"Tonight our nation listened as the President offered his ideas for the future of America. Sitting in the House chamber, I felt blessed to live in a country where a vision for our common future is shared openly, and where we come together to debate and discuss how to move our country forward.

This is the America that our men and women in uniform are risking their lives to protect every day.

But as we gathered tonight, our nation confronts ongoing challenges. We face a still floundering economy that has failed to create or sustain jobs. We face an unfinished effort in Iraq and Afghanistan, on top of ongoing efforts to protect our homeland. Our seniors want to know that they will be able to afford their prescription drugs, and our soldiers need to know that they will have the services they require when they return from their dangerous missions abroad.

Unfortunately, in the face of these struggles, the President's speech is out of step with the needs of Washington state and of millions of Americans.

The President speaks very eloquently about how we can continue to have it all – massive tax cuts and more spending -- while protecting our homeland, leaving no child behind, and providing access to quality health care. But as we have seen in the past, actions speak louder than words.

The President's proposals for the coming year show a glaring gap between his words and priorities.

In his fiscal year 2005 budget, the President will underfund No Child Left Behind -- his own signature education reform -- by over $8 billion. These numbers will have real consequences for nearly 5 million children nationwide who will be denied better teachers, smaller classes and extra help in math, science and reading. Further, I am disappointed that the President continues to ignore the needs of our high school students, including those who need help with literacy skills and navigating a successful path through graduation, post-secondary education and careers.

The President's budget will also require some veterans to pay more for health care. It is one thing to deliver speeches and talk about service, sacrifice, and country, but quite another to ensure that our veterans can actually get in to see a doctor.

I will stand shoulder to shoulder with the President when it comes to giving our troops the resources they need to conduct their dangerous missions, but as the daughter of a World War II veteran, I want to know that these men and women will be cared for when they return home.

The State of the Union Address is an opportunity to clearly state our nation's priorities. And, particularly in times of sacrifice, it should reflect the needs of the American people.

For the state of our union to be strong, we need to invest in Americans. That means investing in job growth and giving workers the tools they need to succeed. It means investing in our future by fully funding our commitment to America's schools. It means ensuring the safety of our ports and borders. And it means standing up for the men and women who risk their lives to protect us.

I will continue to speak out for the families and communities that are struggling at home in Washington state. By working together to focus on our national priorities today we will ensure that the state of our union is strong now and for the future."