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Occurrences in the Congressional Record

Entry Title Date
Tribute To Ruth Berman And Constance Kurtz February 8, 2016
Patrick Murphy, D-FL
"Ruth Berman and Constance Kurtz, affectionately known to all as Ruthie and Connie, are fierce, unyielding advocates and activists who have changed hearts and minds on LGBT rights, marriage equality, and women’s rights. Since falling in love and coming out in the 1970s, Ruthie and Connie have risen to national prominence, successfully winning domestic partner benefits for City of New York employees in 1988. Additionally, through television appearances on The Phil Donohue Show, interviews with Geraldo Rivera and Bill Boggs, and their 2002 documentary “Connie and Ruthie: Every Room in the House,” they have connected with individuals worldwide and shown the personal impact of changing social climates."
Honoring Mr. And Mrs. Buchenauer Of Manchester, Nh On Celebrating Their 65Th Anniversary February 4, 2016
Frank Guinta, R-NH
"Mr. Speaker, I would like to express my congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Buchenauer of Manchester, New Hampshire for recently celebrating their 65th anniversary. After 65 years of marriage, I applaud their dedication and commitment to one another. It’s clear they have both been exemplary members of our community, and I wish them the best in all future endeavors. "
Honoring Officer Douglas Barney January 27, 2016
Orrin Hatch, R-UT
"Shortly after their marriage, Doug told Erika that he dreamed of becoming a police officer. With her support, he began an 18-year career in law enforcement. Doug’s fellow police officers will always remember him for his work ethic, gregariousness, and larger-than-life personality. Over many years of consistent, hard work, Doug won not only the love and friendship of his colleagues, but also their respect and admiration."
Congratulating Vermont Essay Winners January 20, 2016
Bernard Sanders, I-VT
"My fellow Americans, today the United States has the strongest military in the world. Our nation has the number one economy. We have the longest running democratic government in history. If we want to be considered the greatest in the world, the home of the free, the land of opportunity, then we must face the challenges before us. In 2014, 48.1 million Americans lived in food insecure homes, of this, 15.3 million were children. This equates to 14 percent of households being food insecure. How can the wealthiest nation in the world be unable to feed its hungry? We have the full capability of providing for those in need. We should not allow politics to stop us from caring for our citizens in need. It is impossible to expect the people of this country to be functioning members of society without adequate nourishment. The solution to this problem is simple: feed America’s hungry. I believe that if we were to create a cabinet level agency dedicated specifically to food- insecurity, we would be bettering the common good of America. Devoting ten billion dollars from the federal budget would make a tremendous improvement in the number of food-insecure homes. It may be a bold move to make, but our nation cannot move forward until our people are no longer hungry. Alongside hunger is homelessness. On one given night in America, about 560,000 citizens are homeless, and about 200,000 of those people are in families. It should be the basic right of our people to have shelter and security. The wound of homelessness cannot be solved with night time shelters. Homeless people must be provided with long-term shelters if they are ever to be productive members of society. In order to solve this issue, we must invest in job counseling. Many homeless citizens are homeless due to the inability to acquire a job. If people had the chance to have a clean interview outfit, as well as proper interview instruction, there would not be as many people sleeping on the streets. In order to make this happen, we must have more people trained in the expertise of job counseling, and more programs helping to aid homeless citizens. Again, this would mean funding such programs. A small cost to pay to get Americans off the streets. How a nation treats its elderly says a lot about its character. We will not be a nation that ignores the needs of its senior citizens. Today, many seniors cannot comfortably retire. They are often forced to choose between paying for food or, paying for medication. They will go without heat because they cannot afford to buy fuel. The source of this issue is Social Security. Although this retirement system has benefited many Americans, it needs to be changed. Social Security often does not change with inflation, or does not change enough to account for increased prices. While prices are rising, Social Security is not keeping up. This leaves seniors to make difficult choices regarding spending. Every year, Social Security should be assessed, and changed accordingly to inflation. To pay for this, we would need to raise the Social Security tax percentage to seven percent. This would allow America to adequately pay for the needs of our elderly. This nation is nowhere near perfect. We have many issues we must address, domestic and foreign. We cannot expect to properly address issues overseas, until we fix the home we live in. We must fix America from within. Once we do this, we will truly be able to call ourselves the greatest nation in the world. Vivian Huang, South Burlington High School (Second Place) The year of 2015 has been historic for the United States of America. We have signed a landmark agreement on climate change, enacted marriage equality, and become economically sound—marking greater economic growth rates than predicted and reaching a five percent unemployment rate. Still, we enter the year of 2016 with two pressing issues remaining on the global and the national scale: terrorism and healthcare. As we tackle these issues, we must remind ourselves that the United States of America is truly one nation, indivisible, with each citizen carrying responsibilities to support our nation’s values, as well as one another. First, following recent acts of terror around the world, it is top-priority for the United States to defeat the threat of ISIS. Enough is enough. Rest assured that rather than sending our troops to combat zones in Iraq and Syria, we will take an active role in helping our European allies lead the battle. America must provide rigorous train-and-assist programs for Kurdish forces, exert a tight grip on ISIS-controlled territory, cut off supply lines, and implore the Gulf States to combat terrorism. Furthermore, previous experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan have revealed that merely destroying one source of terrorism will not suffice. To ultimately render counterterrorism and military action unnecessary in Iraq and Syria, we plan on developing political, economic, and educational reforms that will effectively respond to complex sectarian and ethnic divisions in the region. Let’s make it clear that the United States is not declaring a war against religion, but rather against the violence of extremism. As human beings, it is our responsibility to help the innocent Syrian families fleeing ISIS and Assad’s brutal regime. Now is not the time to turn our backs, but to provide humanitarian aid and shelter, even though it requires extreme vigilance. Additionally, every American must confront the problem of bigotry, which only becomes exploited by ISIS for its own recruitment. We all have the duty to stand up against discriminatory rhetoric and hostile actions. We all have the duty to uphold the country’s values by supporting each other—our friends, neighbors, co-workers, and fellow community members—with tolerance and respect. Second, an important issue on the domestic front continues to be healthcare. Physical and mental wellness is a fundamental need for the American people. Over the past year, the Affordable Care Act has improved access to this basic human right for the uninsured. However, there is more to accomplish in 2016. Until completely comprehensive universal healthcare—namely, a single-payer system—is set into place, Medicaid must be expanded in 20 remaining states and community health clinics must be placed in underserved locations. The Department of Health and Human Services must address the chief drivers of healthcare costs; hospital expenditures, physician and clinical services, and skyrocketing drug prices escalate the national health spending. To target this broad problem, a single-payer healthcare system will minimize unnecessary spending by requiring hospitals to operate on government-approved standardized billing procedures. Hence, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies will not be able to overcharge patients and run extortionate monopolies on essential medications. Indeed, American citizens’ rugged bravery, wise judgment, and drive for excellence have made this country great. But we can always progress forward, as long we stand united. Therefore, we will tackle the urgent issues of terrorism and healthcare not only with confidence, but also with the ambition to remain one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
Tribute To Chaplain Dr. Black January 11, 2016
Harry Reid, D-NV
"He represented the Senate in 27 out-of-town speaking engagements. Those speaking engagements are tremendous. He has been in Nevada on a number of occasions. He is a tremendous presenter of what he does and what is good for the country. He delivered the invocation and/or benediction to 17 different ceremonies. He spoke at 10 different Senate functions. He visited with 20 different school groups who came to visit the Capitol. He delivered the invocation at 12 local events. He spoke at 26 local events. He hosted 11 guest Chaplains. He hosted three Jewish programs. He administered premarital and marriage-enrichment counseling. He mentored 20 Senate staffers in a recurring, 10-week spiritual mentoring program. He facilitated the Wednesday morning weekly Prayer Breakfast. He hosted two men’s Prayer Breakfasts for Senate staff featuring Os Guinness and Michael Franzese as guest speakers. He hosted a special program at Easter, our 20th annual Thanksgiving service, and a holiday open house for the Senate community."

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