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Democratic Response to the State of the Union Address

Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius delivered the Democratic response to President Bush’s State of the Union address. Gov. Sebelius focused her comments on the state of the economy, health care, and foreign policy.

In response to President Bush’s economic stimulus plan, Gov. Sebelius said, “Our struggling economy requires urgent and immediate action, and then sustained attention. Families can’t pay their bills. They are losing their jobs, and now are threatened with losing their homes. We heard last week and again tonight that Congress and the president are acting quickly, on a temporary, targeted stimulus package. That is encouraging. But you and I know that a temporary fix is only the first step toward meeting our challenges and solving our problems.” Gov. Sebelius lauded the actions of Congress over the past year in raising the minimum wage and reducing the cost of college loans, actions she deemed “encouraging first steps.”

Gov. Sebelius urged the president to sign legislation that would provide health care to uninsured children: “We know that we are stronger as a nation when our people have access to the highest-quality, most-affordable health care…We know that caring for our children, so they have a healthy and better start in life, is what grownups do. Governors in both parties, and a large majority of the Congress, are ready, right now, to provide health care to 10 million American children, as a first step in overhauling our health care system. Join us, Mr. President, sign the bill and let’s get to work.”

She argued that a change in foreign policy is needed to preserve America’s standing abroad. Speaking to the war on terror, Gov. Sebelius said, “The last five years have cost us dearly — in lives lost; in thousands of wounded warriors whose futures may never be the same; [and] in challenges not met here at home because our resources were committed elsewhere. America’s foreign policy has left us with fewer allies and more enemies. Join us, Mr. President, and working together with Congress to make tough, smart decisions, we will regain our standing in the world and protect our people and our interests.

In closing, Gov. Sebelius said, “These are uncertain times, but with strength and determination, we can meet the challenges together. If Washington can work together, so quickly, on a short-term fix for families caught in the financial squeeze, then we can work together to transform America. In these difficult times, the American people aren’t afraid to face difficult choices.”

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