Looking Ahead to the 109th Congress
DATE: January 14, 2005
Earlier this month, members of the new Congress, including myself, were sworn into office. We face many challenges as we enter into this historic session, including growing budgetary constraints, national security, medical liability reform, social security and many others. These issues touch the lives of every American. I am proud to represent one of the most beautiful and diverse districts in the country and I am honored to continue to carry the voice of the 6th District to Washington, D.C.
In early February, the President will release his fiscal 2006 budget proposal. Last year, I was one of only 116 members of Congress to vote for the most conservative budget offered. This year we find ourselves in the midst of a growing deficit due to increased spending. The duty of Congress is clear: We must control spending, and begin paving the way to a return to surpluses and ultimately pay down the national debt. It is time for us to get our fiscal house in order, and not use these challenging times as cover for uncontrolled government spending.
Early in the Congress, we will take up additional border security legislation to bolster homeland security. National security both at home and abroad is paramount to our freedom and economic well being and will continue to be a top priority for Congress.
A variety of health care issues including medical liability reform legislation will come before the 109th Congress. In recent years, Americans have witnessed a dramatic rise in the costs of malpractice insurance for doctors and hospitals. This cost is ultimately passed along to patients. Creating legislation that would cap runaway medical malpractice awards is one way to help tame surging health care costs and protect health care providers from frivolous lawsuits.
In addition, the signs are clear that we must focus on the future of America's Social Security system. In 1950, there were 16 workers to support every one beneficiary of Social Security. Today, there are only 3.3 workers supporting each Social Security retiree. In the coming years as baby boomers retire, that ratio may drop to only two workers for every retiree with not enough payroll tax revenue to support retirement payments. While Social Security will remain strong for a number of years to come, we must begin to plan ahead to deal with this problem. President Bush and others have proposals which the Congress must study and ask the tough questions.
Also on our agenda will be new policies for energy and transportation, and reforms of our monstrous tax code and out of control immigration policy.
It is perhaps tempting to ignore the issues that could be handled by future generations, but we must not shy away from the challenges at hand. I look forward to working in the Congress to create effective public policy that benefits the American people.