Monday, April 2, 2007

Hillary speaks out for the middle class, unions, and first responders

Hillary Clinton added some definition to her views on the war, the middle class and the right to organize at the International Association of Fire Fighters Bipartisan 2008 Presidential Forum:
Working hand in hand with many of you and with the IAFF we created a program to screen and monitor those who were sick. And we got $90 million to expand it. And when President Bush tried to take $125 million back, we knew we had to draw the line. And you once again came in and helped us win that fight. Let's just say the president picked a fight with the wrong people. We won it but we didn't stop there. With your help I was able to introduce legislation asking for more than $1.9 billion for medical and mental health monitoring and treatment. We're going to keep working on this, not just this year or next year but as long as our first responders, our workers, our volunteers, our residents need help.

And in this latest budget, the president is proposing to cut funds for first responders at the Department of Homeland Security to the tune of $1.7 billion. The way I see it, saying you believe in homeland security without funding first responders is like saying you believe in building a hospital without doctors and nurses. If we don't fund you, we're not funding our first line of defense, and we're going to need to work together to make that happen.
Hillary's views on the current war:

[W]e confront a new enemy and a new kind of warfare. It's really the warfare of cowards. It's people who sneak around and blow themselves up or place bombs in cars, who have a philosophy of nihilism. You know, they may dress it up in a kind of perverse version of religion, but it's really about destruction and death. And it is imperative that we stand against them. Their warfare is not conducted by armies or navies but by criminals, by insurgents, by militias driven by this twisted hate. And it's been frustrating for many of us because we can't get the resources to match the rhetoric. We've got a lot of tough rhetoric out of Washington, but when it comes to paying overtime, getting you the equipment you need not the equipment they want to give you, providing the money directly to local communities and not passing it through the states. Well, we haven't gotten what we know you need to protect our country.

Well, the 2006 elections sent a strong message that we do not want our young men and women in uniform to be in the middle of a sectarian civil war, where they don't know who is shooting at them, and they can figure out whose side they're supposed to be on. We're trying to introduce some rationality in this, in the Congress, trying to stop the escalation because I profoundly believe that putting more of our young men and women into harm's way -- unless the Iraqis decide to defend themselves -- we cannot end this war for them. If they're not going to stand up and take responsibility, we should not lose another American life. We should end this escalation now.
And on the right to organize:
Make no mistake about it, the days of George Bush thinking the union bug is something he needs to squash are over.

We have a lot of work head of us, and we could get some small victories along the way until we finally get the majorities we need to completely have an agenda that we support in the Senate. They can still stop a lot of what we believe in, unfortunately, but we just have to keep electing more people who see the world the way we do. And we certainly will make a lot more progress when we take back the White House.

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