KINGSTON STATEMENT ON YEAR OF LEGISLATIVE ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Washington, Dec 20, 2005 -
Today, U.S. Representative Jack Kingston (R-Savannah), the vice-chairman of the House Republican Conference and member of the Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement regarding the numerous legislative accomplishments over the past year:
"I am proud to report that this past year has been marked with one legislative win after another and I want to commend the steadfast leadership of Speaker Hastert and a Republican Conference that came to Washington with its head in the game and the courage to fulfill America's promise - and we've done just that.
"Just this past weekend, we worked long hours to pass an immigration reform bill, legislation that will reform federal programs to save taxpayers billions of dollars, and the Department of Defense spending bill.
"Controlling our nation's borders to better prevent illegal immigration and criminal activity was one of my top legislative priorities which is why I was pleased to support the Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005, which passed the House Friday by a vote of 239 to 182. Among other things, the legislation would combat the hiring of illegal workers by providing all employers with a reliable method of determining whether employees are legally eligible to work by confirming or denying the authenticity of Social Security numbers offered by new hires, end the "catch and release" practice along the southwest border, effectively organize the Border Security Agencies within the Department of Homeland Security, and promote both international and domestic policies that will deter further illegal entry into the United States.
"And I was pleased to support an amendment by Charlie Norwood (R-Evans), who has been out in front of this issue since 2001, that would allow local law enforcement officials to apprehend illegal aliens they encountered in the line of duty. This legislation, while not perfect, is a step in the right direction to help control America's borders.
"As a fiscal conservative who subscribes to the belief that we need less government, I am particularly pleased that we passed the Deficit Reduction Act which will reform programs to save taxpayers $41.6 billion; eliminate dozens of wasteful government programs for a savings of $3.5 billion; and include a 1 percent across-the-board spending cut that saves $8.5 billion. This legislation is a good step toward reining in spending and I was pleased to see it pass. [SEE BILL HIGHLIGHTS BELOW]
"Looking over the past year - our legislative efforts were responsive, proactive, and monumental. In fact, Congress has delivered a number of bills which have been signed into law including, a comprehensive energy bill that will help ensure America's energy security, a highway bill that improves our nation's roadways and creates jobs, a class action fairness bill that helps curb frivolous lawsuits, a bankruptcy reform bill that will protect consumers and small businesses, the Real ID Act that will streamline the identification process for law enforcement, billions in hurricane relief for those Americans affected by Katrina and Rita, and CAFTA legislation that will open new markets in Central America for Georgia's farmers.
"And in the House, we have passed a number of provisions that I hope the Senate will take up and pass as soon as possible. These include, an immigration reform bill to help us control our borders and get a grip on illegal immigration, an extension of capital gains and dividend tax relief, a permanent death tax repeal, alternative minimum tax relief, health care liability and access legislation, small business health fairness (AHPs), pension reform, PATRIOT Act extension, terrorism insurance extension, Katrina tax relief, reform for Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs), Child Interstate Abortion Notification, and United Nations reform.
"And we are just getting started.
"Next year, we will continue to listen to America and respond to her needs. We will promote policies that fuel our surging economy by cutting taxes, limiting federal spending, and making the government work smarter. We will continue to look at ways to curb illegal immigration; help America realize its independence from Middle East oil; simplify the federal tax code; strengthen retirement security for current and future generations and stop spending the surplus; make health care more affordable, accessible, and patient centered; and support our troops in our effort to win the war on terror."