Congressman Clyburn Reacts to the State of the Union

Jan 31, 2006

(Washington, DC) – House Democratic Caucus Chair James E. Clyburn today issued the following statement in reaction to the President’s State of the Union Address.

“Democrats welcome President Bush’s call to start a ‘good, honest dialogue.’ This invitation for an open discussion with the American people is a welcome departure from the President’s negotiations on his failed energy proposals, prescription drug plan and social security reforms that have all been hatched with industry officials in secret behind closed doors. Obviously his previous methods have been designed to benefit only those that have been brought to the table, as a result the American people have not been included in shaping the current state of our union.

“I think it is very clear that the state of our union depends on where you sit. If you are among the nation’s wealthiest one percent, you are enjoying huge tax breaks and growing wealth. If you are an oil company owner or investor, you are pocketing record profits and lucrative government subsidies. If you are part of the pharmaceutical industry, you are reaping the benefits from your ability to write our country’s failed prescription drug plan.

“Yet the vast majority of Americans today are not celebrating the state of our union. Recent polls show two out of three Americans think our country is on the wrong track, and the President’s approval ratings are at an all-time low.

“Many Americans are faced with hard choices of whether to fill their gas tanks to get to work, heat their homes, or buy their prescription drugs. All of these costs are skyrocketing as American wages are declining and working Americans live under the cloud of layoffs and outsourcing. Many families are spending another year apart from loved ones serving on warfronts in Iraq, Afghanistan and here in the homeland. Our military families and our troops are spread too thin. Americans from the Gulf Coast region have seen the state of their union collapse into chaos and confusion. Most Americans seeking leadership and action to address their myriad of needs relate to Katrina victims’ frustration with our government’s ineffectiveness and inefficiency.

“Those who have a seat at the President’s table clearly echo his belief that the state of our union is strong. For those who sit on the outside looking in, the state of the union has been shaken by this Administration and they are calling out for true leadership and real reform.

“Democrats in Congress recognize that together, America can do better. Instead of a pervasive culture of corruption that requires you to pay-to-play, Democrats have proposed a Declaration for Honest Leadership to restore trust and increase transparency and accountability in government.

Instead of record deficits at the expense of investment in education programs, Democrats have an Innovation Agenda to keep America competitive with pay-as-you-go financing. Instead of allowing the pharmaceutical industry to write our nation's health care policies, Democrats support lowering prescription drug prices through government negotiated price breaks. Instead of bloating oil company profits by bleeding hard working Americans, Democrats have a plan to end price gouging and repeal giveaways to the oil industry.

“Democrats believe that all Americans deserve a seat at the table, and welcome President Bush’s invitation to join him. We want the state of our union to be strong in everyone’s eyes. Together, America can do better.”