Transcript: Pelosi on Prosperity, National Security

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, delivered Saturday's response to the president's weekly radio address. Following is a transcript of Pelosi's remarks:

Good morning. I'm House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.

This week, Democrats in the House of Representatives stood on the steps of the U.S. Capitol and unveiled our New Partnership for America's Future, which reaffirms the commitment of House Democrats to six core values for a strong and secure middle class: prosperity, national security, fairness, opportunity, community and accountability.

This morning, I will focus on two of those values, prosperity and national security.

Democrats believe in a prosperity that provides all Americans with the opportunity to succeed and to live a secure and comfortable life. We support middle class tax cuts, investing in education, providing affordable health care, and keeping good jobs here at home.

Sadly, Republicans in Washington are undermining our prosperity. Over the last four years, Republicans have lost 1.7 million private sector jobs, and continue to defend tax loopholes that send American jobs overseas.

To make matters worse, Republicans want to create a new national sales tax of an astounding 30 percent or more on all goods. That's a new 30 percent sales tax on top of the state and local sales taxes we already pay.

The top Republicans in Congress enthusiastically endorse this new tax. Majority Leader Tom DeLay is co-sponsoring the bill, along with 53 other Republicans.

The Republican tax plan would make it even harder for middle class families to make ends meet. For example, cars that now cost $20,000 would have an additional sales tax of $6,000 under this proposal. And the gas for that car that now costs $2 a gallon, would rise to $2.60 a gallon.

A national sales tax would wipe out our system of progressive taxation. Wealthy corporate interests would get a windfall, and the middle class would get the bill.

In addition to strengthening our financial security, Democrats have an unwavering commitment to our national security, which guarantees military strength second to none, stops the spread of weapons of mass destruction, and collects timely and reliable intelligence to keep us safe at home by preventing terrorist attacks before they occur.

Democrats would build strong diplomatic alliances to protect America's national interests. John Kerry and a Democratic Congress would signal a new message of cooperation and respect to our allies that would stand in stark contrast to the Bush Administration's condescension and go-it-alone policy.

With nothing but a record of failure at home and abroad, Republicans are sinking further into the politics of fear. Recently, Vice President Cheney tried to instill fear into Americans by saying the country would be at increased risk of a terrorist attack if voters make what he considers to be the 'wrong choice' in November.

Before making such despicable statements, Republicans should remember that the reason Usama bin Laden is still able to threaten the United States, three years after the September 11th attacks, is the utter failure of the Bush Administration to catch bin Laden and to destroy his terrorist network. We would be much safer today if President Bush had kept his focus on Al Qaeda, rather than diverting crucial resources from the war on terror in Afghanistan to a war of choice in Iraq.

The President must be held accountable for this war. This diversion has cost more than 1,000 of our soldier's lives, thousands more injured for life, and hundreds of billions of dollars. This war has been a grotesque mistake that has diminished our reputation in the world and has not made America safer.

What would make us safer is facing reality in Iraq, focusing on the clear and present danger from terrorism, and acting on the 9/11 Commission recommendations.

For our security and prosperity, there has never been a greater urgency to change the direction of our country. We need John Kerry and a Democratic Congress.

Because hope and optimism for the future have always defined the American spirit, working together, we will build a stronger and more prosperous America.

To learn more about our New Partnership for America's Future, please visit our Web site at: <>. I'm House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. Thank you for listening.