We should be focusing on the needs, aspirations, and challenges of Americans, not on divisive issues such as gay marriage that have no place in the political debate except to be mean-spirited, to discriminate, and to bring bias and prejudice. The needs of Katrina survivors are still unmet, gas prices continue to skyrocket, confusion on the prescription drug bill abounds, record deficits are spiraling out of control, and today the Washington Post reports that as many as 2.2 million military personnel were among the 26.5 million records mishandled and lost by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Americans on active-duty, many of them overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan, are now distracted with the threat of identity theft back home. House Democrats have called for an immediate investigation and review of the VA's security practices and how this breach happened, as well as introduced legislation protecting veterans and service members from identity theft and other harm.

Yesterday, Congressman Jim McCrery (R-LA), the Republicans' point person on Social Security, said that the first order of business in the new Congress in January will be to take up President Bush's Social Security privatization proposal. The American people rejected that plan overwhelmingly. Rubber stamping President Bush's failed Social Security privatization scheme simply reinforces the Republican record of failure and attention to the wrong priorities. Democrats have a new direction for the American people, and are working to strengthen Social Security and address the real concerns of everyday Americans.