Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi

Pelosi Delivers Weekly Democratic Radio Address on Affirmative Action, Democratic Economic Stimulus Plan

January 21, 2003

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi delivered the weekly Democratic Radio Address today. Below is a transcript of the remarks:

Good morning. This is Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi of California, Democratic Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives.

On Monday, we recognize an American hero by celebrating the birthday of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. We celebrate Dr. King because of his dream of justice for all.

"I look forward confidently to the day," he once said, "...when we bring into full realization the American dream, a dream of equality of opportunity."

A pillar of that dream is equal access to higher education. This week, President Bush is trying to roll back one of the achievements of the civil rights movement by formally opposing the University of Michigan's affirmative action policy -- a policy that promotes the enrollment of students of color.

While we have made progress on Dr. King's dream for equality and opportunity for all, we have not yet achieved this vision.

If the Supreme Court agrees with President Bush and prohibits affirmative action in our colleges and universities, the dreams of countless eager young people will be crushed. We must preserve those dreams.

Dr. King is best known as a civil rights pioneer committed to non-violence, but he was also a crusader for economic justice on behalf of all Americans, regardless of race.

Democrats are committed to economic policies that allow all Americans to pursue the American dream. The new year has brought little relief for the millions of Americans who are hurting because of the weak economy. Last year, President Bush told the nation in his State of the Union address that his economic plan could be summarized in a single word: jobs.

But since he took office two years ago, a total of 1.7 million jobs have been lost -- the worst record on job creation for any President in the past 58 years.

We must do better. Earlier this month, House Democrats proposed an economic stimulus plan that will create 1 million new jobs this year, put money and purchasing power in the hands of consumers, and provide relief to laid-off workers. It will begin working immediately, and will rebuild the economic strength of our nation.

President Bush, meanwhile, has proposed a bloated $674 billion plan that most economists agree is not a stimulus package. It will not have any real, immediate impact on the economy.

Even the White House's own Council of Economic Advisers estimates that the Bush plan would create only 190,000 jobs in 2003 -- fewer than one-fifth of the 1 million jobs created by the Democratic plan.

Democrats are committed to policies that promote the American dream and the dream of economic justice that the Rev. Martin Luther King championed. What better way to build on his legacy? What better to way to honor Dr. King?

This is Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi. Thank you for listening.