The 111th Congress had a strong start and accomplished a great deal in the first five months. In a recent op-ed in Roll Call, Congressional scholar Norman Ornstein wrote: “This Congress has been as active and productive as any I can remember. The number of major bills passed and enacted into law, the serious, sustained activity in areas of broad, complex and critical importance, all are truly impressive.”
Our work, however, is far from over. This week, House Members returned from a very productive District Work Period, where Democrats held over 800 events to discuss with their constituents economic recovery efforts, health care reform, and clean energy. As we continue to address issues critical to rebuilding our Nation's economy, we will focus on two priorities of President Obama and the American people: health care reform and clean energy legislation. Our Committees are working hard and making great progress on both issues, and it is my hope that we can bring these bills to the Floor before August.
This week, President Obama's Council of Economic Advisers released a report
showing why the current American health care system is on an unsustainable path. The new study underscores this key point: health care reform is an economic imperative that is essential to our economic health and security. Democrats want health care reform that reduces costs while preserving patient choice of plan and doctors, and provides access to quality, affordable care. Achieving this objective will not be easy, but the benefits of reforming health care are too great to delay action any longer.
Next week, the House will consider “Cash for Clunkers” legislation, which provides incentives for consumers to purchase new, more fuel efficient vehicles while also bolstering the U.S. auto market, a critical component of our economy. We also expect to consider the Fiscal Year 2009 Supplemental Appropriations bill, funding military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Furthermore, we will take up the Foreign Relations Authorization Act and Pakistan Enduring Assistance and Cooperation Enhancement Act, which complement President Obama's new strategy for the Middle East and reinforce our strong commitment to national security.