Hastings to President Bush on the State of the Union: "Stop hiding behind 9-1-1, give us the 4-1-1!"

Hastings to President Bush on the State of the Union: "Stop hiding behind 9-1-1, give us the 4-1-1!"

Washington, DC - U.S. Representative Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) today called on President George W. Bush to use tonight's State of the Union as an opportunity to "stop hiding behind 9-1-1 and give the American people the 4-1-1!"

"The President is going to try and convince the American people tonight that the state of our union is strong. Well, Mr. President, everything in America isn't hunky dory. And much like former FEMA Director Michael Brown, you are not doing a heck of a job," said Representative Hastings.

"Everywhere you look, the President's priorities are in the wrong order. The ship of our state is sinking under the weight of red ink, and the President is like Nero fiddling while Rome burns. He views himself as above the law, and his policies reek of corruption, bought and paid for by the highest bidding special interest. Civil rights are disregarded, as the President's wiretaps are warrantless, and his justifications baseless. Tonight is an opportunity for the President to stop hiding behind 9-1-1 and give us the 4-1-1 on the real state of our Union, which is anything but strong.

"Only once the President understands the true crises that American families are facing will he be able to make life better for ALL Americans. Until then, anything he says tonight is nothing but chest-thumping bunk."

The prosperity and growth of the 1990s are but a distant memory since President Bush took office in 2001. Specifically:

Job Loss: 2.8 million manufacturing jobs and one million private sector jobs have been lost since President Bush took office in January 2001. Even more, there are 1.6 million African Americans look for work, 17 percent more than when President Bush took office.

Health Care: 44 million Americans remain without health insurance. In 2004, the number of African Americans without health insurance climbed to 7.4 million, and the number of African Americans without healthcare has grown by 760,000, or 11 percent, since 2001.

Poverty: More people live in poverty today than when President Bush assumed office in 2001. Over the last five years, the number of African Americans living in poverty has grown by 1.4 million. There are now 9.4 million African Americans, or 25 percent of the total population in the U.S., living below the poverty line, and the median household income in our community is down by more than $2,200 per household since the beginning of the Bush Administration.

Medicare: The implementation of the Medicare prescription drug plan has to nothing but confusion and panic. Senior citizens are now experiencing this mean-spirited, oblique, frustrating and infuriating program first-hand as the Bush Administration abandoned its commitment to pay for seniors' prescription drugs under the Medicare Part D program in January 2006, leaving seniors to fend for themselves.

Failing to Respond to Natural Disasters: Less than one year after failing to adequately and appropriately respond to four hurricanes in Florida, the Bush Administration dismissed and ignored calls for FEMA reform. The Administration's lackadaisical and continued inadequate response to Hurricane Katrina has left more than 1,200 Americans dead, 2,700 still missing, and tens of thousands of families still homeless. President Bush has repeatedly rejected calls to pass the Hastings-Clinton Independent Katrina Commission Act.

An Unjustified War in Iraq: Basing his justification for war on a pre-meditated fabrication of intelligence, President Bush misled the American people into an unjustified war in Iraq. His actions have resulted in the unnecessary deaths of more than 2,200 American soldiers

Domestic Spying: In an unprecedented move, President Bush unilaterally authorized a secret domestic spying program, illegally ignoring the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the general public's civil rights. He has rejected Congressional inquiries and arrogantly called on Congress to remain silent on the issue - a call that has been rejected by Representative Hastings.

National Security: Despite the bipartisan 9/11 Commission giving Republicans 17 D's and F's on the Commission's final report card, the President and Republicans have failed to implement recommendations that would secure our borders, protect our ports, and provide real time communications for our first responders.

Encouraging a Culture of Corruption: Washington has become a town for the highest bidder under the Bush Administration where everything is for sale and anyone can be bought. Since President Bush and Republicans have taken control of Washington, oil companies and the pharmaceutical industry have received billions in tax breaks and are reporting record profits and Jack Abramoff and his cronies have exerted undue and unjustified influence.

National Debt: Under the Bush Administration, the national debt has exceeded $8 trillion - the highest amount in the history of the United States. That's more than $27,000 for every man, woman, and child in this country!

Oil and Energy Costs: Home heating costs under the Bush Administration will be 25 percent higher this winter than the last. Even more, an average price for a gallon of gas has increased 89 cents since President Bush's first year in office. Working families continue to fall behind on basic necessities because wages do not keep pace with increases in gasoline and energy prices, and many families are now forced to choose between what they need and what they will have to do without.