In his annual State of the Union address last night,President George Bush continued pushing his domestic issues such as an economic stimulus plan while also rallying support for a possible war in Iraq.
“In a whirlwind of change,and hope,and peril,our faith is sure,our resolve is firm,” he said. “And our union is strong.”
Bush opened the speech with a request to continue increasing education funding in the United States as well as continuing to push for his stimulus plan.
Bush is calling for more than $600 billion in tax cuts over 10 years,including an increase in the child tax credit and the elimination of the earned dividend tax.
“The economy grows when people have money,” he said. “The best,fairest way to make sure Americans have money is not to tax it away in the first place.”
The plan will save the average taxpayer approximately $1,100 for this year's tax filings. Democrats released their own economic stimulus plan in the second week of January.
Bush was addressing the nation at a time when spirits are low for the nation's economy. Though his plan has received criticism from Democrats along with some Republican congress members,Bush reiterated lower taxes would help the nation's economy expand.
Rep. Ted Strickland,D- Ohio,said after the speech that the president's tax cut plan would only serve to reduce the number of jobs in Ohio.
“The more than 700,000 people who lost their jobs since last year’s speech know that tax cuts targeted for the wealthy do nothing to stimulate the economy,” he said in a statement. “The economic plan the President outlined tonight is no cure for what ails America. It’s just more of the same.”
Ohio's Fourth district representative,Mike Oxley,R-Ohio,said Bush's plan will be beneficial to Ohioans.
“We need strong long-term growth in the economy,and the President's economic plan will achieve that,” he was quoted in a press release. “As Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee,I believe that eliminating the double tax on dividends is an important part of the plan.”
Bush also proposed allowing federal spending to grow only as much as the average American family's income.
“Federal spending should not rise any faster than the paychecks of American families,” he said.
He also outlined plans for public service initiatives and energy and environmental projects. An AIDS stimulus package was one of several new planes proposed by Bush. The president pledged $15 billion over five years in aid for African nations to help stop the spread of AIDS and promote prevention programs throughout the continent.
Foreign policy was also a large part of Bush's speech.
The “War on Terrorism” and national security dominated his beginning remarks on the subject,but he quickly turned to the issue of Iraq and its alleged weapons of mass destruction. Bush said he believes Saddam Hussein,Iraq's president,does have these weapons,and that the United States would act to force Iraq to comply with U.N. regulations.
“All free nations have a stake in preventing sudden and catastrophic attack,” he said. “We are asking them to join us,and many are doing so.”
Bush continued,“Yet the course of this nation does not depend on the decisions of others. Whatever action is required,whenever action is necessary,I will defend the freedom and security of the American people.”
Disarming Iraq would greatly reduce the ability of terrorists to obtain weapons of mass destruction.
Ohio representatives hailed the president for his stand on Iraq and newer initiatives.
Sen. Mike Dewine,R-Ohio,said the president's remarks on Iraq were a way to prepare the nation for future military actions.
“He was preparing the nation for a war,” he said. “(unilateral action) is not a new policy,but he emphasized the need for it and drove the point home.”
Bush's commitment to AIDS funding and research also pleased DeWine.
“We need to lead the fight on AIDS,” DeWine said. “This is a lot more money than we've given before. It's a bold move.”
Rep. John Boehner,R-Ohio,said Bush showed at the address that he is indeed the right man to be leading the nation.
“One year ago,after his last State of the Union Address,I affirmed that President Bush was the right man for the job during this unique moment in American history. Tonight,he showed us why this remains true,” he said.
Boehner also agreed with Bush's persistence on fighting terrorism.
“We will not rest until we’ve shattered global terrorist networks and disarmed states intent on arming them,” he said.
Bush closed the speech with a message to those who may be sent for military action. He reiterated the United States' wish for peace.
“We seek peace,we strive for peace,” he said. “And sometimes,peace must be defended.”
“America is a strong nation,” he said.