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Remarks of Representative Brad Miller Democratic Radio Address to the Nation

Location: Washington, DC

Federal News Service January 31, 2004 Saturday


REP. MILLER: Good morning. This is Congressman Brad Miller from North Carolina.

President Bush said in his State of the Union address last week that the economy was growing stronger, and that his tax cuts for the richest people in American are the reason.

On Monday, he will propose a federal budget that will call for even more tax cuts-which will add another $2 trillion to an already staggering $3 trillion deficit. More tax cuts for those who need them least, he insists, will keep the good times rolling. If President Bush thinks these are good times, I wish he'd been with me when I visited the unemployment office in Rockingham County, North Carolina. The parking lot was full. I had to drive around the block and finally parked on the grass.

I expected to talk to workers who had just lost jobs at PillowTex, a large textile manufacturer that closed its doors last fall. And I did. But I also talked to workers who had been out of work for two or three years, and had been looking non-stop. To me, unemployment is not just a statistic. I've seen the faces of the workers who've lost their jobs, and don't know where new jobs are going to come from.

Tax cuts that pile on to the largest deficit in our history will not help those folks find jobs. Deficits drag the economy down, increase interest rates, and leave a staggering debt for our children to pay. We've got to restore fiscal responsibility to the federal budget. We've got to focus on the priorities of families in North Carolina, and across the country. And we've got to do it in an honest and straightforward way.

In one sentence in an hour-long speech, President Bush said we could pay for his $2 trillion in tax cuts by cutting wasteful spending. We Democrats are all for cutting wasteful spending. But last year President Bush thought health care for veterans was wasteful spending - and he put funding for education in that category too.

Last year, President Bush's budget cut the promised funding for No Child Left Behind programs by $9 billion, and the programs that were hardest hit were the very programs that help children most in danger of being left behind. And he called for cutting drastically the main source of federal funding for occupational training in our community colleges.

Last week President Bush called for increased funding for community colleges - I hope he's really gotten religion on the issue. But what was he thinking last year? And what will this year's budget really do? Is education again the "wasteful spending" he will cut?

As President Bush works on this year's budget, I wish he could see the faces of the workers I met in the unemployment office in Rockingham County. I wish he could see the faces of the students at our community colleges, working hard to learn new skills. And I wish he could see the faces of the children who depend on our nation's public schools for an opportunity to get ahead.

I hope we can put partisanship aside, and do what's right by those ordinary Americans. They deserve a budget that addresses their needs, recognizes their challenges, and upholds the dignity of their hard work.

I'm Congressman Brad Miller from North Carolina. Thank you for listening, and go Panthers.

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