WASHINGTON, Jan. 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid delivered their assessment on the State of Our Union today at the National Press Club. The leaders discussed efforts to take America in a New Direction to reinvigorate the American economy and restore our leadership in the world. Below are their remarks as prepared:
A New Direction to Reinvigorate the American Economy and Restore Our Leadership in the World
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi:
"Thank you, Donna for that kind introduction. I congratulate the National Press Club on its 100th anniversary.
"It is an honor to once again join Leader Reid to offer the Democratic view on the state of the union.
"As Speaker of the House, I am proud of the work the 110th Congress has done to restore faith in our democracy by: enacting landmark lobbying and ethics reform; reasserting Congressional oversight; and restoring fiscal responsibility.
"Now, we must strengthen Americans' faith in the economy.
Economy / Stimulus Package
"Yesterday, House Democrats and Republicans reached a bipartisan agreement to immediately jumpstart the slowing economy.
"The plan provides working Americans who are struggling in these difficult economic times with timely, targeted and temporary relief. Because of this effort, more than 100 million American families will soon receive, what I call, 'recovery rebates.'
"The package also gives families a second chance at the American dream of homeownership by helping them refinance and avoid foreclosure.
"The House will move quickly to approve this package which will provide broad-based help to the middle class and those aspiring to it, will create jobs, and will stimulate the economy.
"If there is any doubt of the need for immediate action on our stimulus package to strengthen middle-class families, consider the story of Floreese Feaster of Charlotte, North Carolina.
"Floreese works full-time in customer service for a major telecommunications company, yet she worries that her paycheck will not stretch far enough to cover rising gas prices. Floreese's five-year old son even offered to loan her
"Americans like Floreese deserve an economy that rewards their hard work, helps them provide for their families, and renews the American dream for their children. That is why the House will act quickly and decisively to put recovery rebates in the hands of hard-working Americans.
"While 2008 is a time to get America's economy moving again, it is also a year when Americans will select new leadership for our future.
"I know Americans will find the leadership they seek among our outstanding Democratic candidates. But we cannot wait for the next presidential election to address long-term challenges.
"We have already begun to chart a New Direction to strengthen our economy and create jobs for the middle class. We increased the minimum wage for the first time in 10 years. We advanced our Innovation Agenda to make serious and sustained investments in research and development, and promote the public-private partnerships that will develop high-risk, high-reward ideas into marketable technologies.
"We must continue to chart a New Direction for our economy that creates new, knowledge-based jobs as we tackle every major challenge: bringing innovation to education; promoting better health care for all Americans; rebuilding our infrastructure; and addressing the climate crisis and global warming.
"We must bring an innovative and entrepreneurial spirit to the work of government and make fiscally sound investments that will pay dividends for the future.