Congress reconvened this week for the start of what is known as the post-election "lame duck" session in which your representatives complete unfinished business -- and that includes trying to prevent the country from going off what has been termed the "fiscal cliff" that we will be facing in January. That's when, if no agreement is reached, American taxpayers will be subjected to enormous tax increases that threaten to worsen our economy and devastate the nation's employment picture.
The House has put forward a plan to address our debt crisis, stop a combination of severe cuts to our military and government programs known as sequestration, and avert "taxmageddon" by cutting wasteful spending, proposing smarter and safer ideas to simplify the tax code, and reforming welfare and entitlement programs. Unfortunately, we have been unable to negotiate with the Senate as that chamber has refused to produce a serious plan of its own other than to call for tax increases. This country needs tax reform, not tax hikes. I will keep you informed of the progress we are making when Congress takes up this crucial issue after Thanksgiving. I am hopeful we can come together for the good of our country to address these critical issues.
As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving I cannot say enough about how much we, as a nation, have to be thankful for. We are blessed by God to be living in the greatest country on earth and while it is fitting for Americans to always be thankful to our Creator for the riches we enjoy, at Thanksgiving we give special thanks to God as we spend time with family and friends we love.
As children, so many of us learned of the Pilgrims' first Thanksgiving at Plymouth following the harvest of 1621 and how God provided and was faithful to them after a difficult first year in America.
It was in October of 1863, during the Civil War, that the U.S. government first recognized a Thanksgiving holiday when President Abraham Lincoln looked beyond the strife that was tearing apart the very fabric of our country and issued a proclamation. He wrote:
"The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God."
In December of 1941, again during a time of war, President Franklin Roosevelt signed legislation recognizing the fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day.
No matter the circumstances; no matter how bleak things look; there is always something for which to be thankful. Thanksgiving 2012 is no different. I'm thankful to live in the greatest country on earth; thankful for my friends and family; and thankful to have the privilege of representing the good people of Missouri's Fourth Congressional District.
As we enjoy the company of family and friends this Thanksgiving, let us count our many blessings and remember the brave men and women of the United States Armed Forces whose sacrifices allow us to enjoy gifts of freedom. I pray God blesses you and your family this special day and pray God continues to bless America.
Have a blessed Thanksgiving.