The exhibits referenced in the statement and the other witness testimony are available here. You can also watch the hearing live or view an archive webcast later at that link.
Today the Subcommittee holds the fourth in our series of hearings to
explore some of the causes and consequences of the financial crisis.
These hearings are the culmination of nearly a year and a half of
The freezing of financial markets and collapse of financial
institutions that sparked our investigation are not just a matter of
numbers on a balance sheet. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs,
their homes and their businesses in the recession that the crisis
sparked, the worst economic decline since the Great Depression. Behind
every number we cite are American families who are still suffering the
effects of a man-made economic catastrophe.
Last week a talented, young woman full of promise came to me with a flier her family received in the mail from the Republican Party. As she handed me the mailer, with a sense of disappointment and hurt, she pointed to a line in the flier that read, 'Let's take Betty Sutton out of the House and send her back to the kitchen.'
The young woman, her heart heavy, then said, "I can't believe that this is how some people value women. And, even if they do, I can't believe that they would feel comfortable promoting it in a flier like this." And then, this bright, capable woman, who I know to be ready and able to do great things for our community and nation, said this: "I don't know why I even went to college; if this is how people treat you, what's the point?"
On April 20th, Americans will observe Equal Pay Day -- the date that
marks the 110 extra days that women must work into 2010 in order to
equal what men earned in 2009.
Nearly half a century after Congress enacted the Equal Pay Act, too
many women in this country still do not get paid what men do for the
exact same work. On average, a woman makes only 77 cents for every
dollar that a man makes. The circumstances are even worse for Latinas
and women of color.
This is wrong and unjust. But, even more, it threatens the economic
security of our families. The fact is millions of Americans are
dependent on a woman's pay-check just to get by, put food on the table,
pay for child care, and deal with rising health care bills. Two-thirds
of mothers bring home at least a quarter of their family's earnings. In
many families, the woman is the sole breadwinner.
By any objective standard, marijuana prohibition is an abject failure.
Nationwide, U.S. law enforcement have arrested over 20 million American
citizens for marijuana offenses since 1965, yet today marijuana is more
prevalent than ever before, adolescents have easier access to marijuana
than ever before, the drug is more potent than ever before, and there
is more violence associated with the illegal marijuana trade than ever
Over 100 million Americans nationally have used marijuana despite
prohibition, and one in ten – according to current government survey
data – use it regularly. The criminal prohibition of marijuana has not
dissuaded anyone from using marijuana or reduced its availability;
however, the strict enforcement of this policy has adversely impacted
the lives and careers of millions of people who simply elected to use a
substance to relax that is objectively safer than alcohol. NORML
believes that the time has come to amend criminal prohibition and
replace it with a system of legalization, taxation, regulation, and
Among the many great benefits of the common-sense health reform
package we passed last month is a guarantee that finally in America,
being a woman is no longer a pre-existing condition. As we bring an end
to discriminatory policies like gender rating and begin to ensure
coverage for maternity, preventive, and wellness care, our health
legislation at long last puts our mothers' and sisters' and daughters'
health care on equal footing with our fathers' and brothers' and sons'.
It is time, now, with your help, to do the same for women's earnings.
We showed with health reform that we can still accomplish great things
in Congress, even if our party is forced to go it alone. I cannot think
of a better way to follow this historic success than finally signing
the Paycheck Fairness Act into law. Sign the petition today and tell my colleagues in the Senate to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act.
For more than 200 years the
United States Postal Service has connected Americans, facilitated
commerce and provided good paying jobs for millions of Americans. As a
result of postal workers' high level of service, the Postal Service has
become one of the most trusted organizations in America. But the Postal
Service's tradition of service is under more pressure than ever before
due to a financial crisis jeopardizing its viability for years to come.
In the last three years alone, mail volume has fallen off a cliff,
from 213 billion pieces in 2006 to 177 billion pieces in 2009, driving
down Postal Service revenues at a time when their health care and
pension obligations are increasing. In response to these problems, the
Postal Service has cut jobs through attrition and put many cost saving
measures into place to help address the issue. Unfortunately, a
comprehensive strategy or business model that puts the Postal Service
on a sustainable path has yet to be implemented.
To get to the bottom of this issue, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing last week
to examine the status of the Postal Service, and evaluate recent
reports from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the Postal
Service Inspector General and the Postal Service on short and long-term
strategies for the financial viability and stability of the USPS.
Do I have to respond to the 2010 census?
Yes, participation in the 2010 census is vital and required by law.
By being counted, you're helping your community secure the resources and representation it needs and deserves. Accurate data reflecting changes in your community are crucial in deciding how almost $450 billion in federal funding per year is allocated for projects like new hospitals, roads, job training centers, and schools. That's more than $4 trillion over a 10-year period. Census data also determine apportionment in the U.S. House of Representatives and state legislatures.
Today the Department of Health and Human Services Office of
the Inspector General released a new report on the Food and Drug
Administration’s inspections of domestic food facilities. Among its
findings, the report identifies significant weaknesses in FDA’s inspections
of food facilities, including the fact that FDA inspects less than a quarter of
food facilities each year, and that more than half of all food facilities have
gone five or more years without an FDA inspection.
The report shows what we have feared for too long: that that
our domestic food facilities are not being adequately inspected and FDA needs
additional authorities to keep the food on our tables safe. This is
unacceptable in our modern society and an important reminder that we must
provide FDA with the needed tools to properly inspect food facilities and
effectively react to problems in order to ensure the safety of the food
American families eat. Quite simply, picking up food at the grocery store
should not be a health risk.
At a time when party line bickering seems to have reached an all time high,
efforts to pass comprehensive food safety legislation have risen above
partisanship. In fact, our food safety bill passed out of the Senate HELP
Committee without a single ‘no’ vote and a similar bill passed in
the House with strong bipartisan support. This legislation is long
overdue and it is my hope that we can soon pass the FDA Food Modernization
Act of 2009 on the Senate floor in order to get the bill reconciled with
the House and on the President’s desk to be signed into law.
The author is chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee.
I’m worried about this year’s census.
I’m not worried about ACORN rigging the count – we already succeeded in kicking them out of the census. I’m not worried about the President’s attempt to run the census out of the White House – we beat that power grab back last year. I’m not even worried about privacy – this year’s 10-question census form is the shortest in memory.
No, what worries me is blatant misinformation coming from otherwise well-meaning conservatives. They are trying to do the right thing, but instead they are helping big government liberals by discouraging fellow conservatives from filling out their census forms.