American Progress Takes a Look Back at Bush’s 2002, 2003 and 2004 speeches
CLAIM: "If we failed to act in Iraq the dictator’s weapons of mass destruction programs would continue to this day."
STATUS: "The 1991 Persian Gulf War and subsequent U.N. inspections destroyed Iraq’s illicit weapons capability and, for the most part, Saddam Hussein did not try to rebuild it, according to an extensive report by the chief U.S. weapons inspector in Iraq," Charles Duelfer. [Washington Post, 10/7/04]
STATUS: The hunt for biological, chemical and nuclear weapons in Iraq has come to an end nearly two years after President Bush ordered U.S. troops to disarm Saddam Hussein. A senior intelligence official said Duelfer’s findings will stand as the Iraq Survey Group’s final conclusions and will be published this spring. [Washington Post, 1/12/05]
CLAIM: "America is committed to keep dangerous weapons from dangerous regimes."
STATUS: Under Bush’s watch, North Korea’s nuclear arsenal is thought to have quadrupled. Charles Pritchard, formerly Colin Powell’s top official dealing with North Korea, has warned for months that "the White House lacks an effective strategy to dissuade North Korea from building up its nuclear arms." And, according to Pritchard, the situation has deteriorated because "the administration has neither offered much of a carrot nor wielded a stick." [New York Times, 5/7/04]
STATUS: According to a recent Harvard University report titled "Securing the Bomb: An Agenda for Action," "less fissile materials were secured in the two years after Sept. 11 than in the two years before." [Harvard Report, 5/04]
CLAIM: "The American economy is growing stronger."
STATUS: Job growth over the last 18 months has fallen short of administration predictions by 1,703,000—more than one-third fewer jobs than the president’s Council of Economic Advisers said would be created even without the tax cuts. [EPI, 1/05]
STATUS: The most recent data from the Census Bureau show that the average income for middle-class households has dropped by $1,525 since its peak in 2000. [American Progress, 10/29/04]
CLAIM: "The tax relief you passed is working."
STATUS: The tax cuts have drained resources from domestic programs utilized by middle-class families. The Bush tax cuts for the richest 1 percent of Americans this year alone will cost $148 billion. "That is twice as much as the government will spend on job training, $6.2 billion; college Pell grants, $12 billion; public housing, $6.3 billion; low-income rental subsidies, $19 billion; child care, $4.8 billion; insurance for low-income children, $5.2 billion; low-income energy assistance, $1.8 billion; meals for shut-ins, $180 million; and welfare, $16.9 billion." [UFE, 4/7/04; Detroit News, 9/29/04]
STATUS: Between June 2003 and December 2004, the economy produced 3.1 million fewer jobs than the administration predicted would result after the last round of tax cuts. [Jobwatch.org, 1/7/05]
CLAIM: "We are providing more funding for our schools."
STATUS: "The bipartisan National Governors Association voted unanimously in 2003 to name No Child Left Behind an ‘unfunded mandate,’ which means the federal government isn’t supplying the money needed to make the law work." [Bloomberg, 1/12/05]
STATUS: For 2005, the administration has requested $9.4 billion less for No Child Left Behind than the bill supposedly ensures. Title I, the program to help poor kids, is underfunded by $7.2 billion, leaving nearly 5 million kids without academic help. [Star-Telegram, 2/26/04]
PROMISE: "I will increase support for community colleges."
STATUS: Last year, the Bush administration proposed cutting the largest direct aid initiative to community colleges, the Perkins program for technical and vocational training, from $1.3 billion to about $1 billion. Congress had to step in to save the funding. [Cincinnati Enquirer, 1/26/04]
PROMISE: "Millions of Americans will be able to save money tax-free for their medical expenses in a health savings account."
STATUS: "Approximately 440,000 Americans signed up for health savings accounts between December 2003 and September 2005…. [A] study released by the Commonwealth Fund concludes that people who used high-deductible insurance plans were more likely than those with traditional medical coverage to have difficulty paying their medical bills." [Fox News, 1/27/05]
STATUS: HSAs will likely drive up the annual deductibles paid by workers. Because of their adverse effects on employer-based coverage, HSAs could swell the ranks of the uninsured. [USA Today, 5/25/04; CBPP, 5/10/04]
PROMISE: "I will defend the sanctity of marriage."
STATUS: Efforts to pass a constitutional amendment that would effectively ban same-sex marriage failed in July. [CNN, 7/16/04]
PROMISE: "I will double the federal funding for abstinence programs."
STATUS: Bush more or less made good on this promise, requesting $270 million for abstinence-only programs in 2005. Studies have showed the well-funded programs "teach adolescents false and misleading information about reproductive health" and fail to increase abstinence. [Waxman Report, 12/2/04; WP, 12/2/04; Advocates for Youth, 9/27/04]
PROPOSAL: "I propose series of measurements called Jobs for the 21st Century."
This initiative included increasing Pell grants…
STATUS: For three straight years, Bush has proposed freezing or cutting Pell grants. [Ed Workforce, 2/2/04]
STATUS: A spending bill the White House helped push through Congress last November allows the U.S. Department of Education to proceed with a new eligibility formula that will remove an estimated 90,000 qualified students from eligibility for Pell Grants. [St. Petersburg Times, 12/24/04]
…And Community-Based Job Training Grants
STATUS: Bush’s 2005 budget proposed cutting job training and vocational education by 10 percent – that’s $656 million – from what Congress pledged to those programs in 2002. [Workforce Alliance, 4/5/04]
STATUS: Two federal banking agencies headed by Bush appointees are trying to change laws that would cripple the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), a civil rights law prohibiting discrimination by banks against low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. [AP, 10/21/04]
PROPOSAL: "Pass legislation to modernize our electricity system, promote conservation, and make America less dependent on foreign energy sources."
STATUS: The energy bill proposed by President Bush would allow power companies "to set up multiple subsidiaries and blur their financial reports, leading to market manipulation similar to that seen during the California energy crisis." [Sierra Club]
STATUS: The president’s bill allows "automakers to sell more gas guzzlers by failing to raise fuel economy standards" and "fails to increase our use of clean, renewable energy by excluding a Renewable Energy Standard (RES) that would ensure that more of our electricity comes from clean, renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power." [Sierra Club]
STATUS: President Bush’s primary plan to reduce foreign energy dependence, drilling the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge, would not reduce the price of oil and would produce only 3.2 billion barrels of economically recoverable oil (the United States consumes about 7 billion barrels each year). [Sierra Club]
PROPOSAL: "Reform in immigration laws and a new temporary worker program."
STATUS: President Bush blocked the Dream Act, which had bipartisan support and would have enabled 65,000 high school graduates who are undocumented immigrants to become citizens if they completed college, and allowed them to pay the in-state rate for tuition at public colleges and universities. [Washington Post, 7/21/04]
PROPOSAL: "New funding to continue our aggressive, community based strategy to reduce demand for illegal drugs."
STATUS: In his FY04 budget, the president proposed cutting funding for the Safe and Drug Free Schools program by $25 million. The 2005 budget proposes freezing funding for the program. [House Committee on Education and Workforce, 2/2/04]
PROPOSAL: "Grassroots campaign to help inform families about medical risks of STD’s."
STATUS: Abstinence-only programs lavishly funded by the president have undermined this goal, increasing unsafe sex and encouraging hostility to contraception. [Advocates for Youth, 9/27/04]
PROMISE: "I will send you a budget that increases discretionary spending by 4 percent next year—about as much as the average family’s income is expected to grow."
STATUS: Real median household income fell 0.1 percent in 2003, from $43,381 to $43,318. According to the latest census data, median household income has dropped 3.5 percent since the beginning of the Bush presidency in 2000. [Mother Jones, 8/27/04; Census]
PROPOSAL: "I have sent you Clear Skies legislation that mandates a 70-percent cut in air pollution from power plants over the next 15 years."
STATUS: The Bush administration’s "Clear Skies" proposal, due to be debated in Congress in the coming weeks, would not reduce pollution as much as existing Clean Air Act regulations, according to an interim report by the National Academy of Sciences. [LA Times, 1/14/05]
PROMISE: "I ask Congress to commit $15 billion over the next five years, including nearly $10 billion in new money, to turn the tide against AIDS in the most afflicted nations of Africa and the Caribbean."
STATUS: Congress approved $2.9 billion to fight HIV/AIDS and other diseases in 2005, but it cut the U.S. pledge to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to $350 million – almost $200 million less than last year’s donation. "The administration is also blocking the Fund from receiving $88 million that Congress appropriated in the 2004 fiscal year." [Kaiser, 11/19/04]
PROMISE: "I am instructing the leaders of the FBI, and CIA, the Homeland Security, and the Department of Defense to develop a Terrorist Threat Integration Center, to merge and analyze all threat information in a single location."
STATUS: "The Bush administration’s effort to create a national database of potential terrorist targets such as dams, pipelines, chemical plants and skyscrapers is far behind schedule and may take years to finish." [USA Today, 12/8/04]
PROMISE: "We’re strongly supporting the International Atomic Energy Agency."
STATUS: The Bush administration campaigned behind closed doors to prevent respected Egyptian diplomat Mohammed ElBaradei from sitting for a third term as head of the IAEA because of "his willingness to challenge the administration’s assertions on Iraq and Iran." No country would join the U.S. effort, however. The administration stooped so low as to install "dozens of intercepts of Mohamed ElBaradei’s phone calls with Iranian diplomats and…scrutinize[d] them in search of ammunition to oust him." [Washington Post, 12/12/04; Washington Post, 01/22/05]
PROMISE: "We need to replace aging aircraft and make our military more agile, to put our troops anywhere in the world quickly and safely. Our men and women in uniform deserve the best weapons, the best equipment, the best training—and they deserve a pay raise."
STATUS: In December, a soldier serving in Iraq asked why he had to "dig through local land fills" to find scrap metal to properly arm his military combat vehicle. Rumsfeld’s response? "You have to go to war with the Army you have." [CNN, 12/9/04]
PROMISE: "We’ll increase funding to help states and communities train and equip our heroic police and firefighters."
STATUS: According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), "At least two-thirds of the nation’s fire departments are understaffed." Cuts in federal aid to local police agencies have pushed local agencies "to the breaking point." [USA Today, 11/28/04; USA Today, 11/16/04]
STATUS: Under the SAFER (Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response) Act, Congress authorized $7.6 billion over seven years to improve fire department funding, but President Bush "didn’t request any money for the program in his 2005 budget." [USA Today, 11/28/04]
PROMISE: "Our budget will run a deficit that will be small and short-term, so long as Congress restrains spending and acts in a fiscally responsible manner."
STATUS: The federal budget deficit will reach a record $448 billion this year, exceeding last year’s record of $412 billion. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), "the long-term outlook for the US budget deficit has deteriorated since the end of last year." [FT, 1/26/05]