Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Democratic Response To Bush Speech

Here's some responses to the State of the Union speech from Senate Democrats:

Harry Reid (D-NV)

“Unfortunately, tonight the President demonstrated he has not listened to Americans' single greatest concern: the war in Iraq. The overwhelming majority of Americans, military leaders, and a bipartisan coalition in Congress oppose the President's plan to escalate the war. Democrats, Republicans, and the bipartisan Iraq Study Group have offered the President a plan to end our open-ended commitment to Iraq, transition the U.S. mission, and begin the phased redeployment of American troops.

"While the President continues to ignore the will of the country, Congress will not ignore this President's failed policy. His plan will receive an up-or-down vote in both the House and the Senate, and we will continue to hold him accountable for changing course in Iraq."

Max Baucus (D-MT)

“Throwing more combat troops at the problem is not the solution. The current strategy isn’t working. We need to shift toward a diplomatic solution, one that will bring our men and women home as soon as possible.”

Robert Byrd (D-WV)

"When it comes to energy independence, President Bush has talked about this before but, year after year, he fails to put a single new dime toward breaking America’s reliance on foreign oil. Clean coal technology gets gutted. Renewable fuels are shoved to the background. The American people deserve more than empty promises from their Chief Executive.

"After listening to the President, I remain very concerned about the direction of his foreign policy. Iraq is an out-of-control civil war, with our troops caught in the crossfire. I believe that it is time to establish benchmarks and begin to bring our troops home. And the White House seems all too ready for a military confrontation with Iran, with another battle group arriving in the Persian Gulf this week. We cannot continue on this path of strike first, try diplomacy later. If Iraq has taught us anything, it is that we cannot dictate international policy with the barrel of a gun."

Chris Dodd (C-CT)

“I remain steadfastly opposed to the President’s plan for Iraq, sending thousands more of our nation’s men and women into harm’s way in a country in the midst of a civil war. The nation has overwhelmingly rejected the direction this war has gone in, and the direction the President seems insistent on moving forward with. Tomorrow in the Foreign Relations Committee, I will offer the legislation I introduced last week which limits troop levels in Iraq without new authorization by Congress in advance. The war in Iraq is too serious for Congress to simply express its opinion, this is the time to take meaningful action to stop this escalation now.”

Dick Durbin (D-IL)

“The American people want change, but the President still offers many of the same ideas he has advocated for the last six years. Instead of a phased redeployment of U.S. troops from Iraq, the President drew a line in the sand and defended his plan to send more American soldiers into the middle of a dangerous civil war.

“Instead of a plan to make health care more affordable, the President proposed a new health care tax on workers. His plan could actually reduce or eliminate health coverage for millions of Americans. A year after the President said America is ‘addicted to oil,’ we're still parked in the same spot with the engine running. I am heartened to hear the President talk about the urgent need to reduce our reliance on imported oil, invest in renewable energy, increase fuel efficiency and confront global warming. I hope those same concerns are reflected in his budget.”

Ted Kennedy (D-MA)

“Last year, the American people made it clear that they wanted change, and leaders who can work together to put the interest of the country ahead their own. With this new 110th Congress we are more determined than ever to change the course of this country for all Americans. And I have to say, two of the best words I heard tonight were 'Madam Speaker.'

"Iraq is the overarching issue of our time, yet tonight we heard very little from the President about it when in fact the burden of responsibility is on him to explain the mission behind his escalation of troops in Iraq. The burden is on him to explain his strategy for success after so many colossal mistakes by this Administration. The burden was on him to prove why de-escalation -- the one strategy we have not tried --- is not the answer. Sadly, he failed to do that.

"Tonight the President made clearer than ever that he is unilaterally imposing a failing policy on a country that has already rejected it. Congress now has a constitutional duty to stop the President from sending more of our sons and daughters into this civil war."

Patrick Leahy (D-VT)

"It is regrettable that the President has rejected opportunities for a change of course in Iraq. He has dismissed bipartisan suggestions advanced by the Iraq Study Group, by our commanders who have been on the ground in Iraq, and by the people’s elected representatives in Congress. Escalating the conflict will put more of our troops in danger and will worsen the war’s toll on efforts to address urgent needs in our country. In my view, the Congress should use its constitutional authority to try to change course in Iraq by opposing an escalation of troops and changing our budget priorities so we can bring our troops home."

Carl Levin (D-MI)

“The proposals the President outlined are not adequate for the challenges we face. Although the President has finally recognized the importance of alternative energy sources and the reality of global warming, his plan is still not up to the task. We need nothing less than a comprehensive initiative to create leap-ahead energy technologies, to produce a large number of vehicles that can run on alternative fuels, and to level the playing field for our domestic manufacturers.

“The President continued tonight to try to blur the difference between the war in Iraq and the war on terror. His misguided plan to escalate the number of American troops in Iraq has little support, so he attempted to tap into our united opposition to al-Qaeda. The American people deserve a new strategy for Iraq, but they did not hear it from the President."

Jack Reed (D-RI)

“The American people want a health care plan that works for everyone. They are willing to make sacrifices to ensure a better system for their children and grandchildren. The President’s proposal won’t benefit many people who need health insurance and endangers the coverage of some who already have it.

“Tonight, we heard nothing new that suggests the President is willing to change his failed strategy in Iraq. I will continue to press for a phased redeployment of our troops that will bring our soldiers home and protect our national interest."