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A New Direction for America: The 110th Congress makes bipartisan progress

New Direction


SIGNED INTO LAW BY THE PRESIDENT THIS WEEK:

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A suspension of filling the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, finally forcing the President to take action he had previously opposed to combat record gas prices.

HEADED FOR THE PRESIDENT'S DESK WITH VETO-PROOF BIPARTISAN SUPPORT:

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The new Farm Bill, expanding nutrition assistance to 38 million Americans who cannot afford higher food prices and helping ensure national and international food security for years to come.

THE HOUSE HAS JUST SENT TO THE PRESIDENT'S DESK:

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The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, prohibits health insurance companies and employers from discriminating on the basis of genetic test results. Proponents have been fighting for this bill for 13 years.

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The Highway Jobs Bill allows the completion of critical highway and transit projects outlined in the 2005 highway bill, helping create 40,000 new, good-paying American jobs in transportation and construction.

THIS WEEK, FINAL PASSAGE IS EXPECTED IN THE HOUSE AND SENATE OF:

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A fiscally responsible Budget that better reflects the priorities of Americans--the first budget agreement reached in an election cycle since 2000 (Budget Resolution).

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Tax relief for military families to lessen the significant economic hardships of extended military deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.

THE HOUSE HAS JUST PASSED:

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Landmark Housing Legislation which begins to restore the long term health of our economy with the most comprehensive response yet to the American mortgage crisis.

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A new GI Bill for a full, four-year education, to make the heroes of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan part of a new American economic recovery, just like after World War II (Supplemental Bill).

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A New Direction for the war in Iraq, requiring responsible redeployment and a ban on torture (Supplemental Bill).

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Extended Unemployment Insurance to the growing number of Americans looking for work (Supplemental Bill).

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The OPEC and Big Oil companies accountability bill to combat record gas prices by authorizing lawsuits against oil cartel members for oil price fixing, and creating a an Antitrust Task Force to crack down on oil companies engaged in anticompetitive behavior or market manipulation.

THIS WEEK, THE HOUSE IS EXPECTED TO PASS:

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The Defense Authorization Bill to strengthen our military readiness and ensure that our troops receive a pay raise and the benefits they deserve.

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The Renewable Energy and Job Creation Act of 2008 to extend and expand tax incentives for renewable energy to retain and create hundreds of thousands of green jobs, spur American innovation and business investment, cut taxes for millions of Americans, and close loopholes allowing U.S. corporations to avoid taxes by off shoring.

SIGNED INTO LAW OR ACCOMPLISHED THIS YEAR:

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The Economic Stimulus Bill, puts hundreds of dollars of Recovery Rebates into the hands of more than 130 million American families, including seniors and disabled veterans -to reinvigorate the economy; promote small business investment and help create 500,000 jobs by the end of the year.

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The Ensuring Continued Access to Student Loans Act, providing students and families with continued, uninterrupted access to federally guaranteed student loans, despite the current credit crisis. With college students now finalizing their financial aid packages for next year, enactment of this bill is timely.

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The Omnibus Public Lands Bill, providing new protections for national parks, historic sites and trails, wilderness and key water resources from coast to coast.

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The Traumatic Brain Injury Act of 2008 reauthorizing and improving Traumatic Brain Injury programs at the Department of Health and Human Services, which fund prevention, education, research and services. The thousands of brain injury survivors who are returning home from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan are joining the 5.3 million similarly aff ected Americans here at home.

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The Newborn Screening Saves Lives Act significantly expanding screening of newborn babies for congenital, genetic and metabolic disorders to build towards screening of all newborns.

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Improved Background Checks for Gun Purchases, boosting the accuracy of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) by giving grants to states to share the records of those barred from purchasing a firearm under the 1968 Gun Control Act.

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The Creation of an Office of Congressional Ethics, an historic new offi ce within the House of Representatives, providing an independent review of alleged ethics violations by Members of Congress (Established in H.Res. 895).

SIGNED INTO LAW OR ACCOMPLISHED IN 2007:

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The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which cuts America's dependence on foreign oil, increases fuel efficiency standards, lowers energy costs, and combats global warming.

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9/11 Commission Recommendations, making America safer by giving the recommendations of the bipartisan 9/11 Commission the force of law.

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The largest Veterans' Health Care Funding Increase in American history, to meet the growing needs of returning troops.

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The first Minimum Wage Increase in a decade.

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The largest College Aid Expansion since the GI Bill in 1944, cutting student loan interest rates in half and increasing Pell Grants.

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An Innovation Agenda, that puts on a path to doubling investment in basic R&D and provides scholarships to create a math and science teacher corps.

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Fiscal Responsibility, with a return to “pay as you go” budget discipline in the rules of the House.

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Sweeping Lobbying and Ethics Reform, breaking the link between lobbyists and legislation, and requiring historic transparency.