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Occurrences in the Congressional Record

Entry Title Date
Debt Management And Fiscal Responsibility Act Of 2015 February 11, 2016
Robin Kelly, D-IL
"Mr. Chair, my amendment is simple. It merely expands the report the Treasury Secretary must submit per the underlying bill to include an analysis of the economic costs of failing to raise the debt limit, especially with regard to the costs to our Nation’s public health and safety."
Water Infrastructure February 11, 2016
Earl Blumenauer, D-OR
"The proposal I have introduced to raise the gas tax was widely supported by business, labor, professions, local government, environmentalists; indeed, it was supported by the widest collection of interest groups supporting any major initiative before Congress. When you get the truckers and AAA both saying, “Raise taxes on motorists and truck drivers,” that is a signal."
Unanimous Consent Request—S. 1169 February 11, 2016
Sheldon Whitehouse, D-RI
"I would add that from the State of Arkansas, the junior Senator from Arkansas is the Senator who is going to raise the one objection, I gather. The Arkansas State Advisory Group, the association called Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, and the official State Arkansas Division of Youth Services all support this bill."
Providing For Consideration Of H.R. 2017, Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act Of 2015, And Providing For Proceedings During The Period From February 15, 2016, Through February 22, 2016 February 11, 2016
Jared Polis, D-CO
"Frankly, I think the American people want to see this body address the real issues that they care about every day. They want our body to fix our broken immigration system and secure our borders. They want us to raise the minimum wage and make college more affordable. They want to make sure that Americans are safe and secure in their homes and that we can ensure for the next generation of Americans the same promise that our last generation has enjoyed in this country."
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."

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