Tuesday, January 25, 2005

It's a start.

From Harry Reid and the Democrats.
Reid is not the sort of attack dog that I like, but the man does seem to have some sense and political savvy, which is a rarity in a Democrat these days.

The American Promise
A Future of Security, Opportunity and Responsibility

The Democratic Agenda for the 109th Congress

Senate Democrats open the 109th Congress steadfastly committed to keeping the promise of America, the promise that all Americans who work hard can build a stronger and brighter future for their families. By embracing and affirming our core values of security, opportunity and responsibility, Democrats are united to help America fulfill this promise.

It is the promise of security, that the American way of life and our freedom will be protected by using all the tools to take the fight to the terrorists and standing with those who have served. It is the promise of opportunity so that every American can get the education they need to compete in the 21st century; live in an economy with well paying jobs and high quality health care; and participate in our democracy. Keeping the promise of America also means meeting our responsibilities both to future and past generations by providing our seniors what they have spent a lifetime working for; acting responsibly with taxpayer’s dollars and with our children’s future by restoring fiscal discipline; and enabling women to take responsibility for their health. It is these values that will continue to guide the Democratic agenda as this Congress moves forward.


S.11: Standing With Our Troops. Democrats believe that putting America’s security first means standing up for our troops and their families. Democrats will work to increase our military end strength by up to 40,000 by 2007. We will create a Guard and Reserve Bill of Rights to protect and promote the interests of our dedicated citizen soldiers. Democrats will also fight for the families of those who serve our country. This includes providing income security and immediate access to affordable health care.

S. 12: Targeting the Terrorists More Effectively. Keeping America secure means stepping up the fight against the radical Islamic fundamentalism. Democrats will work to increase our Special Operations forces by 2,000 to attack the terrorists where they are and to protect our freedoms here at home. We will further enhance our efforts against enemies by targeting the institutions that spawn new terrorists. Democrats are also united to ensure that the world’s most dangerous weapons stay out of the hands of terrorists. We will expand the pace and scope of programs to eliminate and safeguard nuclear materials, enhance efforts to keep these and other deadly materials out of the hands of terrorists, and assist state and local governments in equipping and training those responsible for dealing with the effects of terrorist attacks involving weapons of mass destruction.

S. 13: Fulfilling Our Duty to America’s Veterans. A key component of keeping America secure is protecting the rights of our veterans. Since the time of Lincoln, Americans have made and kept a sacred commitment to those who served this nation in the defense of freedom. As a new generation of veterans return from Iraq and Afghanistan, Democrats are united to fulfill that promise. We will ensure that all veterans get the health care they deserve while also expanding the availability and accessibility of mental health care. We will ensure that no veteran is forced to choose between a retirement and disability check. We will also make the same commitment to the soldiers of today that was made to past veterans with a 21st Century GI Bill.


S. 14: Expanding Economic Opportunity. Democrats understand that the most effective means of increasing opportunity for our families is a high quality, good paying job. Democrats will fight to restore overtime protection to 6 million workers and increase the minimum wage for 7.4 million workers. We must do more to create good jobs today and in the future and the Democratic bill does so by eliminating tax incentives for companies that take jobs overseas, creating new jobs through an expansion of infrastructure programs to repair America’s backbone, and encouratrongging innovation in the American economy. We are also determined to pursue a trade policy that protects American workers and addresses our record trade deficit. Democrats will work to strengthen enforcement of our trade agreements while assisting those workers who have been unduly burdened by unfair trading practices of other nations.

S. 15: Quality Education for All Democrats are committed to providing a quality education to all Americans because we recognize that education has always been the cornerstone of equal opportunity. Democrats will keep our promise to our children by increasing support for pre-school education, fully funding No Child Left Behind and improving its implementation. We are committed to providing safe and reliable transportation for our rural school children and meeting the Federal commitment to children with disabilities. Democrats will also address the shortfall of math, science and special education teachers by creating tuition incentives for college students to major in those fields. We will help expand educational opportunities for college by providing relief from skyrocketing college tuition, increasing the size and access to Pell Grants and supporting proven programs that encourage more young people to attend and succeed in college.

S. 16: Making Health Care More Affordable. Spiraling health care costs are putting the opportunity of America at risk, making it harder for families to buy health insurance and placing a difficult burden on small businesses and manufacturers. Democrats will address these concerns by making prescription drugs more affordable through the legalization of prescription drug reimportation and more safe by ensuring drugs are monitored after they are approved for use. Democrats will ensure that all children and pregnant women will have health care and protect Medicaid. We will reduce the growing cost of health care to small businesses by offering tax credits while also modernizing health care to cut costs for patients and businesses.

S. 17: Democracy Begins at Home. Equal opportunity in this country is based upon equal representation and fair voting. Democrats are determined to reforming the voting system in this country to create Federal standards for our elections. The bill adds verification, accountability and accuracy to the system. It increases access to the polls with Election Day registration, shorter lines and early voting. The bill also aims to modernize our election equipment and increase impartiality and provides the resources to our states to implement the bill.


S. 18: Meeting Our Responsibility to Medicare Beneficiaries. Democrats will take the special interests out of the Medicare law by repealing the provision that prevents Medicare from negotiating better prices for seniors and eliminating the slush fund for HMOs. We will also improve the prescription drug benefit by phasing out the current doughnut hole where seniors pay a premium but get no benefit. We will buy down the Part B premium so premium increases are not too steep. We will address incentives that encourage employers to drop retiree benefits and we will ensure that no seniors are forced into HMOs while helping seniors in their transition to the new benefit.

S. 19: Fiscal Responsibility for a Sound Future. Democrats know that fiscal mismanagement today only leads to greater problems for our children. It is our responsibility to address the fiscal irresponsibility of the current Administration by imposing discipline today and Democrats are united to strengthen budgeting rules that require the government to live within its means.

S. 20: Putting Prevention First. Democrats are committed to reducing unintended pregnancies by increasing access to family planning services and improving contraceptive coverage. We will increase funding for family planning and empower states to enable more women to take responsibility for their health. We will also improve contraceptive coverage by assuring equity in prescription drug insurance.

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