January 24, 2007

Pete Stark's response to the State of the Union

WASHINGTON – Representative Pete Stark (D-CA), Chairman of the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, issued the following statement in response to President Bush’s State of the Union:

“Tonight, President Bush missed a historic opportunity,” said Stark. “Rather than accept the will of the American people and announce the phased withdrawal of American troops from Iraq, President Bush again pledged to escalate the war. But endangering the lives of 20,000 more soldiers won’t make us more secure. Instead, the ‘surge’ will make an already terrible situation worse, and cost America more lives and more money.”

“Much like his plan for Iraq, the President’s domestic policy proposals are based on incorrect assumptions and dangerous logic.” Stark continued. “There is no crisis in either Social Security or Medicare that a Congress dedicated to preserving these vital entitlements couldn’t easily solve. Our health care system is broken, but not because we provide too much health care to our people. Our system is broken because we provide too little.”

“Bush’s new tax proposal would shift health care costs to working families,” said Stark. “It would eliminate employer-provided coverage, through which 160 million Americans are covered today, and force people into an individual insurance market that regularly denies coverage because of family history, existing illnesses, or genetic makeup. And like the trillion-dollar tax breaks that turned Clinton’s budget surpluses into Bush’s budget deficits, it would benefit the wealthiest among us significantly more than low- and middle-income Americans.”

“Every individual should have quality health care,” continued Stark. “States that attempt to cover the uninsured should receive financial incentives to do so, but not at the expense of existing programs that provide coverage to poor children and senior citizens.”

“Not all of the President’s suggestions are without merit,” said Stark. “But those that have value may not have teeth. Increasing fuel economy standards and the use of renewable and alternative fuels, for example, would protect our environment for future generations. A guest worker program would similarly improve our immigration policy. But this President has time and time again spoken about energy independence and comprehensive immigration reform. I’ll believe his commitment when I see him persuading Republican Members of Congress to go along.”

“For the most part, President Bush delivered tonight’s State of the Union in a state of denial. I’m glad it’s his second-to-last,” Stark concluded.

Posted by marga at January 24, 2007 9:46 AM | TrackBack
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