A Record of Accomplishment

As Chairman of the HELP Committee for the last two years, my goal has been clear – securing a lifetime of opportunity at school, at work, and at home for American families. I have worked to improve health care quality and expand access to care, ensure lifelong opportunities for education and training, promote a workplace environment that encourages responsibility and safety, and ensure that Americans are secure in their retirements.

With the help of very active and knowledgeable Committee members, we compiled an impressive list of accomplishments in the 109th Congress: 57 oversight hearings held, 37 bills and 352 nominations reported favorably out of Committee, 23 bills approved by the Senate, and 14 bills signed into law by President Bush.

Despite a period of intense partisan wrangling, we made progress on critical legislation, much of which had been stalling for years:
- We secured the retirements of millions of Americans by passing the Pension Protection Act into law – the first major revision to pension laws in 30 years.
- We passed the Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act into law to promote the use of new technologies to improve mine safety and save lives – the first revision to mine safety laws in 28 years.
- We expanded opportunities for lifelong learning by modernizing and improving upon the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, reauthorizing the YouthBuild program, extending provisions of the Higher Education Act (HEA), and authoring provisions of the Deficit Reduction Act that yielded $15.5 billion in savings AFTER helping college students by reauthorizing many components of HEA.
- We took important steps toward improving health care quality and patient safety, reducing costs, expanding access, and increasing accountability by passing the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act, the Patient Navigator Outreach and Chronic Disease Prevention Act, the Medical Device User Fee Stabilization Act, the Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act, the National All Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting Act, the State High Risk Pool Funding Extension Act, legislation to extend voluntary service to the National Foundation for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and bill to save eyesight by allowing the FDA to regulate Contact Lenses as Medical Devices.
- We reported Small Business Health Plan (SBHP) legislation out of committee and received 55 votes in support on the floor of the Senate – the first time an SBHP bill has made it past the committee level in the Senate.

We made considerable progress in a number of other areas, including drug safety, health information technology, the Workforce Investment Act, and Head Start. I believe that our efforts will pave the way for long-term legislative solutions in the near future.

We set high standards in the HELP Committee during the 109th Congress, and I look forward to building on these accomplishments to achieve even more success in the 110th Congress.