What Do the Democrats Stand For?
After endless foot-dragging, watering down, and turning of blind eyes in the 109th Congress on ethics, the first steps were taken to restore the public trust before the first legislative hour of the 110th Congress.
The two and a half years that Republicans spent ignoring most of the 9/11 Commission's recommendations came to an end with the passage of H.R. 1, as the Democratic majority set dozens of changes in motion for a comprehensive, effective, practical defense of our nation by passing the 9/11 Commission recommendations.
After a decade of Republican inaction, hard-working Americans got the raise they deserve when we voted for H.R. 2, increasing the minimum wage. No longer will a day's work barely pay for a tank of gas, nor a week's work barely pay for a child's check-up at the doctor. All who work a 40-hour week will now have a fairer shot at building a life and joining in our nation's prosperity.
We gave voice to the hopes of millions of Americans and their families who suffer the brunt of humanity's worst afflictions by passing expanded stem cell research with H.R. 3. President Bush will be challenged to join us in supporting this hope, and he will know that we cast our votes in support of the majority of the American people who will not give up. The potential for stem cell therapies to cure diseases and alleviate human suffering is enormous, and must be unlocked.
We passed H.R. 4 to require Medicare to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices on behalf of the American people. In doing so, Medicare Part D will begin to shift from a program that tightens the stranglehold of big drug companies to a program that gives desperately needed relief to our nation's seniors. In this vote, we put government back to work for the American people, not the special interests.
As we honored Martin Luther King's birthday this week, we carried his spirit of hope and opportunity, passing legislation to cut interest rates on student loans with H.R. 5 and eliminated subsidies for Big Oil with H.R. 6, investing the savings in renewable energy, leading our nation toward a brighter future, unbridled by dependence on foreign oil.