Pelosi Statement on the Effect of Bush Budget on Women
March 17, 2004
Washington, D.C.-House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi joined Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, Democratic Co-Chair of the House Women's Caucus, female firefighters, police officers and nurses, as well as other Democratic Congresswomen at a press conference today to talk about the devastating effect of the Bush and House Republican budgets on women and their families. They released a letter to President Bush comparing the President's reassuring rhetoric with the harsh reality of his budget policies:
"Thank you to Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, the co-chair of the Women's Caucus, for that introduction and for your great leadership on this issue. Thank you to all of the Members who are here today. As you can see, there has been strong support in our Caucus on this issue. More than 40 Democratic women signed the letter that we are releasing today.
"We are proud to be joined by so many nurses, police officers, and firefighters who are on the frontlines and know all too well how the Bush budget will impact them and their communities. Thank you all for being here today to discuss this critical issue.
"In recent months, President Bush has traveled the country meeting with small business owners, women and men in uniform, community activists, and parents and teachers. He has offered reassuring rhetoric about his policies that bears little resemblance to the harsh reality of his budget.
"The truth is that the President's budget hurts women small business owners, reduces funding for child care and education, and has a disproportionate impact on public sector employees, including nurses, firefighters and police officers. It simply does not keep the promises he has made.
"The budget should be a statement of our national values. But instead of helping families struggling to achieve financial security in this weak economy, the President is mortgaging their future on irresponsible tax cuts for those who need it least.
"The President has the wrong priorities, and Democrats are fighting against them. We are committed to building an America that helps all American families create a better future for their children. American women deserve better."
Below is the text of the letter to the President:
March 17, 2004
President George W. Bush
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President:
Over the past two months, you have met with small business owners, women and men in uniform, community activists, and parents and teachers. You have touted your accomplishments and promised to do more for American workers and families struggling to achieve financial security in today's uncertain economy.
But your budget does not keep the promises you have made.
As you said during your visit to Ohio last week, women own nearly seven million small businesses - almost half of all small businesses nationwide. But you did not mention that your budget cuts funding for the Small Business Administration by $79 million - the agency that helps women- and minority-owned small businesses grow.
You went to Kentucky to talk about the benefits of your tax cut for working Americans. But you did not mention that your budget squanders an additional $1 trillion on a tax cut that provides more than 50 percent of Americans with less than $100 this year alone, yet does nothing to create well-paying jobs here at home for the 3.8 million women out of work.
As you said when speaking at a school in Maryland last month, Republicans and Democrats came together and agreed that we need to invest more money in education, so that children get the help they need with reading and math. But you did not mention that your budget fails to provide $9.4 billion in promised funding for education reforms - meaning that 2.4 million children will not get the help with reading and math that they were promised.
You thanked military personnel in Louisiana for their service to our country, and promised that our nation would always be grateful for their service. Our country has more than 1.5 million women veterans, and thousands of wives and mothers waiting for loved ones to come home. But you did not mention that your budget cuts funding for veterans health care by $13 billion over five years and raises health care costs for veterans seeing VA physicians.
Just yesterday, you talked about the importance of affordable health care at an event in Washington D.C., but you did not mention that your budget includes billions for a tax credit for individual coverage that helps only five percent of the uninsured, and Health Savings Accounts that help only the healthy and wealthy. You provide almost no help for the 20 million women without health insurance and millions more who can barely afford to pay their premiums.
Mr. President, you can use paid actors in your campaign ads, but the decisions you make in your budget affect real Americans - including the people you met with in Ohio, Kentucky, Maryland, Louisiana, and Washington D.C. As the budget goes to the floor of the House next week for debate, we hope that you will set an example for the House Republican leadership and put election-year politics aside. The only way to make sure that all Americans who work hard have the opportunity to get ahead is by having an honest debate on the budget. The first step towards that debate is for you to tell the American people the truth about the impact of your budget on working families.
Eddie Bernice Johnson
Stephanie Tubbs Jones
Eleanor Holmes Norton