Op-Eds

What's New in 2011

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Washington, December 27, 2010 | Lesley Lopez ((202) 225-1640) | comments
  Dear Friends and Neighbors in the 28th District,
    Over the past twelve months, the 111th Congress has been incredibly productive, with major legislation that will reduce wasteful government spending, enhance border security, make education more affordable and keep our communities safer and healthier.

Just last week, my bill to reduce government waste and create a system for performance-based budgeting, the Government Efficiency, Effectiveness, and Performance Improvement Act,  was passed and will soon be signed into law by the president. This legislation is the biggest sweeping budgeting reform in 17 years and requires agencies to establish performance goals that can be measured and reported to Congress and taxpayers. 

It’s time that we put a new system in place to review the results of each federal program and evaluate its effectiveness. Frankly, it’s time that taxpayers can see where their money is going.

 It took a bipartisan effort to get this bill passed and I look forward to working with Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) next year, to make sure we are implementing the necessary changes to save taxpayers dollars.

Americans will also save money in 2011 with the passage of my bill that requires the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to assess how effectively federal homeland security grants have increased national security, H.R. 3980. Every penny counts and wasteful spending is especially shameful if it decreases the efficiency of our efforts to keep our nation secure.

Our country will also be safer now that $600 million has been appropriated for Texas-Mexico border security.  As the Chairman of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border, Maritime and Global Counterterrorism and as a life-long resident of South Texas, nothing is more important to me than making sure our communities are safe and thriving. That’s why I worked hard to get two unmanned aerial vehicles to patrol the Texas-Mexico border. As violence persists across the Rio Grande, we cannot pause in our ability to detect, deter and disrupt the illegal activity and these ‘eyes in the sky’ will help law enforcement at all levels. The $600 million also provided funding for 1,200 additional Border Patrol agents, 500 additional CBP officers, and additional FBI, DEA, and ATF agents.

South Texans will have greater access to health care next year, after the passage of the Affordable Care Act. The new law prohibits insurance plans both from denying coverage for children based on a pre-existing condition, outlaws lifetime limits and requires insurance plans to allow young people up to their 26th birthday to remain on their parents’ insurance plan. It also strengthens Medicare and lowers seniors’ prescription drug costs.

We also passed the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, making the largest investment in college aid in history – increasing Pell Grants, making college loans more affordable, and strengthening community colleges.

South Texans will also have more money in their pocket in 2011 after we in Congress voted to extend tax cuts. These cuts will also help generate economic growth by making available to job-creating small businesses the capital to expand and invest in new ventures

The 112th Congress will be a different environment and I really look forward to working toward bipartisan solutions with my peers from both parties and making  sure these cost-cutting measures are fully implemented.



Happy Holidays,

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Congressman Henry Cuellar 

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