Christensen Votes on Obama Economic Stimulus Legislation
As a new member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Delegate to Congress Donna M. Christensen participated in the mark-up of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the economic stimulus package proposed by the Obama administration, moving through the Congress this week. "We are here today working on our new President's priorities,"
Congresswoman Christensen said. She participated in the deliberations of the energy, broadband and health portions of the stimulus which were amended in the full committee on Thursday. Christensen offered an amendment to the health portion of the legislation, requiring that its health information technology (HIT) provisions include the reduction of health disparities as an overarching purpose and as a topic upon which the forthcoming HIT Policy Committee focuses its recommendations. "I wanted to ensure that we did not miss the opportunity to reduce health disparities and achieve health equity through HIT," the Congresswoman said. She asked that the committee pay attention to the energy needs of the territories, whose citizens face the highest costs in the nation and whose natural resources of sun, wind, ocean and other alternatives are ideal for demonstration projects funded in the bill. Congresswoman Christensen asked that territorial efforts to expand broadband services to residents be funded. "Only 11% of the customers in the Virgin Islands have broadband," she noted. "While there is an effort by the local telephone company to bring broadband to everyone, a major impediment is funding."