Re:Troop Pullout--Focus On Winning The War And Not On The Mid-Terms

According to recent news reports, Democrats have been up until all hours searching for a proposal for a position on the war on terror that will unify their party. Maybe they should focus on one that will secure Iraq and our troops-not just their electoral prospects.

Dividing The Country Will Not Lead To Victory In Iraq

Instead of offering a blueprint for success, the Bush Administration has used the Iraq debate to attack Democrats for wanting to cut and run. This may be a way to divide the country, but it's not a strategy for success in Iraq. For the good of not only the Iraqi people but the American people, 2006 must be a year of significant transition. We must clarify that our policy in Iraq is to redeploy our forces beginning this year, addressing the significant strain on our land forces, refocusing attention and resources on the global war on terror, and increasing our strategic flexibility to confront other challenges.

The amendment that Senator Levin and I are offering sends the Iraqi leaders a clear message that they must achieve meaningful political solutions in a timely manner. This is not about a date certain. This is about getting the president to do the job correctly, something he has failed to do for the last three years and three months.

No Room For Error With Nuclear Energy

Since President Bush has proposed new nuclear development as a signature part of his energy policy, we must ensure that the NRC's safety procedures are foolproof and that they deter future incidents. Since the Reactor Oversight Process was implemented in 2000, safety inspections found that plants or employees had failed to comply with safe operating procedures in over 4,000 instances. And while many of those incidents were classified as "green," under this system, green doesn't mean all clear - it means that a plant or an employee failed to meet the NRC's safety standards.


Cutting The Cobwebs For The National Guard

The momentum that the National Guard empowerment issue has been gaining in the Senate and the House has several explanations, but one is the deeply personal experience of lawmakers who have personally encountered the bureaucratic cobwebs that the Guard has to contend with in order to perform its many and varied missions.

Monday morning's CongressDaily gives a glimpse of that. Writer George Wilson recaps an interview with Congressman Gene Taylor of Mississippi, who lost his own house to Katrina. Congressman Taylor recounts calling General Blum, chief of the National Guard Bureau, asking for help for his desperate constituents. If it was up to General Blum, the Guard's help would immediately have been on its way. But under the Guard's stepchild relationship with the Pentagon, General Blum had to work it through Army channels to get the Army's permission to help. Congressman Taylor contrasts that call with his appeal to the Navy, which was answered instantly.


The War Has Gone Against Every Conservative Principle I Know

Since the beginning, I have thought that this war went against every traditional conservative principle I know. Millions of conservatives across this Nation believe this war was unconstitutional, unaffordable and worst of all, unnecessary.

Spreading The Message--Patient Access To Quality Healthcare

As a physician for over 25 years, I've seen our health care delivery system change in significant ways. Some changes, like medical breakthroughs and prescription drug availability, have been wonderful. Some changes, though, have left patients with less flexibility and higher costs - this is clearly an area in need of improvement. Consequently, I recently introduced H. Res. 876 calling for greater patient empowerment and choice in healthcare decisions. Reforming our health care system is much easier said than done. Of the numerous ideas and proposals out there, we must adhere to fundamental principles as we move forward. The paramount tenet of all healthcare is that medical decisions must be made by patients and their doctors.


The DOER Act is a Good Compromise on Energy

Roughly two dozen OCS (Outer Continental Shelf)-related energy bills have been introduced in this Congress. The Deep Ocean Energy Resources (DOER) Act is a hybrid of these bills, making it the most comprehensive, balanced and forward-thinking approach proposed to date. The current one-size-fits-all federal framework locks away massive amounts of desperately-needed energy resources and will not withstand the pressures of economic necessities much longer. It does not allow states that wish to produce off-shore energy for the nation the ability to do so, nor does it give states that wish to continue off-shore production bans any real assurance they will be able to so for the long term. The DOER Act is a commonsense compromise that rectifies this imbalance. It creates a flexible framework that balances the interests of different states by putting the states themselves in the driver's seat with unprecedented authority over their coastal resources.  Energy is the lifeblood of our economy.  Producing more American energy creates more American jobs, lowers prices for consumers, and strengthens our economy- goals all Members of Congress fight to achieve together.

Bringing To Veterans The Treatment They Have Earned

As the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs Health Subcommittee, I feel strongly that we must address the unique challenges that rural veterans face in accessing health care. Nationwide, more than 44 percent of recent U.S. military recruits come from rural areas, while across the country, one in five veterans who is enrolled to receive VA health care lives in a rural area. Veterans who live in rural settings are often older and have more physical and mental health diseases as compared to veterans who live in suburban or urban settings, and often lack access to high-quality medical services. The Rural Veterans Health Care Act would help address the unique challenges that our rural veterans face by increasing the number of facilities in rural areas and the amount of outreach that goes directly to rural veterans through mobile Vet Centers; encouraging recruitment and training of health care professionals in rural areas by instituting new programs and medical rotations; focusing on research related to the needs of rural veterans by establishing four Rural Health Research, Education, and Clinical Care Centers; and helping to develop the IT infrastructure needed to enhance services in rural areas. These are important steps that will make meaningful differences in the lives of rural veterans and help them to access the care that they have earned.

Closing Off A Pathway To Identity Theft

Having a social security number visible on a health care or identification card poses an unnecessary risk to an individual’s personal information. My bill would remove that threat from ever being realized. With all the technological advances we have these days, there’s no need to put Americans’ personal information in jeopardy. Why not remove these risks and protect people when and where you can?

If They Can't Find A Letter, How Can They Find A Terrorist?

The mysterious appearance of this letter, which details Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham looking to secure a contract for Shirlington Limousine with the Department of Homeland Security, on the day after the hearing and after intense media scrutiny would lead even the most trusting person to wonder what else is lurking in the catacombs of the DHS. This is all a bit too convenient. I can promise that this investigation will go forward and we will hold the top leaders of this Department accountable. If we can't trust them to find a letter, how can we trust them to find a terrorist?