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Bush to Tackle Terrorism in State of The Union Address - 2003-01-25

President Bush Saturday outlined some of the domestic issues he will be emphasizing in this week's State of the Union address. Mr. Bush says Congress should slow government spending because of his plans for more tax cuts and possible military action in Iraq.

President Bush says he will use Tuesday's State of the Union address to outline ways he plans to strengthen the economy, improve health care for older Americans, and defend against terrorist attacks.

Mr. Bush says funding those priorities, along with a $670 billion tax cut and a possible war in Iraq, means that Congress must control the growth of public spending. "Spending restraint is important to economic growth and job creation," said President Bush. "And, it is critical to reducing the deficit, caused by war and national emergency and recession."

The president's speech before Congress will come one day after U.N. arms inspectors brief the Security Council on their search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Mr. Bush will continue his effort to convince Americans and U.S. allies of the need for military action against Iraq, if it does not comply with U.N. resolutions.

"We will take every measure that is necessary to protect the American people from terrorist groups and outlaw regimes," the president said in his weekly radio address. "The world depends on America's strength and purpose, and we will meet our responsibilities for peace."

President Bush's main focus Saturday was on domestic issues. He said, because government spending should not grow faster than family incomes, his budget will only go up about four percent. He called on the Republican-led Congress to stay within those limits, while speeding up planned tax cuts. "The tax relief already planned for later in this decade should be made effective this year, including income tax reduction, marriage penalty relief, and an increase in the child tax credit," he said. "When Congress acts, I will direct the Treasury to return this money to taxpayers right away, which will provide immediate help to our economy."

Congressional Democrats say the president's economic stimulus plan unfairly favors the rich by eliminating taxes on corporate dividends.

In the democratic response to the president's radio address, Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley said those tax cuts are particularly hard on cities, because, he says, the president is not helping local government pay for the higher costs of protecting against terrorist attacks. "Your neglect of homeland defense funding has relegated 'the common defense' to yet another unfunded federal mandate for already cash-strapped cities - cities that are still reeling from federal and state tax cuts that primarily benefit the wealthy," said Mayor O'Malley.

President Bush says Democrats are engaging in "class warfare" by attacking his stimulus plan, which he says will put more money back in the hands of people, who, Mr. Bush says, will create more wealth for the economy.