       And we will address the concerns of those who have health coverage
yet
 worry their insurance company does not care and will not pay. Together,
this
 Congress and this President will find common ground to make sure doctors
 make medical decisions and patients get the health care they deserve with a
 Patients' Bill of Rights.

       When it comes to their health, people want to get the medical care
 they need, not be forced to go to court because they did not get it. We
will
 ensure access to the courts for those with legitimate claims, but first,
let
 us put in place a strong independent review so we promote quality health
 care, not frivolous lawsuits.

       My budget also increases funding for medical research, which gives
 hope to many who struggle with serious disease. Our prayers tonight are
with
 one of your own who is engaged in his own fight against cancer, a fine
 representative and a good man, Congressman Joe Moakley. God bless you, Joe.
 And I can think of no more appropriate tribute to Joe than to have the
 Congress finish the job of doubling the budget for the National Institutes
 of Health.

       My New Freedom Initiative for Americans with Disabilities funds new
 technologies, expands opportunities to work, and makes our society more
 welcoming. For the more than 50 million Americans with disabilities, we
must
 continue to break down barriers to equality.

       The budget I propose to you also supports the people who keep our
 country strong and free, the men and women who serve in the United States
 military. I am requesting $5.7 billion in increased military pay and
 benefits, and health care and housing. Our men and women in uniform give
 America their best and we owe them our support.

       America's veterans honored their commitment to our country through
 their military service. I will honor our commitment to them with a billion
 dollar increase to ensure better access to quality care and faster
decisions
 on benefit claims.

       My budget will improve our environment by accelerating the cleanup of
 toxic Brownfields. And I propose we make a major investment in conservation
 by fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

       Our National Parks have a special place in our country's life. Our
 parks are places of great natural beauty and history. As good stewards, we
 must leave them better than we have found them, so I propose providing $4.9
 billion in resources over 5 years for the upkeep of these national
 treasures.

       And my budget adopts a hopeful new approach to help the poor and
 disadvantaged. We must encourage and support the work of charities and
 faith-based and community groups that offer help and love one person at a
 time. These groups are working in every neighborhood in America, to fight
 homelessness and addiction and domestic violence, to provide a hot meal or
a
 mentor or a safe haven for our children. Government should welcome these
 groups to apply for funds, not discriminate against them.

       Government cannot be replaced by charities or volunteers. And
 government should not fund religious activities. But our Nation should
 support the good works of these good people who are helping neighbors in
 need.

       So I am proposing allowing all taxpayers, whether they itemize or
not,
 to deduct their charitable contributions. Estimates show this could
 encourage as much as $14 billion a year in new charitable giving -- money
 that will save and change lives.

       Our budget provides more than $700 million over the next 10 years for
 a Federal Compassion Capital Fund with a focused and noble mission: to
 provide a mentor to the more than 1 million children with a parent in
 prison, and to support other local efforts to fight illiteracy, teen
 pregnancy, drug addiction, and other difficult problems.

       With us tonight is the Mayor of Philadelphia. Please help me welcome
 Mayor John Street. Mayor Street has encouraged faith-based and community
 organizations to make a difference in Philadelphia and he has invited me to
 his city this summer, to see compassion in action.

       I am personally aware of just how effective the Mayor is. Mayor
Street
 is a Democrat. Let the record show that I lost his city. But some things
are
 bigger than politics. So I look forward to coming to your city to see your
 faith-based programs in action.

       As government promotes compassion, it also must promote justice. Too
 many of our citizens have cause to doubt our Nation's justice when the law
 points a finger of suspicion at groups, instead of individuals. All our
citizens are created equal and must be treated equally. Earlier today I
 asked Attorney General Ashcroft to develop specific recommendations to end
 racial profiling. It is wrong and we must end it.

       In so doing, we will not hinder the work of our Nation's brave police
 officers. They protect us every day, often at great risk. But by stopping
 the abuses of a few, we will add to the public confidence our police
 officers earn and deserve.

       My budget has funded a responsible increase in our ongoing
operations,
 it has funded our Nation's important priorities, it has protected Social
 Security and Medicare, and our surpluses are big enough that there is still
 money left over.

       Many of you have talked about the need to pay down our national debt.
 I have listened, and I agree.

       My budget proposal pays down an unprecedented amount of public debt.
 We owe it to our children and grandchildren to act now, and I hope you will
 join me to pay down $2 trillion in debt during the next 10 years.

       At the end of those 10 years, we will have paid down all the debt
that
 is available to retire. That is more debt repaid more quickly than has ever
 been repaid by any nation at any time in history.

       We should also prepare for the unexpected, for the uncertainties of
 the future. We should approach our Nation's budget as any prudent family
 would, with a contingency fund for emergencies or additional spending
needs.
 For example, after a strategic review, we may need to increase defense
 spending, we may need additional money for our farmers, or additional money
 to reform Medicare. And so my budget sets aside almost a trillion dollars
 over 10 years for additional needs ... that is one trillion additional
 reasons you can feel comfortable supporting this budget.

       We have increased our budget at a responsible 4 percent, we have
 funded our priorities, we have paid down all the available debt, we have
 prepared for contingencies -- and we still have money left over.

       Yogi Berra once said: "When you come to a fork in the road, take it."
 Now we come to a fork in the road. We have two choices. Even though we have
 already met our needs, we could spend the money on more and bigger
 government. That is the road our Nation has traveled in recent years. Last
 year, government spending shot up 8 percent. That is far more than our
 economy grew, far more than personal income grew and far more than the rate
 of inflation. If you continue on that road, you will spend the surplus and
 have to dip into Social Security to pay other bills.

      Unrestrained government spending is a dangerous road to deficits, so
 we must take a different path. The other choice is to let the American
 people spend their own money to meet their own needs, to fund their own
 priorities and pay down their own debts. I hope you will join me and stand
 firmly on the side of the people.

      The growing surplus exists because taxes are too high and government
 is charging more than it needs. The people of America have been overcharged
 and on their behalf, I am here to ask for a refund.

       Some say my tax plan is too big, others say it is too small. I
 respectfully disagree. This tax relief is just right.

       I did not throw darts at a board to come up with a number for tax
 relief. I did not take a poll, or develop an arbitrary formula that might
 sound good. I looked at problems in the tax code and calculated the cost to
 fix them.

       A tax rate of 15 percent is too high for those who earn low wages, so
 we lowered the rate to 10 percent. No one should pay more than a third of
 the money they earn in Federal income taxes, so we lowered the top rate to
 33 percent. This reform will be welcome relief for America's small
 businesses, which often pay taxes at the highest rate, and help for small
 business means jobs for Americans.

       We simplified the tax code by reducing the number of tax rates from
 the current five rates to four lower ones: 10, 15, 25, and 33 percent. In
my
 plan, no one is targeted in or targeted out ... everyone who pays income
 taxes will get tax relief.

       Our government should not tax, and thereby discourage marriage, so we
 reduced the marriage penalty. I want to help families rear and support
their
 children, so we doubled the child credit to $1,000 per child. It is not
fair
 to tax the same earnings twice -- once when you earn them, and again when
 you die, so we must repeal the death tax.

       These changes add up to significant help. A typical family with two
 children will save $1,600 a year on their Federal income taxes. Sixteen
 hundred dollars may not sound like a lot to some, but it means a lot to
many
 families. Sixteen hundred dollars buys gas for two cars for an entire year,
 it pays tuition for a year at a community college, it pays the average
 family grocery bill for 3 months. That is real money.

       With us tonight, representing many American families, are Steven and
 Josefina Ramos. Please help me welcome them. The Ramoses are from
 Pennsylvania, but they could be from any one of your districts. Steven is a
 network administrator for a school district, Josefina is a Spanish teacher
 at a charter school, and they have a 2-year-old daughter, Lianna. Steven
and
 Josefina tell me they pay almost $8,000 a year in Federal income taxes; my
 plan will save them more than $2,000. Let me tell you what Steven says:
"Two
 thousand dollars a year means a lot to my family. If we had this money, it
 would help us reach our goal of paying off our personal debt in two years."
 After that, Steven and Josefina want to start saving for Lianna's college
 education. Government should never stand in the way of families achieving
 their dreams. The surplus is not the government's money, the surplus is the
 people's money.

       For lower-income families, my tax relief plan restores basic
fairness.
 Right now, complicated tax rules punish hard work. A waitress supporting
two
 children on $25,000 a year can lose nearly half of every additional dollar
 she earns. Her overtime, her hardest hours, are taxed at nearly 50 percent.
 This sends a terrible message: You will never get ahead. But America's
 message must be different: We must honor hard work, never punish it.

       With tax relief, overtime will no longer be overtax time for the
 waitress. People with the smallest incomes will get the highest percentage
 reductions. And millions of additional American families will be removed
 from the income tax rolls entirely.

       Tax relief is right and tax relief is urgent. The long economic
 expansion that began almost 10 years ago is faltering. Lower interest rates
 will eventually help, but we cannot assume they will do the job all by
 themselves.

       Forty years ago and then twenty years ago, two Presidents, one
 Democrat and one Republican, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan, advocated
 tax cuts to -- in President Kennedy's words -- "get this country moving
 again."

       They knew then, what we must do now: To create economic growth and
 opportunity, we must put money back into the hands of the people who buy
 goods and create jobs.

       We must act quickly. The Chairman of the Federal Reserve has
testified
 before Congress that tax cuts often come too late to stimulate economic
 recovery. So I want to work with you to give our economy an important jump
 start by making tax relief retroactive.

       We must act now because it is the right thing to do. We must also act
 now because we have other things to do. We must show courage to confront
and
 resolve tough challenges: to restructure our Nation's defenses, to meet our
 growing need for energy, and to reform Medicare and Social Security.

       America has a window of opportunity to extend and secure our present
 peace by promoting a distinctly American inter-nationalism. We will work
 with our allies and friends to be a force for good and a champion of
 freedom. We will work for free markets and free trade and freedom from
 oppression. Nations making progress toward freedom will find America is
 their friend.

       We will promote our values, and we will promote peace. And we need a
 strong military to keep the peace. But our military was shaped to confront
 the challenges of the past. So I have asked the Secretary of Defense to
 review America's armed forces and prepare to transform them to meet
emerging
 threats. My budget makes a downpayment on the research and development that
 will be required. Yet, in our broader transformation effort, we must put
 strategy first, then spending. Our defense vision will drive our defense
 budget, not the other way around.

       Our Nation also needs a clear strategy to confront the threats of the
 21st century, threats that are more widespread and less certain. They range
 from terrorists who threaten with bombs to tyrants and rogue nations intent
 on developing weapons of mass destruction. To protect our own people, our
 allies and friends, we must develop and we must deploy effective missile
 defenses.

       And as we transform our military, we can discard Cold War relics, and
 reduce our own nuclear forces to reflect today's needs.

       A strong America is the world's best hope for peace and freedom. Yet
 the cause of freedom rests on more than our ability to defend ourselves and
 our allies. Freedom is exported every day, as we ship goods and products
 that improve the lives of millions of people. Free trade brings greater
 political and personal freedom.

       Each of the previous five Presidents has had the ability to negotiate
 far-reaching trade agreements. Tonight I ask you to give me the strong hand
 of presidential trade promotion authority, and to do so quickly.

       As we meet tonight, many citizens are struggling with the high costs
 of energy. We have a serious energy problem that demands a national energy
 policy. The West is confronting a major energy shortage that has resulted
in
 high prices and uncertainty. I have asked Federal agencies to work with
 California officials to help speed construction of new energy sources. And
I
 have directed Vice President Cheney, Commerce Secretary Evans, Energy
 Secretary Abraham, and other senior members of my Administration to
 recommend a national energy policy.

       Our energy demand outstrips our supply. We can produce more energy at
 home while protecting our environment, and we must. We can produce more
 electricity to meet demand, and we must. We can promote alternative energy
 sources and conservation, and we must. America must become more energy
 independent.

       Perhaps the biggest test of our foresight and courage will be
 reforming Medicare and Social Security.

       Medicare's finances are strained and its coverage is outdated.
 Ninety-nine percent of employer-provided health plans offer some form of
 prescription drug coverage ... Medicare does not. The framework for reform
 has been developed by Senators Frist and Breaux and Congressman Thomas, and
 now, it is time to act. Medicare must be modernized. And we must make sure
 that every senior on Medicare can choose a health plan that offers
 prescription drugs.

       Seven years from now, the baby boom generation will begin to claim
 Social Security benefits. Everyone in this chamber knows that Social
 Security is not prepared to fully fund their retirement. And we only have a
 couple of years to get prepared. Without reform, this country will one day
 awaken to a stark choice: either a drastic rise in payroll taxes, or a
 radical cut in retirement benefits. There is a better way.

       This spring I will form a presidential commission to reform Social
 Security. The commission will make its recommendations by next fall. Reform
 should be based on these principles: It must preserve the benefits of all
 current retirees and those nearing retirement. It must return Social
 Security to sound financial footing. And it must offer personal savings
 accounts to younger workers who want them.

       Social Security now offers workers a return of less than 2 percent on
 the money they pay into the system. To save the system, we must increase
 that by allowing younger workers to make safe, sound investments at a
higher
 rate of return.

       Ownership, access to wealth, and independence should not be the
 privilege of a few. They are the hope of every American ... and we must
make
 them the foundation of Social Security.

       By confronting the tough challenge of reform, by being responsible
 with our budget, we can earn the trust of the American people. And, we can
 add to that trust by enacting fair and balanced election and campaign
 finance reforms.

       The agenda I have set before you tonight is worthy of a great
country.
 America is a nation at peace, but not a nation at rest. Much has been given
 to us, and much is expected.

       Let us agree to bridge old divides. But let us also agree that our
 good will must be dedicated to great goals. Bipartisanship is more than
 minding our manners, it is doing our duty.

       No one can speak in this Capitol and not be awed by its history. At
so
 many turning points, debates in these chambers have reflected the collected
 or divided conscience of our country. And when we walk through Statuary
 Hall, and see those men and women of marble, we are reminded of their
 courage and achievement.

       Yet America's purpose is never found only in statues or history.
 America's purpose always stands before us.

       Our generation must show courage in a time of blessing, as our Nation
 has always shown in times of crisis. And our courage, issue by issue, can
 gather to greatness, and serve our country. This is the privilege, and
 responsibility, we share. And if we work together, we can prove that public
 service is noble.

       We all came here for a reason. We all have things we want to
 accomplish, and promises to keep. Juntos podemos, together we can. We can
 make Americans proud of their government. Together, we can share in the
 credit of making our country more prosperous and generous and just -- and
 earn from our conscience and from our fellow citizens, the highest possible
 praise: well done, good and faithful servants.

       Thank you. Good night. And God Bless America.

        2001, National Cable Satellite Corporation



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