Senator Pryor Prepares for a Productive 110th Congress
Senator Mark Pryor today announced he is looking forward to a busy and productive 110th Congress. He plans to focus on issues that will impact Arkansas families, the military, and consumer affairs. Those initiatives are as follows:
Veterans Education and Training Act - This act will expand benefits under the G.I. Bill to help veterans enter high-growth industries, including trucking, construction, hospitality and energy.
Tax Relief for Americans in Combat Act (TRAC Act) - Senator Pryor will fight to ensure the TRAC Act is made permanent. The TRAC Act allows soldiers to collect combat pay and take advantage of other tax benefits, such as the Child Tax Credit. Currently, the TRAC Act has been singed into law by the President; however, it has not been made permanent.
Estate Tax Reform - Senator Pryor will continue to work on a bipartisan compromise that would ease the estate tax burden for all families and most likely erase it entirely for virtually every small business owner and family farmer in Arkansas.
Rural Renaissance Act - This act will increase capital for small communities to add and/or improve needed infrastructure. The act would pay for the investment by allowing non-profits to issue tax credit bonds, the proceeds of which would be used to make grants and low interest loans to rural communities. Bond proceeds could be used to leverage a much larger investment than otherwise possible.
Farm Bill - Congress will begin work on a new farm bill this year. Senator Pryor will fight for a bill that protects the food safety net and supports Arkansas farmers while continuing to keep the price of food low and the food supply safe. The new bill should also consider permanent agriculture disaster assistance as well as strengthened crop insurance and biofuel/energy provisions.
Corporate Average Fuel Economy Reform Act (CAFE) - This act requires the Secretary of Transportation to raise and reform fuel economy standards. The result is to increase the miles per gallon of passenger vehicles, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
Consumer Identity Protection and Security Act - This act, also known as the "Credit Freeze Act," will allow individuals to shield their credit files from third parties unless permission has been granted.
Cyber Safety for Kids Act - This act would establish a domain for inappropriate material as part of a growing responsible solution to the upsurge of Internet pornography. This bill will allow parents to easily block inappropriate material from their children.
Consumer Phone Security Act - This act would ban any person from obtaining or selling another person's private phone information.
Do Not Call Registry - Senator Pryor will work to reauthorize the national Do Not Call Registry to continue providing needed protection at home from unwanted telemarketing calls.
Timber Tax - Senator Pryor will continue the fight to create a fair tax code for our timber producers. Currently, the tax code penalizes some timber owners while exempting others.
Secure Handling of Ammonium Nitrate Act - This act keeps ammonium nitrate - used in both bomb making and fertilizer - out of the wrong hands while allowing farmers access.
The Child Safe Viewing Act - This act will allow parents to use new video-editing technology to decide what their children see and hear on television and movies. By merging video-editing software with TV sets, DVD and VCR players, cable boxes, and satellite receiver boxes, inappropriate scenes and language can be cut or muted.
Gasoline Price Gouging Act - This act will make gasoline price gouging during an emergency punishable under federal law. Currently, there are a number of states that have a gasoline price gouging law including Arkansas.
Drug Re-importation Act - This is an effort long supported by Senator Pryor, and he will continue to fight for access to lower cost and safe prescription drugs.
Childcare Tax Credit Extension Act - This act would extend the childcare tax credit for working families and single parents beyond the current $3,000 limit.
Reequipping the Military - Senator Pryor plans to use his influence on the Senate Armed Services Committee to ensure that there is a renewed effort to reequip our military.
RANGER Act - This act will help balance the demand for natural gas by allowing coastal states to opt-out of a current moratorium on offshore drilling.
"The Democratic Controlled 110th Congress will focus on meaningful legislation that will improve people's lives," said Pryor. "I am very pleased that the Senate Democratic Leadership has committed to the principles of bipartisanship, transparency, and getting things done."
Also during the 110th Congress, Pryor will work in a bipartisan way to address many more issues including; Iraq, ethics reform, raising the minimum wage, improving Medicare Part D, tackling the high cost of healthcare for small business and the working uninsured, enacting more of the September 11th Commission recommendations, making college more accessible and affordable, reinstating pay-go, and starting to reequip our military.
Senator Pryor will be one of only a handful of Senators assigned to serve on six committees. These include: Commerce, Science, and Transportation; Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs; Small Business and Entrepreneurship; Rules and Administration; and Ethics. Pryor also expects to chair a subcommittee on both the Commerce and Homeland Security Committees.
In addition, Pryor has been reassigned to the Senate Armed Services Committee. He recently traveled to Iraq in October 2006, with a small bipartisan group of Senators and said that he wants to ensure that our service men and women have the very best training and equipment in order to effectively get their job done. Pryor plans to also use his influence on the committee to ensure that the war in Iraq receives proper congressional oversight and that there is a renewed effort to reequip our military.
The 110th Congress was sworn-in today, January 4, 2007.