Ms. CLARKE. Mr. Speaker, as we start the 113th Congress, I am honored to once again join my colleagues in serving the American people--especially my constituents in the Ninth District of New York. We have an opportunity to look forward, to end the partisanship that has undermined efforts to secure our future as a nation.
I am disappointed to say that I can hardly imagine a worse end to a session of Congress than the one we have just witnessed. In our labored efforts to avoid a disastrous tumble over the ``fiscal cliff,'' we lost sight of a far less figurative disaster.
The families harmed by Hurricane Sandy--those people whose homes and businesses were threatened by the storm--have the right to demand action from this Congress. Yet, this Congress was unable to enact a proposal for relief, to provide the assistance people need to start the recovery. I call on my colleagues to support emergency supplemental appropriations for areas affected by Hurricane Sandy.
Fixing the mistakes of yesterday, however, will be only part of the solution. We have a more important responsibility in this 113th Congress--to demonstrate to the American people that these failures were not examples of a serious problem within the Congress itself that prevents us from working with each other to fulfill our responsibilities.
We have opportunities in this session of Congress to work together, as Democrats and Republicans, but more importantly, as Americans, to resolve the issues that are important to people in every community in this nation. As the tragedy in Newtown demonstrated, we must enact gun control laws that prevent mass murder and re-institute the ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. We must end gun trafficking.
It is my hope that we address immigration reform, specifically the enactment of the DREAM Act. This act, which provides legal status and a path to citizenship to undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as minors, will benefit every person in our society. This act will allow millions of young Americans to participate in our economy, our system of higher education, and the society more generally.
Other legislation of importance that must be addressed immediately is the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, the Farm Bill, postal reform, cybersecurity, and sequestration legislation.
Let us come together, in this 113th Congress, to fulfill our duties as representatives of the people of the United States. Let us establish the foundations of a prosperity shared by every family in this nation, security from the threat of natural disasters and acts of terrorism, and a political process of which the American people are proud.