|Three Great Goals for America|
Focusing on his administration's "three great goals for America," President George W. Bush presented his State of the Union Address to a joint session of Congress.
"As we gather tonight, our nation is at war, our economy is in recession, and the civilized world faces unprecedented dangers. Yet the state of our union has never been stronger," said the president.
Goal: Win the War on Terrorism
The war on terrorism is just starting. "Thousands of dangerous killers, schooled in the methods of murder, often supported by outlaw regimes, are now spread throughout the world like ticking time bombs -- set to go off without warning," said the president.
To countries who fail to act against terrorists within their borders, President Bush warned: "If they do not act, America will."
Bush outlined two objectives in the war were shutting down remaining terrorist camps and preventing "terrorists and regimes who seek chemical, biological or nuclear weapons from threatening the United States and the world." The president cited Iraq, Iran and North Korea as countries known to be developing such weapons. "States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world," said Bush.
The president said he would seek the "largest increase in defense spending in two decades," used mainly to pay for more precision weapons, replacing aging aircraft and increasing the mobility of military forces. Bush also called for additional raises for military personnel.
Goal: Strengthen homeland defense
The president stated that his 2003 budget would propose the doubling of funding for homeland security to deal with four main areas of concern: response to bioterrorism, improved emergency response, enhanced airport and border security, and improved intelligence gathering. This proposal would bring the total 2003 spending for homeland defense to almost $38 billion.
Goal: Revitalize the economy and create jobs
"We have clear priorities and we must act at home with the same purpose and resolve we have shown overseas: We will prevail in the war, and we will defeat this recession," stated President Bush.
Bush warned that costs of the war on terrorism and homeland security would result in deficit spending, but that the deficit could be kept small and temporary if Congress acted acted "in a fiscally responsible way."
Noting that employment was the key to success in revitalizing the economy, the president stated, "When America works, America prospers, so my economic security plan can be summed up in one word: jobs," he said.
The president urged Congress to pass his economic stimulus program and to finalize action on his national energy policy designed to provide "reliable and affordable energy." He also asked Congress to pass legislation allowing for increased world trade.
Bush called on Congress to make permanent tax cuts approved late in 2001 and to enact legislation to protect workers' 401K and retirement funds.
The president urged Congress to take steps to protect Social Security and to enact a prescription drug assistance program for seniors.
Noting that a good education was essential to increasing employment, the president called for expansion of programs like Head Start and early learning. He also proposed expanding support for teacher improvement programs.
Finally, the president urged all Americans to help "overcome evil with greater good," by performing 4,000 hours or two years of voluntary service over their lifetimes to help their neighbors.
Bush suggested those wishing to volunteer should join the USA Freedom Corps, a program focusing on crisis response, community rehabilitation and aid to other countries.
"Our enemies send other people's children on missions of suicide and murder. They embrace tyranny and death as a cause and a creed. We stand for a different choice," said President Bush. "We choose freedom and the dignity of every life."
the Complete Transcript
The complete transcript of President Bush's State of the Union Address from the White House Web site.
"The President shall from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient." Article II, Sec. 3, U.S. Constitution