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A New Direction for America

New Direction


Americans are calling for a New Direction after years of inaction and incompetence on the toughest challenges: a costly war without an end; skyrocketing fuel prices without a plan for energy security; a housing crisis which threatens to force more families from their homes. All have pushed us to the brink of recession.

The New Direction Congress moved quickly to address the downturn and rebuild our economy. With bipartisan support and unprecedented speed, we enacted an economic stimulus plan that put Recovery Rebates in the hands of 130 million American households and will help create 500,000 jobs. We extended Unemployment Insurance to the growing number of Americans looking for work … made healthy food affordable to millions of Americans … launched a new GI Bill for a full, four-year education for veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan … and enacted a comprehensive rescue package for the housing foreclosure crisis dragging down our economy.

We are working now to combat record prices at the pump … and help restore consumer confidence by protecting our children from toxic toys.

We are building on a strong record.

We made America more secure … by making the 9/11 Commission recommendations the law of the land to protect Americans and fight terrorism with cargo container and airline screening, security funding distributed on the basis of risk not politics, and improved first responder communications … and by reducing global warming and our dependence on foreign oil with an historic Energy Independence law that improves vehicle fuel efficiency for the first time in 32 years and makes an historic commitment to American-grown bio-fuels.

We helped put the American Dream back within reach
… with the first minimum wage increase in a decade … the largest college aid expansion in six decades … and a national science, technology, math, and engineering teacher corps to spur innovation across our economy.

We met our commitments … with the largest increase in funding for veterans' health care in history … overdue aid to the Gulf Coast recovering from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita … landmark ethics reform … the first election-year budget agreement in 8 years … and a new commitment to fiscal responsibility.

We have listened to Americans who demanded a New Direction in Iraq--but our efforts have been resisted again and again. The cost to our troops and their families, our military readiness, our ability to defeat terrorism, our reputation in the world … and our economy … has been staggering.

The New Direction Congress must and will do more. It's time for change.

ECONOMIC RECOVERY
red star Recovery Rebates to jumpstart economy, help Americans with rising costs SIGNED INTO LAW
red star Extended Unemployment benefits for 3.5 million Americans SIGNED INTO LAW
red star First increase in the minimum wage in a decade SIGNED INTO LAW
red star Retaining and creating 380,000 good-paying jobs by meeting shortfall in Highway Trust Fund PASSED HOUSE
red star Authorizing completion of key highway projects, creating 40,000 good-paying jobs SIGNED INTO LAW
red star Farm Bill with historic new investments in nutrition, energy, and conservation, and launching reforms to farm payments to reflect farmer need VETO OVERRIDDEN BY CONGRESS, ENACTED INTO LAW
red star Terrorism risk insurance extension, aiding economic growth SIGNED INTO LAW
red star Closing tax loopholes for companies that ship American jobs or investment off shore PASSED HOUSE
   
HOUSING FORECLOSURE CRISIS
red star Comprehensive housing foreclosure crisis bill, preventing families from losing their homes and their neighbors from losing value in their homes, and creating a federal backstop and tough, independent regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which hold half the nation's mortgage debt SIGNED INTO LAW
red star Helping states/localities purchase foreclosed homes, stabilizing communities SIGNED INTO LAW
red star Tax credit for first-time homebuyers, and property tax deduction for non-itemizers SIGNED INTO LAW
red star Reform of the Federal Housing Administration, expanding access to affordable mortgages, and to “reverse mortgages” for seniors who need equity from their homes SIGNED INTO LAW
red star Stopping tax on “income” when lender forgives part of mortgage in foreclosure SIGNED INTO LAW
red star Creating an Affordable Housing Trust Fund for rental housing SIGNED INTO LAW
   
EDUCATION AND COMPETITIVENESS
red star Largest college aid expansion since the GI Bill in 1944, cutting college loan rates in half SIGNED INTO LAW
red star Uninterrupted access to low-cost student loans, despite credit crunch SIGNED INTO LAW
red star Giving colleges incentives to rein in tuition increases and expand access for low-income students ON WAY TO PRESIDENT'S DESK
red star Cleaning up abuses in the student loan industry ON WAY TO PRESIDENT'S DESK
red star Innovation agenda creating a math/science teacher corps; doubling research funding SIGNED INTO LAW
red star Extended tax cut for innovative research & development PASSED HOUSE
red star Head Start preschool improved and expanded SIGNED INTO LAW
red star Key investments in education VETOED BY PRESIDENT
   
REDUCING TAXES
red star A tax cut for 19 million middle-income American families facing the AMT in 2007 SIGNED INTO LAW
red star A tax cut for 25 million middle-income American families facing the AMT in 2008 PASSED HOUSE
red star Internet tax moratorium extension SIGNED INTO LAW
red star Extended tax cuts for homeowners, families with children, college students, teachers PASSED HOUSE
   
AMERICAN WORKERS
red star Minimum wage increased for the first time in a decade, 2nd phase this month SIGNED INTO LAW
red star Extending & improving help for workers who lose jobs to foreign competition PASSED HOUSE
red star Strengthening the Equal Pay Act by providing more effective remedies PASSED HOUSE
red star Rectifying a Supreme Court decision to allow workers to pursue pay discrimination claims PASSED HOUSE
red star Prohibiting employment discrimination based on sexual orientation PASSED HOUSE
red star Collective bargaining rights for first responders PASSED HOUSE
red star Free choice for workers to choose their own bargaining representative PASSED HOUSE
red star Reversing Supreme Court decisions that had weakened Americans with Disabilities Act PASSED HOUSE
   
AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE
red star Health care coverage for 10 million American children VETOED BY PRESIDENT
red star Expansion of life-saving stem cell research to cure or prevent chronic diseases VETOED BY PRESIDENT
red star Key investments in health care VETOED BY PRESIDENT
red star Ensuring 44 million American seniors and people with disabilities have access to doctors they know and trust VETO OVERRIDDEN BY CONGRESS, ENACTED INTO LAW
red star Ban on genetic information discrimination in health coverage SIGNED INTO LAW
red star Ending discriminatory treatment of mental health care coverage PASSED HOUSE AND SENATE
red star Medicare required to negotiate cheaper drugs for seniors and disabled Americans PASSED HOUSE
red star Blocking $18 billion cut in health care for low-income children & seniors SIGNED INTO LAW
red star Making America healthier by providing FDA regulation of tobacco PASSED HOUSE
   
NATIONAL SECURITY
red star 9/11 Commission terrorism recommendations given force of law SIGNED INTO LAW
red star Investments to begin to fix the military readiness crisis SIGNED INTO LAW
red star Iraq benchmarks, progress reports required SIGNED INTO LAW
red star Providing for responsible redeployment of U.S. troops from Iraq VETOED BY PRESIDENT
red star Extending ban on torture to U.S. intelligence personnel VETOED BY PRESIDENT
red star Tighter foreign investment rules, after Dubai Ports scandal SIGNED INTO LAW
   
TROOPS AND VETERANS
red star New GI Bill to give free college education to Iraq and Afghanistan veterans SIGNED INTO LAW
red star Largest veterans' health care funding increase in history SIGNED INTO LAW
red star Wounded Warrior Act, improving health care after Walter Reed scandal SIGNED INTO LAW
red star Major pay raise for troops SIGNED INTO LAW
red star tax relief for military families SIGNED INTO LAW
   
ENERGY INDEPENDENCE AND GLOBAL WARMING
red star Landmark Energy Independence law: first new fuel efficiency standards in 32 years, historic commitment to bio-fuels SIGNED INTO LAW
red star Extending and expanding tax incentives to invest in clean, renewable energy PASSED HOUSE
red star Historic new support for non-food bio-fuels in the Farm Bill VETO OVERRIDDEN BY CONGRESS, ENACTED INTO LAW
red star Directing the President to lower gas prices by suspending deposits to the government's oil stockpile (Strategic Petroleum Reserve) SIGNED INTO LAW
red star Further close 'Enron-like Loophole' to curb excessive petroleum speculation PASSED HOUSE
red star Holding OPEC and Big Oil accountable for price fixing PASSED HOUSE AND SENATE
red star Cracking down on price gouging by oil companies PASSED HOUSE AND SENATE
red star Greening the Capitol, making Congress carbon neutral ENACTED BY HOUSE
red star Reducing public transit fares and expanding service for commuters pinched at the pump PASSED HOUSE
   
REBUILDING AMERICA
red star Aid to the Gulf Coast recovering from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita SIGNED INTO LAW
red star Major new commitment to flood control & environmental restoration projects VETO OVERRIDDEN BY CONGRESS, ENACTED INTO LAW
red star Omnibus Public Lands Bill, with new protections for national parks, wilderness, historic sites, trails, and water resources from coast to coast SIGNED INTO LAW
red star Modernizing and improving Amtrak and other inter-city passenger rail for energy efficiency PASSED HOUSE AND SENATE
   
CONSUMER PROTECTION
red star Most sweeping FDA drug safety provisions in more than a decade SIGNED INTO LAW
red star Banning toxic toys and children's products from China and other countries and toughening enforcement of the Consumer Product Safety Commission ON WAY TO PRESIDENT'S DESK
red star Passenger Bill of Rights for airline travelers PASSED HOUSE
   
FIGHTING CRIME
red star Improved background checks for gun purchases SIGNED INTO LAW
red star 3,000 New Border Patrol Officers SIGNED INTO LAW
red star Saved the critical COPS program, proposed for elimination by the President SIGNED INTO LAW
red star Tools and resources to prevent and prosecute hate crimes PASSED BY HOUSE
   
FISCAL DISCIPLINE
red star Pay-as-you-go budget discipline ADOPTED IN HOUSE RULES
red star A fiscally responsible budget that balances by 2012 and invests in key priorities PASSED BY HOUSE AND SENATE, NO PRESIDENTIAL ACTION REQUIRED
red star Cracking down on “no-bid” contracts PASSED BY HOUSE AND SENATE
red star Prohibiting profiteering by U.S. contractors operating in war zones PASSED BY HOUSE
red star Requiring mandatory fraud reporting for U.S. contractors PASSED BY HOUSE
   
RESTORING ACCOUNTABILITY
red star Widely-acclaimed landmark lobbying and ethics reform SIGNED INTO LAW
red star New historic independent Office of Congressional Ethics ADOPTED IN HOUSE RULES
red star Banning pensions for Members of Congress convicted of certain crimes SIGNED INTO LAW
red star Strengthening Freedom of Information Act for government transparency SIGNED INTO LAW
red star U.S. Attorney appointments depoliticized SIGNED INTO LAW
red star Reducing enormous backlog in passport processing SIGNED INTO LAW
red star Closing offshore tax loopholes for federal contractors SIGNED INTO LAW
red star Whistleblower protections strengthened PASSED BY HOUSE AND SENATE
red star Strengthening independence of federal Inspectors General PASSED BY HOUSE AND SENATE
red star Holding private security firms in war zones accountable for criminal actions PASSED BY HOUSE
red star Withholding federal contracts from tax-delinquent companies PASSED BY HOUSE
red star Closing off shore tax loopholes for federal contractors PASSED BY HOUSE
red star Requiring more transparency by companies that rely on federal contracts PASSED BY HOUSE
red star Requiring standards for the preservation of White House and federal agency e-mails PASSED BY HOUSE