This is IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English.
President Bush gave his two thousand seven State of the Union speech to
Congress and the American people Tuesday night.
On the nation's most
pressing issue, he said "America must not fail in Iraq." He defended his plan to
send more than 20,000 additional troops there. He warned that if American forces
leave Iraq before Baghdad is secure, the Iraqi government would fall to
He said nothing is more important to America right now than to succeed in
Iraq and the Middle East.
On other foreign policy issues, Mr. Bush said the United States will continue
to speak out for freedom in places like Cuba, Belarus and Burma. And continue to
call on the world to save the people of Darfur, Sudan.
Mr. Bush has two years left in office. This was the Republican president's
first speech to a Democratic-controlled Congress.
On policy issues at home, he announced proposals to help more Americans get
health insurance. And he called for a twenty percent cut in the nation's
gasoline use within ten years, to reduce dependence on foreign oil.
To reach this goal, he said there must be improved fuel economy in cars and
higher requirements for renewable and alternative fuels. He said new energy
technologies being developed will also help deal with, in his words, "the
serious challenge of global climate change."
On other issues, he renewed his call for immigration reform including a
temporary worker program. And he said he will propose a budget that would end
the federal deficit within five years.
The president faces low public approval ratings and high disapproval of his
plan for more troops in Iraq. Democrats and some Republicans in Congress oppose
The Democratic Party chose newly elected Senator Jim Webb of Virginia to give
its official reaction to the State of the Union speech. His son is a Marine
serving in Iraq. Senator Webb called for a "new direction," including an
immediate move toward strong diplomacy to end the war.
On Friday, the Senate confirmed Army General David Petraeus as the new
commander of American troops in Iraq. There were no dissenting votes.
But that was two days after the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed a
resolution to oppose a troop increase as not in the national interest. The
measure is without legal force. The vote was twelve to nine; the full Senate is
expected to debate the resolution next week. A similar one is planned in the
House of Representatives.
At the White House, President Bush said Friday that he chose a plan that he
thinks is most likely to succeed. "I'm the decision-maker," he said. He told
reporters that most of the people in Congress recognize that failure in Iraq
would be a disaster for the United States. Some are condemning a plan before it
has even had a chance to work, he said. In that case, Mr. Bush says they have a
responsibility to put up their own plan.
IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English was
written by Brianna Blake. I'm Steve Ember.