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Bush chides Democrats for being reflexively partisan

Bush chides Democrats for being reflexively partisan

There is hardly a topic these days on which President George W. Bush is not asking the Democratic-controlled Congress to avoid "a reflexive partisan response."
That is certainly the case with Iraq, but it also applies to the domestic priorities of health and energy that he set in his State of the Union address.
"I have asked Congress to take several vital steps to address these issues," Bush said Saturday in his weekly radio address. "Some members gave a reflexive partisan response."
He praised the few Democrats who had "welcomed this opportunity to reach across the aisle."
"This is a good start," he said.
In the Democrats' Saturday radio address, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa called on Bush to work with Democrats and "turn talk into action."
"In Iraq and here at home, it's time for a new direction," the mayor said. "We must stop talking about challenges like energy and work together to solve them."
The president's opening strategy toward the Democratic majority in Congress, as displayed most prominently in his State of the Union speech Tuesday night, is to present himself as a leader taking the initiative to work across party lines. The hope is that Democrats will feel pressured to join him _ or face public disapproval if they do not.
But bipartisanship aside, Bush has also been showing a willingness to talk tough.
On a collision course with Congress over Iraq, Bush had strong words Friday for the lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who are lining up to support resolutions opposing his decision to send 21,500 additional troops to Iraq. Asked how he could go ahead with his plan without congressional support, he said bluntly, "I'm the decision-maker."
On Thursday, Bush visited Lee's Summit, Missouri, to give a boost to a proposal that would overhaul the way the tax code treats health insurance as a way to help some of those without coverage buy it on their own. Democrats have greeted the idea coldly, saying say it does nothing to help the majority of the uninsured who are too poor to pay taxes and unnecessarily undermines a health insurance system built around the workplace, where more than half of Americans get their coverage.
"They're just dismissing things because of pure politics," Bush said.
On energy, ramping up production of alternative fuels such as cellulosic ethanol is one way Bush says the nation can get to the goal of cutting consumption of gasoline by up to 20 percent over 10 years.
The other key element of Bush's energy plan is changing the way fuel-economy standards are set for passenger cars. The president wants Congress to give his administration the power to set the standards for cars, using a system it says cut emissions while preserving choices and safety for costumers. Bush opposes any legislation simply setting a number for higher fuel-economy standards, an approach Democrats like better.
The energy ideas were not dismissed as readily as the health care ones. Still, Bush has asked for the fuel-economy authority before, without success.
"We've set important goals, and now Republicans and Democrats must work together to make them a reality," Bush said on the radio.
Villaraigosa said Bush must work with both parties and "turn talk into action ... to free America from its dangerous dependence on oil." He called for an approach that would put "flexibility ahead of partisanship."
Democrats and Republicans "may not always agree on the solutions to these problems," the mayor said. "But I hope we can agree it's time for all of us to join together and move America forward."


Updated : 2021-04-16 23:48 GMT+08:00