[House Document 109-3]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]

109th Congress, 1st Session - - - - - - - - - - - - - House Document 109-3

                       STATE OF THE UNION MESSAGE







  February 8, 2005.--Message and accompanying papers referred to the 
 Committee on the Whole House on the State of the Union and ordered to 
                               be printed
To the Congress of the United States:
    Mr. Speaker, Vice President Cheney, Members of Congress, 
fellow citizens:
    As a new Congress gathers, all of us in the elected 
branches of Government share a great privilege: we have been 
placed in office by the votes of the people we serve. And 
tonight that is a privilege we share with newly elected leaders 
of Afghanistan, the Palestinian territories, Ukraine, and a 
free and sovereign Iraq.
    Two weeks ago, I stood on the steps of this Capitol and 
renewed the commitment of our Nation to the guiding ideal of 
liberty for all. This evening I will set forth policies to 
advance that ideal at home and around the world.
    Tonight, with a healthy, growing economy, with more 
Americans going back to work, with our Nation an active force 
for good in the world--the state of our Union is confident and 
strong. Our generation has been blessed--by the expansion of 
opportunity, by advances in medicine, and by the security 
purchased by our parents' sacrifice. Now, as we see a little 
gray in the mirror--or a lot of gray--and we watch our children 
moving into adulthood, we ask the question: What will be the 
state of their Union?
    Members of Congress, the choices we make together will 
answer that question. Over the next several months, on issue 
after issue, let us do what Americans have always done, and 
build a better world for our children and grandchildren.
    First, we must be good stewards of this economy, and renew 
the great institutions on which millions of our fellow citizens 
    America's economy is the fastest growing of any major 
industrialized nation. In the past 4 years, we have provided 
tax relief to every person who pays income taxes, overcome a 
recession, opened up new markets abroad, prosecuted corporate 
criminals, raised homeownership to the highest level in 
history, and in the last year alone, the United States has 
added 2.3 million new jobs. When action was needed, the 
Congress delivered--and the Nation is grateful.
    Now we must add to these achievements. By making our 
economy more flexible, more innovative, and more competitive, 
we will keep America the economic leader of the world.
    America's prosperity requires restraining the spending 
appetite of the Federal Government. I welcome the bipartisan 
enthusiasm for spending discipline. So next week I will send 
you a budget that holds the growth of discretionary spending 
below inflation, makes tax relief permanent, and stays on track 
to cut the deficit in half by 2009. My budget substantially 
reduces or eliminates more than 150 Government programs that 
are not getting results, or duplicate current efforts, or do 
not fulfill essential priorities. The principle here is clear: 
a taxpayer dollar must be spent wisely, or not at all.
    To make our economy stronger and more dynamic, we must 
prepare a rising generation to fill the jobs of the 21st 
century. Under the No Child Left Behind Act, standards are 
higher, test scores are on the rise, and we are closing the 
achievement gap for minority students. Now we must demand 
better results from our high schools, so every high school 
diploma is a ticket to success. We will help an additional 
200,000 workers to get training for a better career, by 
reforming our job training system and strengthening America's 
community colleges. And we will make it easier for Americans to 
afford a college education, by increasing the size of Pell 
    To make our economy stronger and more competitive, America 
must reward, not punish, the efforts and dreams of 
entrepreneurs. Small business is the path of advancement, 
especially for womenand minorities, so we must free small 
business from needless regulation and protect honest job-creators from 
junk lawsuits. Justice is distorted, and our economy is held back, by 
irresponsible class actions and frivolous asbestos claims--and I urge 
Congress to pass legal reforms this year.
    To make our economy stronger and more productive, we must 
make health care more affordable, and give families greater 
access to good coverage, and more control over their health 
decisions. I ask Congress to move forward on a comprehensive 
health care agenda--with tax credits to help low-income workers 
buy insurance, a community health center in every poor county, 
improved information technology to prevent medical errors and 
needless costs, association health plans for small businesses 
and their employees, expanded health savings accounts, and 
medical liability reform that will reduce health care costs, 
and make sure patients have the doctors and care they need.
    To keep our economy growing, we also need reliable supplies 
of affordable, environmentally responsible energy. Nearly 4 
years ago, I submitted a comprehensive energy strategy that 
encourages conservation, alternative sources, a modernized 
electricity grid, and more production here at home, including 
safe, clean nuclear energy. My Clear Skies legislation will cut 
power plant pollution and improve the health of our citizens. 
And my budget provides strong funding for leading-edge 
technology--from hydrogen-fueled cars, to clean coal, to 
renewable sources such as ethanol. Four years of debate is 
enough--I urge Congress to pass legislation that makes America 
more secure and less dependent on foreign energy.
    All these proposals are essential to expand this economy 
and add new jobs--but they are just the beginning of our duty. 
To build the prosperity of future generations, we must update 
institutions that were created to meet the needs of an earlier 
time. Year after year, Americans are burdened by an archaic, 
incoherent Federal tax code. I have appointed a bipartisan 
panel to examine the tax code from top to bottom. And when 
their recommendations are delivered, you and I will work 
together to give this Nation a tax code that is pro-growth, 
easy to understand, and fair to all.
    America's immigration system is also outdated--unsuited to 
the needs of our economy and to the values of our country. We 
should not be content with laws that punish hardworking people 
who want only to provide for their families, and deny 
businesses willing workers, and invite chaos at our border. It 
is time for an immigration policy that permits temporary guest 
workers to fill jobs Americans will not take, that rejects 
amnesty, that tells us who is entering and leaving our country, 
and that closes the border to drug dealers and terrorists.
    One of America's most important institutions--a symbol of 
the trust between generations--is also in need of wise and 
effective reform. Social Security was a great moral success of 
the 20th Century, and we must honor its great purposes in this 
new century. The system, however, on its current path, is 
headed toward bankruptcy. And so we must join together to 
strengthen and save Social Security.
    Today, more than 45 million Americans receive Social 
Security benefits, and millions more are nearing retirement--
and for them the system is strong and fiscally sound. I have a 
message for every American who is 55 or older: Do not let 
anyone mislead you, For you, the Social Security system will 
not change in any way.
    For younger workers, the Social Security system has serious 
problems that will grow worse with time. Social Security was 
created decades ago, for a very different era. In those 
days people didn't live as long, benefits were much lower than they are 
today, and a half century ago, about 16 workers paid into the system 
for each person drawing benefits. Our society has changed in ways the 
founders of Social Security could not have foreseen. In today's world, 
people are living longer and therefore drawing benefits longer--and 
those benefits are scheduled to rise dramatically over the next few 
decades. And instead of 16 workers paying in for every beneficiary, 
right now it's only about three workers--and over the next few decades, 
that number will fall to just two workers per beneficiary. With each 
passing year, fewer workers are paying ever-higher benefits to an ever-
larger number of retirees.
    So here is the result: Thirteen years from now, in 2018, 
Social Security will be paying out more than it takes in. And 
every year afterward will bring a new shortfall, bigger than 
the year before. For example, in the year 2027, the Government 
will somehow have to come up with an extra 200 billion dollars 
to keep the system afloat--and by 2033, the annual shortfall 
would be more than 300 billion dollars. By the year 2042, the 
entire system would be exhausted and bankrupt. If steps are not 
taken to avert that outcome, the only solutions would be 
drastically higher taxes, massive new borrowing, or sudden and 
severe cuts in Social Security benefits or other Government 
    I recognize that 2018 and 2042 may seem like a long way 
off. But those dates are not so distant, as any parent will 
tell you. If you have a five-year-old, you're already concerned 
about how you'll pay for college tuition 13 years down the 
road. If you've got children in their 20s, as some of us do, 
the idea of Social Security collapsing before they retire does 
not seem like a small matter. And it should not be a small 
matter to the United States Congress.
    You and I share a responsibility. We must pass reforms that 
solve the financial problems of Social Security once and for 
    Fixing Social Security permanently will require an open, 
candid review of the options. Some have suggested limiting 
benefits for wealthy retirees. Former Congressman Tim Penny has 
raised the possibility of indexing benefits to prices rather 
than wages. During the 1990s, my predecessor, President 
Clinton, spoke of increasing the retirement age. Former Senator 
John Breaux suggested discouraging early collection of Social 
Security benefits. The late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan 
recommended changing the way benefits are calculated.
    All these ideas are on the table. I know that none of these 
reforms would be easy. But we have to move ahead with courage 
and honesty, because our children's retirement security is more 
important than partisan politics. I will work with members of 
Congress to find the most effective combination of reforms. I 
will listen to anyone who has a good idea to offer. We must, 
however, be guided by some principles. We must make Social 
Security permanently sound, not leave that task for another 
day. We must not jeopardize our economic strength by increasing 
payroll taxes. We must ensure that lower income Americans get 
the help they need to have dignity and peace of mind in their 
retirement. We must guarantee that there is no change for those 
now retired or nearing retirement. And we must take care that 
any changes in the system are gradual, so younger workers have 
years to prepare and plan for their future.
    As we fix Social Security, we also have the responsibility 
to make the system a better deal for younger workers. And the 
best way to reach that goal is through voluntary personal 
retirement accounts. Here is how the idea works. Right now, a 
set portion of the money you earn is taken out of your 
paycheckto pay for the Social Security benefits of today's retirees. If 
you are a young worker, I believe you should be able to set aside part 
of that money in your own retirement account, so you can build a nest 
egg for your own future.
    Here is why personal accounts are a better deal. Your money 
will grow, over time, at a greater rate than anything the 
current system can deliver--and your account will provide money 
for retirement over and above the check you will receive from 
Social Security. In addition, you'll be able to pass along the 
money that accumulates in your personal account, if you wish, 
to your children or grandchildren. And best of all, the money 
in the account is yours, and the Government can never take it 
    The goal here is greater security in retirement, so we will 
set careful guidelines for personal accounts. We will make sure 
the money can only go into a conservative mix of bonds and 
stock funds. We will make sure that your earnings are not eaten 
up by hidden Wall Street fees. We will make sure there are good 
options to protect your investments from sudden market swings 
on the eve of your retirement. We will make sure a personal 
account can't be emptied out all at once, but rather paid out 
over time, as an addition to traditional Social Security 
benefits. And we will make sure this plan is fiscally 
responsible, by starting personal retirement accounts 
gradually, and raising the yearly limits on contributions over 
time, eventually permitting all workers to set aside 4 
percentage points of their payroll taxes in the accounts.
    Personal retirement accounts should be familiar to Federal 
employees, because you already have something similar, called 
the Thrift Savings Plan, which lets workers deposit a portion 
of their paychecks into any of five different broadly based 
investment funds. It is time to extend the same security, and 
choice, and ownership to young Americans.
    Our second great responsibility to our children and 
grandchildren is to honor and to pass along the values that 
sustain a free society. So many of my generation, after a long 
journey, have come home to family and faith, and are determined 
to bring up responsible, moral children. Government is not the 
source of these values, but government should never undermine 
    Because marriage is a sacred institution and the foundation 
of society, it should not be re-defined by activist judges. For 
the good of families, children, and society, I support a 
constitutional amendment to protect the institution of 
    Because a society is measured by how it threats the weak 
and vulnerable, we must strive to build a culture of life. 
Medical research can help us to reach that goal, by developing 
treatments and cures that save lives and help people over come 
disbilities--and I thank Congress for doubling the funding of 
the National Institutes of Health. To build a culture of life, 
we must also ensure that scientific advances always human 
dignity, not take advantage of some lives for the benefit of 
others. We should all be able to agree on some clear standards. 
I will work with Congress to ensure that human embryos are not 
created for experimentation or grown for body parts, and that 
human life is never bought and sold as a commodity. America 
will continue to lead the world in medical research that is 
ambitious, aggressive, and always ethical.
    Because courts must always deliver impartial justice, 
judges have a duty to faithfully interpret the law, not 
legislation from the bench. As President, I have a 
constitutional responsibility to nominate men and women who 
understand the role of courts in our democracy, and are well 
qualified to serve on the bench--andI have done so. The 
Constitution also gives the senate a responsibility: Every judicial 
nominee deserves an up-or-down vote.
    Because one of the deepest values of our country is 
compassion, we must never turn away from any citizen who feels 
isolated from the opportunities of America. Our Government will 
continue to support faith-based and community groups that bring 
hope to harsh places. Now we need to focus on giving young 
people, especially young men in our cities, better options than 
apathy, or gangs, or jail. Tonight I propose a 3-year 
initiative to help organizations keep young people out of 
gangs, and show young men an ideal of manhood that respects 
women and rejects violence. Taking on gang life will be one 
part of a broader outreach to at-risk youth, which involves 
parents and pastors, coaches and community leaders, in programs 
ranging from literacy to sports. And I am proud that the leader 
of this nationwide effort will be our First Lady, Laura Bush.
    Because HIV/AIDS brings suffering and fear into so many 
lives, I ask you to reauthorize the Ryan White Act to encourage 
prevention, and provide care and treatment to the victims of 
that disease. And as we update this important law, we must 
focus our efforts on fellow citizens with the highest rates of 
new cases, African-American men and women.
    Because one of the main sources of our national unity is 
our belief in equal justice, we need to make sure Americans of 
all races and backgrounds have confidence in the system that 
provides justice. In America we must make doubly sure no person 
is held to account for a crime he or she did not commit--so we 
are dramatically expanding the use of DNA evidence to prevent 
wrongful conviction. Soon I will send to congress a proposal to 
fund special training for defense counsel in capital cases, 
because people on trial for their lives must have competent 
lawyers by their side.
    Our third responsibility to future generations is to leave 
them an America that is safe from danger, and protected by 
peace. We will pass along to our children all the freedoms we 
enjoy--and chief among them is freedom from fear.
    In the three and a half years since September 11th. 2001, 
we have taken unprecedented actions to protect Americans. We 
have created a new department of Government to defend our 
homeland, focused the FBI on preventing terrorism, begun to 
reform our intelligence agencies, broken up terror cells across 
the country, expanded research on defenses against biological 
and chemical attack, improved border security, and trained more 
than a half million first responders. Police and firefighters, 
air marshals, researchers, and so many others are working every 
day to make our homeland safer, and we thank them all.
    Our Nation, working with allies and friends, has also 
confronted the enemy abroad, with measures that are determined, 
successful, and continuing. The al-Qaida terror network that 
attacked our country still has leaders--but many of its top 
commanders have been removed. There are still governments that 
sponsor and harbor terrorists--but their number has declined. 
There are still regimes seeking weapons of mass destruction--
but no longer without attention and without consequence. Our 
country is still the target of terrorists who want to kill 
many, and intimidate us all--and we will stay on the offensive 
against them, until the fight is won.
    Pursuing our enemies is a vital commitment of the war on 
terror--and I thank the Congress for providing our servicemen 
and women with the resources they have needed. During this time 
of war, we must continue to support our military and give them 
the tools for victory.
    Other nations around the globe have stood with us. In 
Afghanistan, an international force is helping provide 
security. In Iraq, 28 countries have troops on the ground, the 
United Nations and the European Union provided technical 
assistance for elections, and NATO is leading a mission to help 
train Iraqi officers. We are cooperating with 60 governments in 
the Proliferation Security Initiative, to detect and stop the 
transit of dangerous materials. We are working closely with 
governments in Asia to convince North Korea to abandon its 
nuclear ambitions. Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and nine other 
countries have captured or detained al-Qaida terrorists. In the 
next 4 years, my administration will continue to build the 
coalitions that will defeat the dangers of our time.
    In the long term, the peace we seek will only be achieved 
by eliminating the conditions that feed radicalism and 
ideologies of murder. If whole regions of the world remain in 
despair and grow in hatred, they will be the recruiting grounds 
for terror, and that terror will stalk America and other free 
nations for decades. The only force powerful enough to stop the 
rise of tyranny and terror, and replace hatred with hope, is 
the force of human freedom. Our enemies know this, and that is 
why the terrorist Zarqawi recently declared war on what he 
called the ``evil principle'' of democracy. And we have 
declared our own intention: America will stand with the allies 
of freedom to support democratic movements in the Middle East 
and beyond, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our 
    The United States has no right, no desire, and no intention 
to impose our form of Government on anyone else. That is one of 
the main differences between us and our enemies. They seek to 
impose and expand an empire of oppression in which a tiny group 
of brutal, self-appointed rulers control every aspect of every 
life. Our aim is to build and preserve a community of free and 
independent nations, with governments that answer to their 
citizens, and reflect their own cultures. And because 
democracies respect their own people and their neighbors, the 
advance of freedom will lead to peace.
    That advance has great momentum in our time--shown by women 
voting in Afghanistan, and Palestinians choosing a new 
direction, and the people of Ukraine asserting their democratic 
rights and electing a president. We are witnessing landmark 
events in the history of liberty. And in the coming years, we 
will add to that story.
    The beginnings of reform and democracy in the Palestinian 
territories are showing the power of freedom to break old 
patterns of violence and failure. Tomorrow morning, Secretary 
of State Rice departs on a trip that will take her to Israel 
and the West Bank for meetings with Prime Minister Sharon and 
President Abbas. She will discuss with them how we and our 
friends can help the Palestinian people end terror and build 
the institutions of a peaceful, independent democratic state. 
To promote this democracy, I will ask Congress for 350 million 
dollars to support Palestinian political, economic, and 
security reforms. The goal of two democratic states, Israel and 
Palestine, living side by side in peace is within reach--and 
America will help them achieve that goal.
    To promote peace and stability in the broader Middle East, 
the United States will work with our friends in the region to 
fight the common threat of terror, while we encourage a higher 
standard of freedom. Hopeful reform is already taking hold in 
an arc from Morocco to Jordan to Bahrain. The government of 
Saudi Arabia can demonstrate its leadership in the region 
byexpanding the role of its people in determining their future. And the 
great and proud nation of Egypt, which showed the way toward peace in 
the Middle East, can now show the way toward democracy in the Middle 
    To promote peace in the broader Middle East, we must 
confront regimes that continue to harbor terrorists and pursue 
weapons of mass murder. Syria still allows its territory, and 
parts of Lebanon, to be used by terrorists who seek to destroy 
every chance of peace in the region. You have passed, and we 
are applying, the Syrian Accountability Act--and we expect the 
Syrian government to end all support for terror and open the 
door to freedom. Today, Iran remains the world's primary state 
sponsor of terror--pursuing nuclear weapons while depriving its 
people of the freedom they seek and deserve. We are working 
with European allies to make clear to the Iranian regime that 
it must give up its uranium enrichment program and any 
plutonium re-processing, and end its support for terror. And to 
the Iranian people, I say tonight: As you stand for your own 
liberty, America stands with you.
    Our generational commitment to the advance of freedom, 
especially in the Middle East, is now being tested and honored 
in Iraq. That country is a vital front in the war on terror, 
which is why the terrorists have chosen to make a stand there. 
Our men and women in uniform are fighting terrorists in Iraq, 
so we do not have to face them here at home. And the victory of 
freedom in Iraq will strengthen a new ally in the war on 
terror, inspire democratic reformers from Damascus to Tehran, 
bring more hope and progress to a troubled region, and thereby 
lift a terrible threat from the lives of our children and 
    We will succeed because the Iraqi people value their own 
liberty--as they showed the world last Sunday. Across Iraq, 
often at great risk, millions of citizens went to the polls and 
elected 275 men and women to represent them in a new 
Transitional National Assembly. A young woman in Baghdad told 
of waking to the sound of mortar fire on election day, and 
wondering if it might be too dangerous to vote. She said, 
``hearing those explosions, it occurred to me--the insurgents 
are weak, they are afraid of democracy, they are losing. . . . 
So I got my husband, and I got my parents, and we all came out 
and voted together.'' Americans recognize that spirit of 
liberty, because we share it. In any nation, casting your vote 
is an act of civic responsibility; for millions of Iraqis, it 
was also an act of personal courage, and they have earned the 
respect of us all.
    One of Iraq's leading democracy and human rights advocates 
is Safia Taleb al-Suhail. She says of her country, ``we were 
occupied for 35 years by Saddam Hussein. That was the real 
occupation. . . . Thank you to the American people who paid the 
cost . . . but most of all to the soldiers.'' Eleven years ago, 
Safia's father was assassinated by Saddam's intelligence 
service. Three days ago in Baghdad, Safia was finally able to 
vote for the leaders of her country--and we are honored that 
she is with us tonight.
    The terrorists and insurgents are violently opposed to 
democracy, and will continue to attack it. Yet the terrorists' 
most powerful myth is being destroyed. The whole world is 
seeing that the car bombers and assassins are not only fighting 
coalition forces, they are trying to destroy the hopes of 
Iraqis, expressed in free elections. And the whole world now 
knows that a small group of extremists will not overturn the 
will of the Iraqi people.
    We will succeed in Iraq because Iraqis are determined to 
fight for their own freedom, and to write their own history. As 
Prime Minister Allawi said in his speech to Congress 
lastSeptember, ``Ordinary Iraqis are anxious . . . to shoulder all the 
security burdens of our country as quickly as possible.'' This is the 
natural desire of an independent nation, and it also is the stated 
mission of our coalition in Iraq. The new political situation in Iraq 
opens a new phase of our work in that country. At the recommendation of 
our commanders on the ground, and in consultation with the Iraqi 
government, we will increasingly focus our efforts on helping prepare 
more capable Iraqi security forces--forces with skilled officers, and 
an effective command structure. As those forces become more self-
reliant and take on greater security responsibilities, America and its 
coalition partners will increasingly be in a supporting role. In the 
end, Iraqis must be able to defend their own country--and we will help 
that proud, new nation secure its liberty.
    Recently an Iraqi interpreter said to a reporter, ``Tell 
America not to abandon us.'' He and all Iraqis can be certain: 
While our military strategy is adapting to circumstances, our 
commitment remains firm and unchanging. We are standing for the 
freedom of our Iraqi friends, and freedom in Iraq will make 
America safer for generations to come. We will not set an 
artificial timetable for leaving Iraq, because that would 
embolden the terrorists and make them believe they can wait us 
out. We are in Iraq to achieve a result: A country that is 
democratic, representative of all its people, at peace with its 
neighbors, and able to defend itself. And when that result is 
achieved, our men and women serving in Iraq will return home 
with the honor they have earned.
    Right now, Americans in uniform are serving at posts across 
the world, often taking great risks on my orders. We have given 
them training and equipment; and they have given us an example 
of idealism and character that makes every American proud. The 
volunteers of our military are unrelenting in battle, 
unwavering in loyalty, unmatched in honor and decency, and 
every day they are making our Nation more secure. Some of our 
servicemen and women have survived terrible injuries, and this 
grateful country will do everything we can to help them 
recover. And we have said farewell to some very good men and 
women, who died for our freedom, and whose memory this Nation 
will honor forever.
    One name we honor is Marine Corps Sergeant Byron Norwood of 
Pflugerville, Texas, who was killed during the assault on 
Fallujah. His mom, Janet, sent me a letter and told me how much 
Byron loved being a Marine, and how proud he was to be on the 
front line against terror. She wrote, ``When Byron was home the 
last time, I said that I wanted to protect him like I had since 
he was born. He just hugged me and said: ``You've done your 
job, mom. Now it's my turn to protect you.'' Ladies and 
gentlemen, with grateful hearts, we honor freedom's defenders, 
and our military families, represented here this evening by 
Sergeant Norwood's mom and dad, Janet and Bill Norwood.
    In these 4 years, Americans have seen the unfolding of 
large events. We have known times of sorrow, and hours of 
uncertainty, and days of victory. In all this history, even 
when we have disagreed, we have seen threads of purpose that 
unite us. The attack on freedom in our world has reaffirmed our 
confidence in freedom's power to change the world. We are all 
part of a great venture: To extend the promise of freedom in 
our country, to renew the values that sustain our liberty, and 
to spread the peace that freedom brings.
    As Franklin Roosevelt once reminded Americans, ``each age 
is a dream that is dying, or one that is coming to birth.'' And 
we live in the country where the biggest dreams are born. The 
abolition of slavery was only a dream--until it was fulfilled. 
The liberation of Europe from fascism was only a dream--until 
it was achieved. The fall of imperial communism was only a 
dream--until, one day, it was accomplished. Our generation has 
dreams of its own, and we also go forward with confidence. The 
road to Providence is uneven and unpredictable--yet we know 
where it leads: It leads to freedom.
    Thank you, and may God bless America.

                                                    George W. Bush.
    The White House, February 2, 2005.