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Democratic Response to the State of the Union Address

On January 29, House Democratic Leader Richard Gephardt (D-MO) delivered the Democratic response to President Bush’s State of the Union address, focusing his remarks on bipartisanship and building a new economy.

Rep. Gephardt stressed that both parties must work together “to solve the problems that face us,” because “the men and women who are defending our freedom are not fighting for the Democratic Party or the Republican Party.”

Criticizing the President’s economic stimulus package, Rep. Gephardt said that his party’s proposals would call for tax cuts that promote growth and protect Social Security. He added that Democratic values do not call for “gambling [Social Security] away on the stock markets.” The Democratic proposals also would increase the minimum wage and create a universal pension system to better protect employees.

Rep. Gephardt also said that bipartisanship is necessary for a solution to the economic challenges that face America. While he “refused to accept that while we stand shoulder to shoulder on the war, we should stand toe to toe on the economy,” he proposed that leaders from both parties come together in February for an economic growth summit at the White House.

In addition, Rep. Gephardt acknowledged that more “high-quality” teachers must be recruited and that the first $10,000 of education should be tax deductible for “every student who wants to go to college and every worker who wants to update their skills.”

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