Hoyer Criticizes Bush's Energy Bill, Social Security Plan and Calls GOP "Deeply Divided"

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today in response to President Bush's visit to Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant in Lusby, Maryland to talk about energy and the economy. Congressman Hoyer represents Calvert County.

"As a strong supporter of Calvert Cliffs in Calvert County, Maryland, and a proponent of nuclear power, I am pleased that the President was able to tour this facility today. However, I am deeply disappointed that he has failed to lead our country toward solutions to some of the issues he raised today.

"Our country needs an energy strategy that reduces our nation's dependence on foreign sources of oil and strengthens our national security. We need a strategic vision for our energy future that focuses on promoting the next generation of energy production, efficiency and alternative and renewable fuels that will power our economy and protect our environment. The bill that the President is pushing Congress to pass will accomplish none of these goals.

"The President also talked about Social Security today. Democrats believe we need to strengthen Social Security and protect the retirement security of future generations. It is past time for President Bush and Republicans to drop their misguided focus on privatization and middle-class benefit cuts, and come together in a bipartisan way to solve Social Security's challenges.

"This President has done very little, outside of speeches to rooms full of supporters, to actually make progress on the issues the American people care about. In fact, the most recent polling data shows that as many as 51% of registered voters nationwide disapprove of the way he is leading the country and nearly three-fourths of the respondents believe that the Republican-led Congress does not share their priorities.

"The deeply divided Republican Party is incapable of working out differences among themselves on issues important to the American public, and as a result, these important issues are being ignored or have become bogged down by internal disagreements.

"In order to get Congress off the path of failure and onto the path of progress, the President must engage the Republican leadership and he must demand a real energy policy that puts the public interest ahead of the special interests. He must pursue a bipartisan solution to the challenges facing Social Security. And, Democrats are more than ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work."

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