Former Iowa governor turned presidential candidate, Tom Vilsack, today issued what he called a "pre-buttal" to President Bush’s State of the Union address tomorrow night. Vilsack, a democrat, criticized Bush based on reports of what the president is expected to say. Vilsack says the president is going to propose raising taxes on the middle class in order to reduce the number of uninsured Americans.
"It’s hard to conceive of an administration that continues to advocate for reduced taxes for the wealthiest Americans, and continues to fund billions of dollars to reconstruct Iraq, and then simply asks middle class families to pay more in order to ensure the birthright that every American ought to have, which is affordable insurance coverage," Vilsack says. Vilsack is also critical of President Bush’s actions after Bush called in last year’s address for the U.S. to become more energy independent.
Vilsack says Bush’s energy proposals "were weak and failed to deliver." Vilsack says he expects to hear the president make a similar call this year. Vilsack says the president has been spending time and energy on fighting the war in Iraq "instead of focusing on expanding the economy here in America so the middle class can grow instead of shrink." Vilsack says he is encouraged by one proposal the president is expected to make involving health insurance.
Vilsack says it appears the president will ask that resources currently used for charity care be used by states to cover people without health insurance. Vilsack says that plan appears to be patterned after a program started in Iowa, and Vilsack says he encourages the president to continue to look "outside of Washington D.C. for polices that work on health care and energy." Vilsack was asked how he would fund the program to increase health coverage for the uninsured.
Vilsack says one thing he would do is not spend more money on a troop surge in Iraq. Vilsack also says instead of making "tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans permanent," he would look at those taxes instead of another tax on the middle class. Vilsack says he would like the opportunity to "scour the budget" to establish priorities. Vilsack says he established budget priorities as governor and would do the same as president.