Transcript: Democrats' Radio Response

Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-CA., delivered the response to the president's weekly radio address:

Good morning. This is Nancy Pelosi of California, Democratic leader of the House of Representatives.

Throughout our nation's history, hope and optimism have defined the American spirit. As a nation, we have always emerged from difficult times of war and economic uncertainty stronger and more unified.

And every generation has struggled to leave our children a world that is stronger and more secure than the one left to us. That is our legacy, and it must also be our commitment.

President Bush faces great challenges in the days and months ahead. There is danger abroad and unfulfilled promise here at home. And, as it has been for the past four years, the country is divided.

But our partisan split, rather than being an excuse for inaction, must be a call to compromise and common sense. We stand strongest as a nation when we stand on common ground.

I hope that in this term President Bush will fulfill his promise to be a uniter, not a divider. A new term is indeed a new opportunity to bring America together. House Democrats stand ready to work with the President.

Despite our divisions, there are many places where we should be able to agree.

More than three years after the horrific attacks of 9/11, we know we are not as safe as we should be. As we came together after September 11, 2001, we must come together now to enact the urgent recommendations of the 9/11 Commission.

We must move to address our domestic priorities: creating good jobs, better access to health care, and the best possible education for our children. Even on these crucial issues, there is broad bipartisan consensus on concrete steps we could take right now.

To create jobs, we can begin by passing a robust transportation bill that will create 1.7 million new jobs nationwide, while modernizing our infrastructure.

We must also reform the tax code; we must stop rewarding outsourcing. As a matter of basic fairness, no taxpayer should have to subsidize the outsourcing of his or her own job.

Congress should take up legislation to extend health insurance to more parents and children. There is also broad agreement that one of the ways to bring down the cost of health care is to allow for the safe reimportation of drugs from Canada and elsewhere.

To improve education, we must not only keep the promise of No Child Left Behind, we must also match the reforms with the resources necessary to make them work for our children. And we must make college education more affordable, so that every student who has the motivation to continue his or her education beyond high school will also have the means to do so.

There are places where we differ, as well, and Democrats will stand our ground. The President has proposed privatizing Social Security, which would cut the benefits that provide financial security for millions of seniors and the disabled. Democrats have always protected Social Security, and we will continue to do so.

The President also pledged to cut the deficit in half. But in the days after the election, he said he wants even more tax cuts and proposed yet another increase in the debt limit. Democrats will continue to fight for fiscal responsibility and that begins with an honest discussion about how to reduce the enormous deficit. We must pay as we go.

Within the Congress itself, there must be more discourse and less discord.

Democrats and Republicans are on different sides of the aisle, but we have a shared oath and a solemn obligation to serve our country together. As elected officials, our commitment must be to build a future worthy of the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform and worthy of the aspirations of our children. That is my hope for this administration and this Congress.

As President Kennedy said in his inaugural address, "Let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking his blessing and his help, but knowing that here on earth, God's work must truly be our own."

This is Nancy Pelosi, House democratic leader. Thank you for listening. God bless America.