The past two years have brought both challenges and opportunities, from our tireless work to reverse deeply troubling economic trends, to the passage of health care reform. As I work to do my very best for you and our state, I have always tried to be accessible and responsive to all my constituents. With the support of voters like you this past November, I am energized to continue the fight on your behalf.
First and foremost, my priority continues to be jobs, jobs, jobs. I think every day of all the Rhode Islanders who are struggling to make ends meet and all those who are out of work through no fault of their own. Pursuing economic development opportunities, coupled with improving our educational system at all levels will continue to be my priorities as I work to make the Ocean State the leader it needs to be to compete for jobs and new businesses.
Next year, I plan to continue my service on the House Armed Services Committee, where I will assume the position of Ranking Member of the Stragetic Forces Subcommittee, and on the House Permanent Select Committee On Intelligence. I will also continue to co-chair various caucuses, covering issues such as cybersecurity, disabilities, education and athletics.
Troops Come First
As our nation continues to have a strong military presence all over the globe, our brave men and women in uniform remain on my mind. It is always a privilege to meet servicemembers and speak to them directly in theater. In the spring of 2009, I led a trip to Iraq and Afghanistan with the House Armed Services Committee. These trips help inform my decision making, especially now, as we are faced with troop withdrawls and shifts in mission. In addition to monitoring our military engagements, I will continue to advocate for our state's submarine industry and to look for ways to streamline program purchasing budgets.
Crunching the Numbers
During my service on the House Budget Committee, I have participated in numerous hearings focused on the current and future state of the economy, federal budgetary challenges and priorities, as well as the fiscal effects of national policies within the areas of defense, health care, banking and finance, education and transportation, among others. In the coming Congress, I look forward to continuing to ask the hard questions in each of these areas as we tackle our federal deficit. Tough decisions will need to be made across the board and I will approach each area with thoughtfulness.
Did you know?
The Middle Class Tax Relief Act passed the House this month and would make permanent the tax cuts for approximately 98 percent of American tax payers and ensure that the vast majority of Rhode Islanders are not hit with a tax increase during a challenging economic recovery. I will fight to get this measure to the President's desk before the end of the year.
Bridging Digital Divides
I continue to focus on serving our nation's cyber infrastructure. The need for robust cybersecurity systems in government and the private sector gains more traction every day, but mountains of work remain. I plan to take advantage of every opportunity to talk about this national security issue, from continuing to chair the House Cybersecurity Caucus, to appearing on programs like 60 Minutes, to introducing pertinent pieces of legislation. The House FY10 Intelligence Authorization Act passed with my amendment requiring study on developing a government cybersecurity professional workforce. A second amendment also passed as part of this year's defense authorization bill. Beyond this legislation, I have also taken steps to grow our cyber workforce with the initiation of the U.S. Cyber Challenge for high school students.
A Healthier Nation
Everyone deserves access to quality and affordable healthcare. One of my proudest moments in Congress has been the passage of H.R. 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and the accompanying H.R. 4872, Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, to provide security and stability to Americans who have health insurance, guarantee insurance to the millions who don't, and lower health care costs for our families, businesses and the government. This law will help millions of Americans and provides a framework on which to build a sustainable health care system in our country.
Thank you for your continued interest and support. Please do not hesitate to contact me about your priorities and concerns as the 111th Congress continues.