Daschle accuses Bush of lying over economy

By P. MITCHELL PROTHERO   |   Jan. 27, 2003 at 4:02 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- President Bush has been "saying all the right things, but doing very few of them," since Sept. 11, 2001, Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota said Monday. Daschle and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., also find the Bush administration wanting on other key issues.

Speaking to reporters for the Democrat view of the State of the Union before Bush's Tuesday speech, the congressional leaders laid out what they call a series of broken promises by the president and the failure of his economic policies.

"While promising relief to hard-pressed middle-class families, the White House delivers a reward to wealthy investors," Daschle said of the Bush economic proposal. "While promising to bring new accountability and responsibility to government, the White House runs up huge deficits - and then blames it on the war."

"While promising to protect the homeland, the White House blocks billions of dollars to fund first responders and other homeland security priorities. While promising to promote diversity, the White House files a lawsuit to prevent a university from achieving it," he added.

As the recently elected Democratic leader in the House of Representatives, Pelosi called upon Bush to meet the promise of his own rhetoric on how to handle an economy that Democrats say has floundered under his stewardship.

"For the millions of Americans who do not have jobs, or do not have health insurance, or even have seen their retirement savings disappear, their state of the union is anxious," she said. "They do not want to hear lofty rhetoric from the president. They want jobs. They want real solutions to our pressing challenges and a real strategy to make our economy stronger and our nation more secure."

Daschle said that Bush has so far succeeded in convincing the voters that he has effective economic and international policies through words, even if his deeds have fallen well short of success.

"So far, the president's been saying all the right things - but doing very few of them," Daschle said. "In the days and weeks after Sept. 11, this administration was clear and commanding in its leadership. But on just about every other issue before or since, it has been anything but. Today, what we are getting from the White House are confused signals instead of clear direction; slogans instead of solutions; posturing instead of progress."

Pelosi noted that while the President Bush has refused to allow additional spending on homeland security authorized by Congress, he has pushed two large tax cuts that she said would only benefit the richest taxpayers.

"The administration says that the reason we cannot afford $1.5 billion in homeland security funding - which Congress passed into law but the president refused to spend - is that we are constrained by a wartime budget. And yet, the president says there is enough money in the wartime budget to create a huge tax cut that benefits the wealthiest in our country."

Democrats have proposed an immediate $300 tax cut for all Americans, which they say would double the immediate benefit this year over the president's proposal. They also plan to introduce a series of small business tax cuts to stimulate investment. When officially introduced, the plan will have no chance of passage in its current form through the GOP controlled Congress.

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