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Progress For The American People

Progress For the American People

'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 activities in areas of broad, complex, and critical importance, all are truly impressive.'
- Norm Ornstein, Congressional Scholar, American Enterprise Institute, Roll Call, May 26, 2009

The 111th Congress has made historic progress, working with President Obama to take America in a New Direction.  We are working to turn our economy around and create good jobs, make common sense reforms and targeted investments, and build consensus around reforming health insurance to ensure stability and security and launching a clean energy economy that makes America stronger.  All these efforts are being tackled with fiscal discipline and accountability to the American people.

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE 111TH CONGRESS INCLUDE:

ECONOMIC RECOVERY AND CREATING JOBS
AMERICAN RECOVERY AND REINVESTMENT ACT, enacted in the first month of President Obama's term, to jumpstart our economy, create and save 3.5 million jobs, give 95% of American workers a tax cut, and begin to rebuild America's road, rail, and water infrastructure, with unprecedented accountability.  (Signed into Law)

HELPING FAMILIES SAVE THEIR HOMES ACT, building on the President's initiative to stem the foreclosure crisis, with significant incentives to lenders, servicers, and homeowners to modify loans. (Signed into Law)

EDWARD M. KENNEDY SERVE AMERICA ACT, tripling volunteerism opportunities to 250,000 for national service for students to retirees; creating new service corps for education, health care, energy and veterans; a Summer of Service for middle/high school students; increased college financial awards. (Signed into Law)

JOB CREATION THROUGH ENTREPRENEURSHIP ACT, to give established small businesses and entrepreneurial start-ups the needed tools and resources to thrive, create jobs and drive economic growth. (Passed by House)

INNOVATION AGENDA, investing $31 billion in science, technology, innovation and science education - including cutting-edge scientific research, advanced technologies for U.S. manufacturers, and preparing the innovation workforce to compete globally.  (Passed by House)

LABOR-HHS-EDUCATION APPROPRIATIONS, with targeted increases for key health, education and worker training initiatives, including NIH research, Pell Grants, Head Start and clean energy jobs. (Passed by House)

WATER QUALITY INVESTMENT ACT, to create an estimated 680,000 jobs over the next five years by launching clean water projects for families and communities across America.  (Passed by House)

SMALL BUSINESS INNOVATION AND RESEARCH ACT, to modernize the government's largest small business research and development programs, to create new jobs and fuel technological innovation.  (Passed by House)

AFFORDABLE QUALITY HEALTH CARE
HEALTH CARE REFORM, to lower costs to consumers, preserve and provide choice of doctors and health plans, ensure stability and peace of mind that coverage can't be delayed or denied, and ensure quality patient-centered care.  (Passed by 3  of 3 House Committees)

HEALTH CARE FOR 11 MILLION CHILDREN, to finally provide cost-effective health coverage for 4 million more children whose parents earn too little to provide their own insurance, but too much to qualify for Medicaid, and preserve coverage for 7 million children already enrolled.  (Signed into Law)

FDA REGULATION OF TOBACCO, granting the Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate the advertising, marketing, and manufacturing of tobacco products, the number-one cause of preventable death in America, with 1,000 children each day becoming new, regular smokers.  (Signed into Law)

FOOD SAFETY, landmark legislation to fundamentally change the way we protect the safety of our food supply; closing the gaps exposed by the recent string of food-borne illness outbreaks; giving the Food and Drug Administration new authorities, tools, and funding.  (Passed by House)

CLEAN ENERGY JOBS & CONSERVATION
AMERICAN CLEAN ENERGY AND SECURITY ACT, to create millions of jobs; reduce our dangerous dependence on foreign oil; reduce the carbon pollution causing climate change; keep costs low for Americans, with lower income Americans seeing no cost; with no increase to the deficit.  (Passed by House)

CASH FOR CLUNKERS, providing consumers with $3,500 to $4,500 vouchers to trade in an old vehicle for one with higher fuel efficiency - spurring the sale of up to 250,000 more fuel-efficient cars and trucks, creating jobs, and shoring up struggling car dealerships (included in the FY 2009 Supplemental).  (Signed into Law)

OMNIBUS PUBLIC LAND MANAGEMENT ACT, the most significant conservation bill in 15 years, boosting the economy and tourism at 160 mostly rural sites; with 2 million new acres of wilderness; 3 national park units; 1,000 miles of wild and scenic rivers; 1 National Monument; 3 National Conservation Areas.  (Signed into Law)

GREEN SCHOOL MODERNIZATION, to create nearly 140,000 jobs by providing investments to modernize, renovate, and repair school facilities, encouraging energy efficiency.  (Passed by House)

FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY
BUDGET BLUEPRINT, reflecting the President's plan to get the economy moving again, cutting taxes for most Americans by $1.5 trillion and creating jobs with targeted investments in health care, clean energy and education - cutting the Bush deficit by nearly 2/3 by 2013.  (Passed by House and Senate; Action Completed)

STATUTORY PAY AS YOU GO LAW, restoring the 1990s law that turned record deficits into record surpluses, by forcing tough choices -- requiring Congress to offset new policies that reduce revenues or expand entitlement spending or face across-the-board cuts in certain mandatory programs. (Passed by House)

APPROPRIATIONS BILLS, on time and under budget, making key investments in health care, clean energy, education, financial oversight, and science and innovation to get our economy moving.  These bills are $10 billion below the President's request, invest in strengthening oversight and rooting out waste, fraud, and abuse, and cut or eliminate more than 250 programs.  (Passed by House)

PROTECTING CONSUMERS AND TAXPAYERS
CREDIT CARDHOLDERS' BILL OF RIGHTS, providing tough new protections for consumers--including banning unfair rate increases, abusive fees, and penalties--and strengthening enforcement.   (Signed into Law)

FRAUD ENFORCEMENT AND RECOVERY ACT, providing tools to prosecute mortgage scams and corporate fraud that contributed to the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression; creating an outside commission to examine its causes.  (Signed into Law)

MILITARY PROCUREMENT REFORM, to crack down on Pentagon waste and cost overruns, which GAO says amount to $296 billion just for the 96 largest weapons systems, dramatically beefing up oversight of weapons acquisition, promoting greater use of competition, and curbing conflicts of interest.  (Signed into Law) 

STRENGTHENING OVERSIGHT OF TARP, to expand the authority of the TARP Special Inspector General, to help ensure taxpayers' funds are effectively used to get credit flowing to businesses and families.  (Signed into Law)

LILLY LEDBETTER FAIR PAY ACT, to restore the rights of women and other workers to challenge unfair pay--to help close the wage gap where women earn 78 cents for every $1 a man earns in America.  (Signed into Law)

MORTGAGE REFORM AND ANTI-PREDATORY LENDING ACT, to stop the predatory and irresponsible mortgage loan practices that played a major role in the current financial meltdown and to help ensure that the mortgage industry follows basic principles of sound lending and consumer protection.  (Passed by House)

EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION REFORM, to put an end to the perverse compensation practices that encourage executives to take excessive risk at the expense of their companies, shareholders, employees, and ultimately the American taxpayer--risks that contributed to the recent financial collapse.  This is the first step towards enacting President Obama's comprehensive financial regulatory reform plan.  (Passed by House)

FINANCIAL SERVICES APPROPRIATIONS, investing in key efforts to crack down on runaway financial excesses and rebuild regulatory protections for homeowners, investors and consumers by federal agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, and Consumer Product Safety Commission; and to strengthen Americans small businesses. (Passed by House)

PAY FOR PERFORMANCE ACT, to prohibit unreasonable or excessive compensation and non-performance-based bonuses for executives at companies receiving TARP funds.  (Passed by House) 

AIRLINE PASSENGER CONSUMER PROTECTIONS & SAFETY, to require contingency plans for long tarmac and flight delays, improve safety, and modernize air traffic control systems and infrastructure.  (Passed by House)

NATIONAL SECURITY/TROOPS AND VETERANS

FY 2009 SUPPLEMENTAL, for rest of FY 2009, providing our troops with everything they need to wind down the Iraq war, change strategy in Afghanistan; requiring a progress report; and making retroactive payments to 185,000+ service members whose enlistments were involuntarily extended since 9/11.  (Signed into Law)

TRANSFER OF NEW GI BILL BENEFITS TO CHILDREN OF FALLEN TROOPS, expanding New GI Bill benefits to cover the full cost of a college education for all children of fallen U.S. service members.  (Signed into Law)

BOLSTERING U.S. DIPLOMATIC ACTIVITIES, to strengthen national security by bolstering State Department resources to prevent conflict and failed states around the world.  (Passed by House) 

DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION, authorizing a 3.4% pay raise for our troops, strengthening military readiness, expanding support for military families such as health care and housing, focusing on our strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan and redeployment from Iraq, and military procurement reform. (Passed by House) 

MILITARY CONSTRUCTION-VETERANS ADMINISTRATION APPROPRIATIONS, strengthening quality health care for more than 5 million veterans by investing 15% more than 2009 for medical care, benefits claims processors, and facility improvements.  For the first time, includes advance appropriations for FY 2011 to provide reliable and timely funding. (Passed by House)

FAIR COMPENSATION FOR DISABLED MILITARY RETIREES, permitting veterans medically retired from active service to receive both military retirement and Veterans Disability Compensation.  (Passed by House)

SECURITY FOR AMERICA'S COMMUNITIES

PUTTING 50,000 COPS ON THE BEAT, authorizing $1.8 billion a year for COPS grants over the next five years, to put an additional 50,000 police officers on the street.  (Passed by House)

ENHANCING TRANSPORTATION SECURITY, to improve security for over 10 billion American mass transit trips each year - tripling resources for transit security. (Passed by House)

HOMELAND SECURITY APPROPRIATIONS, providing greater resources to strengthen security at our ports and on our borders, improve commercial airline safety, give police officers, firefighters and other first responders the tools to respond to a terrorist incident. (Passed by House)

HATE CRIMES PREVENTION ACT, to give law enforcement resources to prevent and prosecute hate crimes against Americans based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.  (Passed by House)