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Dennis Kucinich: President Needs a Reality Check

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (Jan. 23) - Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) called President Bush's State of the Union address a series of unfulfilled promises for the Administration.

"President Bush is using a broad brush to colorfully portray the State of this Union as bright and optimistic while thousands of our service men and women are dying in the President's misadventure in Iraq. The true state of this union is war and the neglect of an urban agenda," Kucinich said.

"The truth is the President's domestic agenda is being swept aside as the Administration focuses solely on escalating the war. We must focus on America's most basic needs: decent housing, healthcare for all, quality education, securing good paying jobs and providing retirement security," said Kucinich. "Our whole domestic agenda is being sacrificed to pay for this war."

Iraq:
"The President knows his Iraq plan is failing. The American people, Democrats and even Republicans know the President's plan to send an additional 21,500 troops to Iraq is the wrong direction. The President refuses to admit that he has failed in Iraq.

"The President is giving us more war, while we need a new direction-and that direction is out of Iraq. It's time to end the occupation, to withdraw our troops, to close the bases and work with the international community on an international peace plan. I have introduced a 12-point plan to the Congress to close military bases and bring our troops home.

"President Bush is continuing down the road toward a failed policy in Iraq. It is imperative that Congress step up to its constitutional responsibility to restrain this abuse of executive authority by notifying the President that we will no longer agree to fund the war in Iraq. Members simply cannot say they oppose the war and vote to continue to fund it.

"The supplemental budget request of up to $100 billion, which is due to be voted on this spring, would enable the President to continue the war against Iraq through the end of his term. It would also give him the resources to attack Iran, in the name of defending Iraq and the region.

"Congress needs to challenge the position of the President and take the necessary steps to bring our troops home. We need to begin talks with Iran and Syria -- and not blame them for our misguided war in Iraq. Diplomacy is the only way to avoid a widening war. If we follow the President's path of war, we will get more war.

Health Care:
"The President is off the mark with his health care reform plan, proposing a new tax deduction for purchasing health insurance. The President should not be looking to the tax code to fix the lack of affordable health care. Both employers and labor unions oppose the President's health care plan.

"This proposal would impose a new tax on the middle class and turn the employment-based health insurance system into chaos. It will not help the uninsured buy health insurance: the people who don't buy health insurance usually cannot afford to do so and they therefore won't benefit from a deduction.

"This week, along with Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), I plan on introducing a real plan for health care for all Americans. This bill was envisioned by America's doctors and nurses on the front lines of our nation's health care crisis-not by business interests or politicians. My proposal will provide health care coverage for every American. It would provide coverage for all medically necessary procedures including dental care, mental health care, long-term care and prescription drug coverage. There would be no co-pays, no premiums and no deductibles.

Energy:
"While the President's belated acknowledgement of the need for action on global warming is welcome, his proposals fall far short of what is needed. The best science tells us that we need to reduce global warming pollution by 80% by 2050. The President's proposal merely changes the way we calculate the efficiency of cars and to make gas burn slightly cleaner. Addressing global warming will take more than token subsidies and spin.

"Like most environmental problems, the effects of global warming will be disproportionately felt by those least responsible for the problem: the poor and future generations. We have an obligation to take the lead, consistent with our disproportionate contribution. With only 5% of the world's population we produce 20% of the emissions.

"We can increase CAFE standards from 24 miles per gallon to 40 miles per gallon for starters. We can derive our ethanol from renewable resources, not those that exacerbate world hunger by driving up food prices and exact environmental damage of their own. We can reduce our dependence on hydrocarbon fuels, unsafe nuclear power, and our dependence on foreign energy sources.

"The best path forward is a combination of multiple renewable energy technologies that when combined holistically can achieve these goals.

Economy:
"President Bush's claims that his tax cuts have fueled robust economic growth and record revenues, is wrong. The U.S. has not had strong growth since this President took office. Continuing with Bush's economic policies would do little to stimulate growth and would weaken the country's financial resources.

"In 2005, 37 million people were living in poverty, making the official poverty rate 12.6%. Cleveland had a poverty rate of 32.4%, making it the poorest big city in the United States. The unemployment rate in December 2006 was 4.5% and the state of Ohio's unemployment rate in December 2006 was 5.6%--more than one percent above the national average.

"The President's tax cuts are the leading contributor to federal budget deficits. The Congressional Budget Office reports that tax cuts enacted from 2001 to 2006 were responsible for 51% of the deterioration in the budget. Obviously, economic growth was insufficient to make up for reduced tax levels.

"The President turned a budget surplus into budget deficits. He has never proposed a balanced budget since it went into deficit, never vetoed a spending bill when Republicans controlled Congress and offered little sustained objection to earmarks until the issue gained political traction last year.

Education:
"America's students represent the future of our nation, and it is vitally important that all children have full and equal access to a quality public education. As a member of the Committee on Education and Labor, I am dedicated to ensuring that schools have the resources and flexibility needed to teach every child.

"The President's call for the extension of his No Child Left Behind education program, with modifications to make it more flexible is more empty rhetoric with no fulfilled promises.

"Our schools must be fully funded and given chances to improve where they might fall short, as identified by new testing mandates. Local schools have continuously had to make up for a shortfall left by the No Child Left Behind and also live up to new mandated contained in NCLB."
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Dennis Kucinich is former US Congressman and two-time presidential candidate from Ohio who served 16 years in the U.S. House of Representatives. 

Visit his website at  KucinichAction

Follow him on Twitter at @Dennis_Kucinich

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