House Passes Flurry of Legislation

With the House nearing debate on the Children's Health and Medicare Protection Act (CHAMP), the House has passed several important pieces of legislation by wide bipartisan margins in just the last few hours.

Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which passed 225-199.

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Speaker Pelosi’s remarks on passage: “Today, women earn only 77 cents for every dollar earned by men. And women earn less than men in nearly every occupation. The Ledbetter Fair Pay Act restores the ability of women and all workers who are protected by anti-discrimination and civil rights laws access to our judicial system to vindicate their rights when they have been harmed by discrimination. Equal pay for equal work is a fundamental value. The President should join the House on the side of all American workers in standing for pay equity and against discrimination.”

Darfur Accountability and Divestment Act, which passed 418-1.

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Sponsor Rep. Barbara Lee during debate: “Three years ago under the leadership of our good friend, Congressman Don Payne, Congress formally declared that the genocide was taking place in Darfur. Today the genocide is getting worse. I have witnessed this horror on three occasions in Darfur and let me tell you, it is getting worse. Mr. Speaker, many of us in a bipartisan effort have spoken out repeatedly on the Floor over the last three years in condemnation of the ongoing genocide in Darfur. These efforts have only intensified as we have sought to use each and every tool at our disposal to bring this genocide to an end.”

The Honest Leadership and Open Government Act, which passed 411-8.

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Speaker Pelosi’s remarks on passage: “Instrumental to this victory on behalf of the American people have been our new Members. They have led the way to make this the most honest and most open Congress in history. I thank them for their leadership and their commitment, and I want to acknowledge two of their representatives who are here today. Thank you for your leadership, Congresswoman Nancy Boyda of Kansas and Congressman Zack Space of Ohio.”

These bill are only a sampling of the legislation debated and passed already this week, and several more major pieces of legislation are being debated today and for the rest of the week. In addition, yesterday the House passed four critical pieces improving care for our veterans:

House Passes Four Bills Aimed at Helping Veterans
Associated Press – July 31, 2007

The House took steps yesterday to improve counseling and care for the tens of thousands of military personnel returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The measure, one of four veterans bills the House passed on voice votes, requires the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide outreach and mental health services to those who served in either campaign. The VA secretary is also directed to contract with community mental health centers in areas his agency does not adequately serve.

VA reported in April that one-third of veterans of the two wars have sought VA health care since fiscal 2002, and that mental disorders made up 37 percent of possible diagnoses among recent battlefield veterans.

Rep. Patrick Murphy (PA-08), an Iraq War veteran, spoke on the issue of homeless veterans and in support of the Veterans’ Health Care Improvement Act of 2007 sponsored by Rep. Michaud:

Rep. Murphy: “On any given night in America, nearly 200,000 veterans go homeless… And twice as many will go homeless over the course of the year… These brave American veterans — who once faced down our enemies — shouldn't have to face one more night out on the street.”