WASHINGTON - January 31 - Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH) issued the following statement on the President's State of the Union address:
"Don't be fooled by the President's rosy rhetoric, as is most often the case with this Administration, the President's rhetoric does not match reality. The truth is our union is in a state of great peril. This Administration is conducting a war with no end in Iraq, illegally spying on Americans at home, overseeing an economy that is increasingly leaving more and more Americans behind and abandoning the Gulf Coast in their hour of great need."
"Today, almost three years after the start of the President's war of choice, we know Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction, had no connection to al-Qaeda and posed no threat to our nation. Yet, our armed forces are bogged down in the middle of civil war that our own generals say cannot be won by military force. Our presence in Iraq is counterproductive and has cost the lives of over 2,200 US troops and $250 billion. It is time to bring all of our troops home in a quick, orderly and safe manner."
"The President's program of spying on Americans is illegal, unjustified, a gross abuse of executive authority and a danger to the basic rights of every American. Our Constitution is clear, Congress makes the laws and the President executes the laws. Congress did not authorize the spying on Americans without a court's approval, and no one is above the law.
"Congress and the American public should not be distracted from these underlying facts, no matter the self-interested efforts of the President to distract, confuse and divide us."
"The President's message on health care is simple: Don't get sick. Associate Health Plans (AHP) and Private Health Saving Accounts only serve to increase the number of uninsured, raise the cost of health care and lower the quality of care. AHPs and Private Accounts continue to funnel money into the same system that is already failing.
"Health care should be about patients, not profits. It is time to end health care for profit in this country, and make high-quality health care accessible and affordable to all.
"I have co-authored legislation, HR 676, Medicare for All, to provide full health care coverage for every American. This legislation 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."
"The economic stewardship by this Administration has served only to transfer the wealth of this nation upwards, leaving the economic security of our nation in great peril.
"The President's sole economic policy of tax cuts to the super wealthy is leaving a large majority of our nation behind. Since this President has taken office, the median income in this country has decreased, the jobless rate has jumped from 3.9% to 4.9% and the number of families living in poverty has increased from 8.7% to 10.2%. Our trade deficit has doubled. Inflation has gone up. Personal bankruptcies have gone up. Consumer debt has gone up. College tuition has gone up. And, the price of gas has gone up. All the while, this Administration has turned a $128 billion federal budget surplus into a $319 billion deficit.
"The trade and manufacturing policies of this Administration has gutted our manufacturing base and has encouraged the outsourcing of good paying jobs out of this nation.
"Ohio needs three things: jobs, jobs, jobs. We need economic policies that protect our manufacturing base, and provide tax relief to middle class and working people."
Gulf Coast Recovery:
"Days after Hurricane Katrina ripped through New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, destroying the homes and jobs of hundreds of thousands of residents, President Bush commented that the region looked like it had been obliterated by a weapon. It was. Indifference is a weapon of mass destruction. Indifference to the economic security of New Orleans residents continues to this day.
"In its time of greatest need, this Administration has turned its back on the Gulf Coast region. The Administration inspired rhetoric has been met with a dismal reality.
"Hurricane Katrina was an eye-opening and galvanizing event. Eye-opening because the systemic factors of poverty were laid bare, and galvanizing because people are beginning to ask, `Isn't it time we began to take care of our own people here at home? Isn't it time we rescued our own citizens? Isn't it time we fed our own people? Isn't it time we sheltered our own people? Isn't it time we provided physical and economic security for our own people?'
"It is long past time. It is time for America to come home and take care of its own people who are drowning in the streets, suffocating in attics, dying from exposure to the elements, oppressed by poverty and illness, wracked with despair and hunger and thirst."