Op-Eds

Welcoming the 110th Congress

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Washington, December 13, 2006 | comments

As the 109th Congress comes to an end, I can’t help but think of the progress we have made during these past two years. I have supported legislation and introduced amendments that are beneficial to all. We have been able to assist many communities, including schools, police departments, and the agricultural sector. I have also shown my commitment to our veterans, seniors, and students by providing them with the necessary tools they need for a better life.

During my tenure, I worked to amend legislation that has helped middle class Americans. My amendment to the College Access and Opportunity Act of 2005 ensured that students in certification programs are to be eligible for the Pell Grant Plus program. Additionally, I amended HR 4157, the Health Information Technology Promotion Act of 2005. My amendment required that the Health Information Technology grant program emphasize on the priority of improving access, coordination, and provision of health care to the uninsured, underinsured, and medically underserved in rural and urban areas.

I have also introduced amendments that address the issues of drug trafficking, border violence, and safety. I introduced an amendment to HR 2829, the Office of National Drug Control Policy Reauthorization Act of 2005, requiring the Director of National Drug Control Policy to study the specific impact on citizens of the United States of violence related to drug-trafficking along the international border between the United States and Mexico. My amendment to the Gang Deterrence and Community Protection Act of 2005 authorized the FBI National Gang Intelligence center, in order to keep our communities safe. I also amended the Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005 (which was eventually passed into law), which authorized $10 million for each fiscal year from 2006 through 2009 for the establishment and operation of the United States-Mexico Border Violence Task Force in Laredo.

Although much has been accomplished, there is always work to be done. I will proudly continue to work hard in order to ensure that the interests of my constituents are well represented. While we celebrate this success, we must also prepare ourselves for the upcoming Congressional term.

Much lies ahead of my colleagues and me in Washington. As I look ahead on the 110th Congress, I see an opportunity to raise the minimum wage, cut interest rates on student loans, and require Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices. All of these plans have strong bipartisan support, and I will vote in favor of these proposals in order to ensure a better way of life for middle class working families.

My fellow Democrats and I have gained control of both chambers of Congress; however, I believe that in order to ensure a prosperous nation, both parties must work together to successfully represent the needs of the American people. The best way to produce results is to set labels aside and work in a bipartisan manner. Once again, I pledge to all those who reside in my district my devotion to securing a better quality of life, providing a safer community, and making the American dream an even more desirable and attainable concept.

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