By Steny Hoyer (D-Md.-5th)
Last week, Congress continued its progress on legislation to reform Americas health care system. With Senator Max Baucuss release of a draft health care bill, we have seen a proposal from each of the five committees with jurisdictionnow, we will continue our work to combine them into a final product that President Obama can sign. Democrats share a strong consensus on the goals that health insurance reform must satisfy: security and peace of mind that people can get and keep affordable health care regardless of pre-existing conditions, without going broke, and without being denied help when they get sick. I also think its essential that this legislation bring down health care costs in the long run, to keep our country from sliding even further into debt. Im proud of the progress weve made, and I look forward to taking this work the rest of the way.
Lasy week, the House passed the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, which strengthens higher education and puts our country on a better fiscal footing. The bill achieves significant savings by ending wasteful subsidies to banks and instead lending directly to students; those savings are then invested in increased financial aid for college students, better community colleges, and paying down the deficit. We also passed the Advanced Vehicle Technology Act of 2009, which supports increased research and development by American automakers, helping to break our dependence on foreign oil and create American jobs.
This week, the House will take up a bill to extend unemployment insurance for 300,000 workers whose unemployment coverage will run out by the end of this month. The legislation is targeted at those workers hit hardest by the recession by going to the states with the highest unemployment rates. This assistance will help boost our economy because the money is quickly spent, and the bill adds nothing to our deficit. Finally, the House will consider a Continuing Resolution as Congress completes its work on the appropriations process.