New Direction Congress Offering Solutions to the Challenges Facing the American People
Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other House Democratic leaders held a news conference today to discuss the New Direction Congressional agenda. Below are the Speaker's opening remarks:
"Good morning. Today we stand here before you very proud of the New Direction Congress. Especially proud of what we have accomplished in the last couple of weeks and what we will do going into the Memorial Day weekend. We have solutions to the challenges facing the American people.
"It has always been our agenda to grow our economy, grow good paying jobs in our country, through innovation, through rebuilding our infrastructure, through making us energy independent and preserving our planet, through strengthening our families, and through education and health care.
"And to that end, growing our economy through innovation - innovation as we know begins in the classroom - we were very pleased last week, before the President left for the beautiful wedding, he signed the higher education legislation which made continued access to all of the federal student loans available to those who are eligible.
"Rebuilding the infrastructure of our country -- we sent the President the transportation bill which will create 40,000 new jobs in our country immediately - good paying jobs. Achieving energy security and preserving the planet with renewable energy incentives by suspending deliveries to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve -you'll hear more about that from Mr. Emanuel in a moment.
"Today we will pass a Farm Bill that, according to Time Magazine, could lower grocery bills in the longer-term in four ways: with disaster relief for farmers, which will allow them to bring crops to market faster; with cuts in ethanol subsidies; with increases in nutrition assistance for America's families; and with emergency food assistance for America's food banks.
"Today we will appoint conferees for the budget. The budget is a statement of our values - what is important to us as a nation, what we have as our priorities and our budget, and this is the first election year since 2000 that there has been a budget bill passed in the Congress.
"Before I turn to Steny Hoyer, let me just say how proud I am of our leadership team. You'll be hearing from Mr. Hoyer, who manages these issues and gives us guidance on the floor and he'll talk about a number of issues that will be coming up; our Whip, Mr. Clyburn, who will be talking about the supplemental, especially the GI Bill, and thank him for his leadership and for making sure we have the votes, and very strong bipartisan votes I might add, to send the legislation that we have passed to the President; the chair of our Caucus and the vice chair, Mr. Larson, who have directed the policy discussions in our Caucus which have led to the consensus that we have, the unity that we have as Democrats, on these issues.
"That's the policy side of it. On the political side, we're very proud of Mr. Van Hollen - three straight, three for three, batting a thousand. Isn't that great? As one who spent Mother's Day at the Giants' game, I appreciate batting a thousand, and the Giants won and so did Mr. Van Hollen. We're very proud of his leadership as chair of the Congressional Campaign Committee, if you want, he will speak to you about what is happening on the last three races, but we won because we had great candidates, who are true representatives of their districts and we look forward to welcoming Mr. Travis Childers to the Congress; I think it will be next week.
"With that, I am pleased to express great appreciation to our leadership team for their great work in meeting the needs for the American people. I want to yield to the distinguished Majority Leader, Mr. Hoyer."