From Sen. HIllary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.)
STATEMENT OF SENATOR HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON ON THE STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS
Washington, DC – “There is no doubt that the state of our union needs to be much stronger. We face tremendous challenges in Iraq and Afghanistan, continuing threats to our national and homeland security and crises here at home in health care and energy. But tonight, the President fell far short of the vision and solutions needed to meet these challenges and move our country forward.
The President finally acknowledged the problem of global warming and the need to develop alternative energy sources, but he did not offer a real plan to deal with climate change or to put us on a path to energy independence. The President finally addressed the need to deal with the health care crisis, but offered a proposal that does nothing make health insurance more affordable or accessible for the millions of uninsured and underinsured Americans. The President called for No Child Left Behind to be reauthorized this year, but has failed to ensure the funding needed to fulfill the promise of this landmark law. And instead of charting a new course in Iraq, including the political solution desperately needed, so that we can begin to bring our troops home, the President continued his defense of failed strategy and his escalation plan in Iraq.
Sadly, there was so much that the President left unsaid, including the need to help the thousands of responders, workers and others suffering devastating health effects from their exposure to the toxic fumes and dust at Ground Zero. Tonight, we lost another of our 9/11 heroes. Cesar Borja was a retired NYPD police officer who worked at Ground Zero. He started getting sick in the summer of 2002 with a cough that wouldn’t stop. After a series of misdiagnoses, in the fall of 2006 he was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis that tonight took his life. His son, Caesar Borja, Jr., had traveled today to Washington as my guest to attend the State of the Union address as a reminder to the President of our continuing obligation to help those who sacrificed their lives and health in the aftermath of 9/11. As we mourn the loss of Cesar Borja and keep the Borja family tonight in our thoughts and prayers, we are reminded that thousands like Cesar Borja desperately need help and I hope that the President in his budget will provide the funding needed to provide the health care our 9/11 heroes need and deserve.
It is time for bold but practical solutions. And it is past time to take the steps needed to create opportunity again for our families, our communities and our children.