Bush Calls for Bipartisan Support of Ambitious Agenda

Washington – President Bush, speaking to a meeting of Democratic members of the House of Representatives in Williamsburg , Virginia, February 3, called upon Congress to join his administration in tackling some of the biggest international and domestic and challenges facing the nation today.

On Iraq, Bush acknowledged many in the Democratic Party did not support aspects of his administration's policy, but asserted that they all agreed on the need to help the Iraqi government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki succeed in its commitments to increased security as well as economic and political reform.  (See related article.)

"There's got to be success not only on the military front," Bush said, "but there's also got to be success on the political front."

Bush specifically cited the need to pass a law dealing with oil revenue and to amend the Iraqi constitution – "so society feels that the government is for them." 

The president highlighted other foreign policy areas where Democrats and Republicans can work together, including the administration's initiatives in Africa – from HIV/AIDS and malaria to the refugee crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan. He also pledged that "we will continue to pursue freedom in places like Cuba or Belarus or Burma."

On the domestic front, Bush called for immigration reform, including a temporary guest worker program, and an energy program focused the ambitious goal of reducing gasoline usage by 20 percent over the next decade through higher fuel standards, alternative fuels, and new technology.

He also challenged Congress to work with the administration on balancing the budget, addressing the costs of entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security, reforming health insurance, and upgrading math and science education.

A transcript of the president's remarks to the House Democratic Caucus Issues Conference can be found on the White House Web site.