Congressman Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) issued the following statement in response to President George Bush’s State of the Union address this evening:

“While the President outlined a number of issues that were important to his agenda, what struck me was what he didn’t elaborate on – the exploding federal debt, a real plan for job creation and a strategy for reinvigorating our foreign policy and repairing damaged relations with our allies.

The Bush Administration has squandered historic budget surpluses and now has annual budget deficits of nearly $500 billion – a collapse of fiscal discipline that will lead to a $5 trillion national debt over the next decade. We must roll back the components of the Bush tax cuts that disproportionately benefit the very wealthiest and we need to show restraint on large new spending programs. The Administration’s suggestion that their tax cuts have been only a minor factor in the fiscal deterioration is wrong…the tax cuts are the largest single contributor to the deterioration of our budget outlook.

Along with the exploding federal debt, we are experiencing the greatest job loss in a recovery since the Great Depression.  Almost 2.5 million jobs have been lost in the past two years. Last month, only 1000 jobs were created. Clearly, there needs to be more opportunities for America’s workers to regain their footing. Long-term unemployment is close to a 20-year high because the labor market is so weak. The administration’s major initiative to help the struggling manufacturing sector so far has been the appointment of a new Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Manufacturing and Services. We need to repeal tax cuts for the very wealthiest, let other tax cuts expire and extend benefits for the long-term unemployed. Sustained growth is necessary to bring the labor market out of its slump.  However, the large deficits, exacerbated in part by the past two tax cuts, undermine this goal.

Finally, we need to repair our relations with our allies across the world.  For example, we need to internationalize our efforts in Iraq.  No matter where people stood on the war resolution, we all have a responsibility to help Iraq through this period of political and economic reconstruction.  Although the Administration has shown some interest in getting the United Nations involved in Iraq again, we need to reach out to all of our allies through direct and personal involvement.  It is time to match words with actions.”