For the president’s full remarks, see “2005 State of the Union Address”

WASHINGTON, DC (Talon News) — Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and his House counterpart, Nancy Pelosi, teamed up to deliver the Democratic response to President Bush’s State of the Union address Wednesday night.

Invoking “old-fashioned moral values” and “immoral” deficits, Reid, of Nevada, spent most of his airtime (read full text) criticizing the Bush administration’s economic policies and refuting the president’s Social Security reform plan.

“Too many of the president’s economic policies have left Americans and American companies struggling,” Reid said. “And after we worked so hard to eliminate the deficit, his policies have added trillions to the debt — in effect, a ‘birth tax’ of $36,000 on every child that is born.”

Reid vowed that he and his fellow Democrats in Congress would work with the administration “if the president is willing to join hands and build from the center.”

“I want you to know that when we believe the president is on the right track, we won’t let partisan interests get in the way of what’s good for the country,” Reid pledged. “We will be first in line to work with him. But when he gets off track, we will be there to hold him accountable.”

Reid took specific issue with the Bush plan for Social Security reform

[W]e … strongly disagree with the president’s plan to privatize Social Security,” Reid said. “Let me share with you why I believe the president’s plan is so dangerous.”

Reid alleged that the Bush plan would add $2 trillion to the current $4.3 trillion national debt.

“That’s an immoral burden to place on the backs of the next generation,” he said.

Reid then referred to the Bush plan as “Social Security roulette,” an apparent reference to the president’s proposal to allow younger workers to save a small percentage of their Social Security withholding in personal investments.

“Democrats are all for giving Americans more of a say and more choices when it comes to their retirement savings,” Reid said. “But that doesn’t mean taking Social Security’s guarantee and gambling with it. And that’s coming from a senator who represents Las Vegas.”
Reid closed his portion of the response with an appeal to fairness and morality.

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