By Steny Hoyer
(Sept. 11, 2009) This week, President Obama addressed a joint session of Congress on health insurance reform. His message was this: The time for reform is now. America cannot continue to sustain the skyrocketing cost of health care that is hurting our families, our businesses and our country. Democratic proposals will make health insurance work better for all Americans with quality affordable choices and no requirement that you need to change your coverage plan or doctors. Finally, Democrats remain committed to reform that, does not add to the deficit and brings down costs in the long-term.
Yesterday, the Council of Economic Advisors issued a report indicating that the Recovery Act is working as intended to lift our country out of recession, by contributing to the growth of our economy and significantly decreasing unemployment. While turning the economy around is a long process, the Recovery Act has worked first to stop the economic freefall, and is now rebuilding our economy. As we work on rebuilding, we remain focused on unemployment, as well as on the more than 15% of Americans who lack health insurance. The failure to cover the uninsured imposes a costly hidden tax on those with insurance. That is why it is essential that Congress pass health reform - so that all Americans, both with insurance and without, can have peace of mind.
Part of ensuring that our economy is sound in the long term means making investments in our future. This week, I introduced the Full-Service Community Schools Act of 2009. This legislation provides grants for school districts and states to create community-centered programs that remove the roadblocks that keep students from taking full advantage of their education. These programs work with community members and local businesses to coordinate a wide range of services for children and their families, from health clinics and dental care, to mental health counseling, to nutrition education and career advice. With this legislation, we take another step in ensuring that every child in America has access to the education he or she deserves.
Next week, the House will consider legislation that makes the single largest investment in Pell Grants and student loans in history, making college more affordable for millions of Americans. The expected savings generated by this bill will provide needed relief to American families and students and help decrease our deficit.
The House will also consider the Advanced Vehicle Technology Act, legislation designed to increase investments in a broad range of technologies that help us decrease dependence on foreign oil, lower emissions, and conserve energy. With a broad base of support, this legislation develops new technologies, creates new jobs, and keeps America on the cutting edge of vehicle research and development.