A New Direction for All Americans
The American people have resoundingly called for a new direction for our country. Nowhere is the need for a new direction greater than in Iraq. President Bush has failed to make a long overdue change in course and articulate a clear mission for our troops. Escalating our military involvement in Iraq sends precisely the wrong message. In the days ahead, Congress will exercise its constitutional responsibilities by giving the president's proposal the scrutiny the American people expect. We will not give the president a blank check in Iraq. The American people want a change of course in Iraq, and we intend to keep pressing President Bush to provide it.
The American people also spoke clearly for a new direction here at home; a new vision for a new America, built on the values that made our country great. Democrats pledge to work together for fiscal responsibility, with the highest ethical standards and civility. That is why as our first order of business in the 110th Congress, we passed the toughest ethics reform in history, returning the House to the American people.
After years of historic deficits, this new Congress has committed itself to a higher standard: pay as you go, no new deficit spending. Our new America will provide unlimited opportunity for future generations, not burden them with mountains of debt.
House Democrats pledged to restore optimism and opportunity with an ambitious agenda in the first 100 hours of the 110th Congress. From national security to economic security, our first 100 hours met the urgent priorities of the American people, turning our promises into reality.
Democrats and Republicans alike take our responsibility to protect the American people seriously. That is why, with strong bipartisan support, the first bill passed in the new Congress fully implemented the recommendations of the bipartisan, independent 9/11 Commission and went even further to protect our nation. As elected officials, the safety and security of the American people is our top priority.
After earning stagnant wages for nearly a decade, 13 million hard-working families will finally receive the pay raise they deserve. With bipartisan support, the House passed an increase in the minimum wage, so America's workers earn a decent wage and join in our nation's prosperity and success.
With a strong bipartisan vote, the House gave voice to the hopes of more than 100 million Americans and their families, passing legislation to expand embryonic stem cell research. With its great potential, science has the power to answer the prayers of America's families. We must unlock the promise for stem cell therapies to alleviate human suffering and cure diseases. Democrats and Republicans have joined together to urge President Bush to sign this vital legislation into law.
The House took a crucial step toward lowering the cost of prescription drugs for America's seniors. By requiring that the Secretary of Health and Human Services use the purchasing power of more than 22 million Americans in Medicare prescription drug plans and negotiate for lower prescription drug prices, we have placed the needs of America's seniors ahead of the special interests.
In a bipartisan effort, the House passed legislation cutting the interest rate on student loans, making higher education more affordable. A college education is the best investment our young people can make in themselves, and it is the best investment our nation can make in America's future.
To wrap up Democrats' '100 Hours' agenda, we rolled back subsidies for Big Oil. Through investments in clean renewable energy and alternative fuels, this Congress will work to reduce our nation's dependence on foreign oil so that we will send our dollars to the Midwest, not the Middle East.
These accomplishments are just a down payment on a new direction. Democrats are setting our sights beyond the first 100 hours, toward the future. For America to be safe and strong, we must take decisive action to free our country of its dependence on foreign oil and confront the rising tide of global warming. The science of global warming and its impact is overwhelming and unequivocal. That is why, last week, I announced the creation of a Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming to give this issue the urgency it deserves. The solutions are at our disposal. With this new select committee, we will take serious and sustained action to confront this critical challenge.
Respectful of the vision of our Founders, the expectations of our people and the great challenges we face, we have an obligation to reach beyond partisanship to serve all Americans. We will work to stand together to move our country forward, seeking common ground for the common good.