Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act Of 2009
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Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, with the apologies to my good friends from Montana and Connecticut, I was unavoidably detained at the opening and would like to now, on my leader time, give my opening remarks.
The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator has the floor.
Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, the challenges of the ongoing war in Afghanistan are immense, but Americans believe in the mission. They trust the advice of our commanders in the field to see that mission through.
So I support the President's decision to follow the advice of General Petraeus and General McChrystal in ordering the same kind of surge in Afghanistan that helped turn the tide in Iraq.
These additional forces will support a counterinsurgency strategy that will enable us to begin the difficult work of reversing the momentum of the Taliban and keeping it from power.
The President is right to follow the advice of the generals in increasing troops, and he is also right to focus on increasing the ability of the Afghan security forces so they can protect the people.
By doing both, he has made it possible for our forces to create the right conditions for Afghanistan--the right conditions for them to defend themselves, create a responsible government, and remain an ally in the war on terror.
Although our forces are in Afghanistan to defend our security interests, the people of Afghanistan must assume a greater burden in the future. The President's plan recognizes that.
Once we achieve our objectives--an Afghanistan that can defend itself, govern itself, control its borders, and remain an ally in the war on terror--then we can reasonably discuss withdrawal, a withdrawal based on conditions, not arbitrary timelines.
But, for now, we owe it to the American people, to those who died on 9/11, and to the many brave Americans who have already died on distant battlefields in this long and difficult struggle, to make sure Afghanistan never again serves as a sanctuary for al-Qaida.
We owe it to the men and women who are now deployed or who will soon be deployed to provide every resource they need to prevail.
HEALTH CARE REFORM
With every passing day, the American people become more and more perplexed about the Democratic plan for health care, and they like it less and less.
Americans thought reform meant lowering costs. This bill actually raises costs. Americans thought reform meant helping the economy. This bill actually makes it worse. Americans thought reform meant strengthening Medicare. This bill raids it to create a new government program that will have the same problems that Medicare does. Americans wanted reform. What they are getting is the opposite--more spending, more debt, more burdens on families and businesses already struggling to get by.
One of the biggest sources of money to pay for this experiment is Medicare. This bill cuts Medicare Advantage by $120 billion. It cuts hospitals by $135 billion. It cuts home health care by $42 billion. It cuts nursing homes by $15 billion. It cuts hospice by $8 billion.
Reform shouldn't come at the expense of seniors. The McCain amendment guarantees it wouldn't. The McCain amendment would send this bill back to the Finance Committee with instructions to remove the language that cuts Medicare. The McCain amendment also says any funds generated from rooting out waste, fraud, and abuse should be used to strengthen Medicare, not to create an entirely new government program.
A vote in favor of the McCain amendment is a vote to protect Medicare. Let me say that again. A vote in favor of the McCain amendment is a vote to protect Medicare. A vote against the McCain amendment is a vote to raid this vital program in order to create another one for an entirely new group of Americans. So a vote against the McCain amendment is a vote to take money out of Medicare to create a program for an entirely different set of Americans. A vote against the McCain amendment is a vote against our seniors, and it is a vote against real health care reform.
Mr. President, I yield the floor.
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