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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 January, 2005, 10:25 GMT
Bush's second term: Key issues
Graphic showing an in tray and President Bush
As President George W Bush prepares for his second term in office, his in-tray is likely to be filling up with issues that need dealing with in the next four years. How has he dealt with them in the past and what has he promised to do about them in the future?

IRAQ
Record so far: US-led troops invaded Iraq in March 2003 and ousted Saddam Hussein. Power has been handed over to an interim government. Some 130,000 American troops remain in Iraq, where they face continuing attacks from insurgents. Plans: Mr Bush strongly supports the Iraqi elections on 30 January, which will create first a transitional government and later a fully constitutional one. The US would leave Iraq "once we've helped them to get on the path of stability and democracy".

WAR ON TERROR
Record so far: Mr Bush launched a military offensive in Afghanistan after 9/11. Three years later, US troops are still hunting Osama Bin Laden in the mountains of Afghanistan. The White House says al-Qaeda is on the run. Plans: The US will "persevere until the enemy is defeated". Mr Bush says he will "reach out to friends and allies... to defeat the terrorists and to encourage freedom and democracy as alternatives to tyranny and terror".

MIDDLE EAST
Record so far: Mr Bush has said he backs the roadmap international peace plan but has made only sporadic attempts to bring Israelis and Palestinians together. He sidelined Yasser Arafat and supported Israel's unilateral plan to withdraw from Gaza. Plans: Mr Bush is hoping that the newly elected Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas will lead his people in a more moderate direction. Mr Bush says Washington will "continue to work for a free Palestinian state that's at peace with Israel".

PROLIFERATION
Record so far: The US has taken part in six-way talks with North Korea about its nuclear programme and has warned Iran to halt uranium enrichment. The US is developing new weapons known as "mini-nukes". Plans: The White House has said it will use every resource available to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons. This includes diplomacy, economic pressure, law enforcement and even military force.

ENVIRONMENT
Record so far: Mr Bush withdrew from the Kyoto pact on global warming proposing instead tax incentives to encourage industry to reduce greenhouse gas output on a voluntary basis. Plans: He says the US is committed to reducing American greenhouse-gas intensity by 18% over the next 10 years. Mr Bush has also called for more funding for hydrogen fuel technology.

HOMELAND SECURITY
Record so far: Following 9/11, Mr Bush created the Department for Homeland Security, tripled the security budget and brought in the Patriot Act, with increased powers to monitor citizens and detain suspects. Plans: Following a bipartisan inquiry into failures leading up to 9/11, Mr Bush has said he will continue the reform of the intelligence agencies and support the creation of a post of national director of intelligence.

BUDGET
Record so far: When Bush took office in 2000 there was a budget surplus. Now there is a deficit of $413bn, partly fuelled by big tax cuts and increased security spending. Plans: The president says his proposals will lead to the deficit being halved by 2010. But critics say that making the tax cuts permanent will keep the deficit high.

SOCIAL SECURITY REFORM
Record so far: Mr Bush argues that as baby boomers retire, there is an urgent need to reform the social security system before it goes bankrupt in future decades. Plans: The president wants to allow younger people the option of paying a reduced social security tax. Instead they could save for retirement in a stock market account.

SUPREME COURT
Record so far: Mr Bush has not made appointments to the Supreme Court, but his lower court appointments suggest he favours constitutional conservatives. Plans: The president has said he will appoint the most capable justices if any vacany arises, but a conservative choice could lead to a big battle over nomination.

GAY MARRIAGE
Record so far: Mr Bush failed to get Congress to approve a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union exclusively between a man and a woman. Plans: Mr Bush remains committed to banning gay marriage but may not have the votes in Congress to get a constitutional ban passed this year.

STEM CELL RESEARCH
Record so far: The Bush administration has limited federal funding research using existing stem cell lines only. To do otherwise, he has argued, would be to violate the integrity of the embryo. Plans: Mr Bush is backing a proposal for a worldwide ban on all forms of human cloning, including what is known as therapeutic cloning, the use of embryonic stem cells to treat diseases.



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