Rep. Miller Comments on State of the Union Address

Date: Jan. 20, 2004
Location: Washington, DC

Through his actions, President Bush has demonstrated his ability to lead our nation during these difficult times. His proposals aim to build on past success by increasing homeland security, strengthening our economy and improving access to healthcare. Although his initiatives are worthwhile, I urge the president to offset all spending proposals by cutting other programs in the federal budget.

Economy/Taxes -- In these times of economic stress, tax relief for workers, families, seniors, and small business entrepreneurs have increased the demand for goods and services and created more jobs. I commend the president for his commitment to policies that help our economy continue on the path to a lasting recovery.

War on Terror -- Keeping America safe from terrorism is an ongoing process that requires an unwavering commitment, which the president has demonstrated since September 11, 2001. Our nation's first responders, our firefighters and police officers, put their lives on the line everyday to keep us safe. We must provide these everyday heroes with the resources necessary to help them protect America. Today, local law enforcement and emergency personnel are better trained, our skies are safer, and local and state governments are better equipped to keep our citizens safe because of the president's dedication to the security of our nation.

Iraq -- Our victory in Iraq was a crucial advance in the war against terrorism. Having rid Iraq of an oppressive regime, I am pleased with the president's commitment to helping build a future of freedom, dignity, and peace for the Iraqi people. While it will take time to build institutions of democracy and freedom, the president has articulated an exit strategy whereby once we accomplish our goal of helping Iraq become a unified, independent, and sovereign nation, our forces will leave.

Health Care -- Real health care reform means crafting policy that will improve quality, choice, and accessibility for all Americans. Quality coverage must be balanced with availability and affordability of health insurance for working families. To mitigate escalating costs of health insurance premiums, we must help give consumers more control and better information to help them make the choices that are right for them. This will help to create a more affordable, more efficient, and more desirable health system for employers and employees. We must allow small businesses and the self-employed to pool their resources to purchase health insurance, providing small entrepreneurs with the same buying power that large employers and unions enjoy. We should also work to provide tax relief for Americans who save for future medical expenses.

Immigration -- California is home to about a third of the nation's population of illegal immigrants. This tide of illegal immigration increases Californian's tax burden, while weakening its legal, education and welfare system. For these reasons, I have used my vote in Congress to protect our borders and oppose legislation that encourages illegal immigration.

The president's immigration proposal is in reality a mechanism to provide amnesty to two million or more illegal aliens. It will only further-burden public assistance programs at a time many states, particularly California, are trying to recover economically. This proposal rewards law-breakers, is unfair to law-abiding legal immigrants, will encourage new waves of illegal immigrants, and makes a mockery of our laws. I plan to oppose this proposal and protect our borders from illegal immigration.