Defense Bill Bolsters Military and Cares for Troops

The Defense Authorization Bill, H.R. 5122, is a good bill that covers numerous critical national security issues. I believe we have crafted a robust plan that will improve our military's capabilities to accomplish the full range of diverse 21st century missions, minimize risks associated with such challenges, and effectively engage in operations, when necessary, as far from American shores as possible.

House Budget Resolution Reflects Irresponsibility Rather Than Priority

The budget is supposed to be a reflection of our Nation's priorities, a statement about what we value as Americans. Yet, this budget leaves much to be desired.Like so many other bills we have considered this year, it represents a tragic missed opportunity. Given the many serious short comings in the budget, it is no surprise that it has taken the Republican Leadership so long to bring this budget resolution to a vote.

This reckless House Republican budget is both fiscally and morally irresponsible. As a Nurse and former educator, I am particularly concerned about the deep cuts to education and veteran's health care. Also troubling are the short sighted cuts to infrastructure projects and domestic disaster preparedness programs that are sorely needed in my district and across the country. These misplaced priorities truly embody the saying "penny wise and pound foolish."

After years of reckless tax cutting, chronic under funding of critical programs and record annual deficits, it would seem to be time for a new direction on budgetary matters. Unfortunately, the Republicans would rather run up record deficits and give away massive tax cuts to special interests and the wealthy rather than invest in the programs that would best serve and protect our nation. The harmful effects of these misguided cuts will be felt throughout our nation.

I urge my colleagues to reject this budget resolution and prove that you are committed to protecting funding for our nation's hard-working families, and not special interests.


Sarbanes-Oxley Highly Damaging to Small Businesses

Numerous studies show that the current implementation of the reporting provisions of Sarbanes-Oxley is highly damaging to small businesses—it makes capital more expensive, stifles growth, and ultimately reduces innovation. I cannot sit idly by if these are the consequences of our regulatory policies. Coming from a state like Michigan with a hard hit manufacturing sector, I can tell you this is no way for American business to remain internationally competitive.Every company in my district is complaining about the high cost of implementing these provisions. It is seriously disadvantaging them in the global marketplace, and at the same time it is not giving investors the information that they really need.


Criminals Should Not Benefit From Immigration Reform

I commend my colleagues in the Senate, especially Senators Cornyn, Kyl, Graham, Durbin and McCain, for demonstrating their strong and genuine commitment to moving comprehensive reform forward. This measure, which will limit permanent residency status for those who have been convicted of a felony or three misdemeanors, will treat individuals fairly by welcoming those who should be welcomed and excluding those who should be excluded. This morning’s unanimous vote was another major leap forward in our fight for tough but fair reform.


Do Not Hurt American Workers with Guest Worker Program

We need to recognize that guest worker programs, if not properly implemented, may hurt American workers. We also need to recognize that our success with regard to the temporary guest worker programs we now have, such as with regard to agricultural workers, has been mixed at best. We should not err on the side of extravagance in allocating these visas until we know how the program impacts American workers.There are a variety of jobs that may be filled by guest workers, from construction to hotel service, and we shouldn’t be placing American workers in these sectors in the position of competing with an unlimited number of guest workers.


Bush's Immigration Policy Possible Deja Vu of Iraq

If nothing else, the President's speech was good political theater. I am more than a little concerned that this was a quickly orchestrated plan thrown together solely to provide political cover. It had better not be a repetition of the Administration's post-conflict Iraq plan. Both situations are much too dangerous and serious to be planned with such little foresight.


Penalty for Part D Enrollees Should Be Eliminated

The Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit is a huge cost-saver for our seniors and I do not want people who listened to political criticism of the program to be penalized. I will join Nancy Johnson in the effort to allow Seniors to enroll penalty-free in the next enrollment period.


Protect The Rights of Artists in The Digital Age

The music industry has evolved from simple business models focused around the distribution of physical items such as compact discs to a dynamic digital marketplace where new business models evolve rapidly. The laws that set out the framework for the digital licensing of musical rights in this industry are outdated, and some say beyond repair. Digital music is the future of the music industry; the laws that enable this industry to operate need to look to the future as well.


D.C. Voting Rights-A Morally and Politically Worthy Cause

How often in politics do moral clarity and political considerations peacefully co-exist?  Legislation to be considered this week by my Government Reform Committee does exactly that.  The legislation corrects an historic wrong by finally granting the citizens of the Nation's Capital a voting voice in Congress.  By expanding the membership of the House to 437, the legislation creates room to give the District of Columbia a voting seat in the U.S. House -- and balances that out with an additional seat for the state next in line for representation (which happens to be Utah). 

That political balance -- Democratic D.C. and Republican Utah -- is key, and consistent with the balance (slave states and free state; Alaska and Hawaii) used throughout our history.  The legislation is also consistent with Congress's plenary power over D.C., as described in legal analyses done for our Committee by Ken Starr, Viet Dinh, and others.

Consumers Deserve To Pay True Cost for Gas

On May 3, the House passed the Federal Energy Price Protection Act of 2006, [HR:5253], a bill giving the Federal Trade Commission the authority to prosecute instances of price gouging in the market for gasoline, diesel fuel, crude oil, home heating oil and biofuels. The bill passed 389-34, with my support. I am well aware of the pain that my constituents are experiencing at the pump and they deserve to know that the price they pay for gasoline reflects its true cost.