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U.S. Capitol Building
Friday, September 29, 2006


From Iraq to the Economy, Democrats Offer a New Direction

WASHINGTON, DC—House Democratic Caucus Chairman James E. Clyburn today criticized House Republican leadership for their reckless agenda, as the House of Representatives adjourned for a six week recess. Following is Clyburn’s statement:

"From the war in Iraq to the national economy, the president and Republicans in Congress have reckless disregard for reality, and are putting American families at risk."

"Americans learned what experts from 16 intelligence agencies collectively reported in a National Intelligence Estimate; that the conduct of the Iraq war is escalating terrorism around the world. Despite a consensus report from his own agency, President Bush insists we ‘Stay the Course,’ and his Republican Rubber Stamp Congress agrees. ‘Stay the Course,’ is a mistaken political slogan, not an acceptable military strategy.

"The President and his Republican Rubber Stamp Congress paint a rosy picture of the economy, but they are grossly out of touch with the economic reality in this country. For the first time since 1974, this Republican-controlled House did not pass a budget this year. Republicans turned a $260 billion surplus inherited from President Clinton into a $260 billion deficit in just six years. That’s a $565 billion turnaround of this nation’s finances. Foreign countries now hold nearly 45 percent of our public debt. Foreign held public debt has more than doubled to $2.1 trillion since President Bush took office. They’ve done a number on our economy.

"But it’s what the Congress didn’t act on before we recessed that is worse. Democrats offered a New Direction, to raise the minimum wage and give seven million American workers an honest paycheck for an honest day’s work. Democrats offered a New Direction to expand the size and availability of Pell Grants and restore the massive cuts in college tuition assistance imposed by Congress. Democrats offered a New Direction to renew ‘tax extender’ legislation which would bring $32 billion in tax relief for millions of Americans including deductions for tuition expenses, deduction for teacher expenses, school renovation programs, deduction for state and local sales taxes, and more. But the Republican leadership chose to ‘stay the course’ and leave American families to struggle alone with lower wages and a steeply rising cost of living.