More Support Needed for Troops in Iraq

Lawmakers and President Bush should make a New Year’s resolution to give adequate equipment to troops in Iraq, the vice chairman of the House Democratic Caucus said Saturday.

“Our soldiers should never want for proper equipment and accurate intelligence,” Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina said in the Democrats’ weekly radio address. “Their patriotism and sacrifice should never be doubted or compromised.”

Outlining his party’s priorities, Clyburn said challenges facing the United States in 2005 include protecting Social Security, lifting children out of poverty, expanding health insurance coverage and making college education more affordable.

He called Social Security a safety net that pays more benefits to children than any other program.

“To jeopardize the solvency of this resoundingly successful program by gambling Social Security benefits on the stock market is a risk that President Bush and this Congress should resolve to avoid,” Clyburn said. It was a reference to Bush’s proposal that younger workers be allowed to divert part of their Social Security taxes into private retirement investment accounts.

Clyburn also said underfunding the No Child Left Behind law while saddling children with deficits “violates the basic tenets of our nation’s values.”

And, he said, “we need to make a college education more affordable, not cut student loans and Pell grants.”