This month, Americans will welcome a new Congress and a new President to Washington, D.C. The 111th Congress and President Barack Obama will soon begin working on pragmatic solutions for our nation’s future. Now more than ever, we must collaborate in a bipartisan manner to enact legislation that will have a lasting positive impact on our country and its citizens.
During the last Congress, I was proud to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to develop several pieces of solutions-oriented legislation. While working on these bills, I witnessed how Democrats and Republicans can effectively unite for the American people. At a time when we face many challenges, Congress must not become paralyzed by partisan politics. It is time for Congress as a whole to join forces for the betterment of our nation.
The first priority in the 111th Congress must be restoring confidence in our economy. The failures of multiple financial institutions and the downturns in the American housing and auto industries have contributed to the state of our economy and rising unemployment numbers. In order to foster a growing and healthy economy, Congress must enact policies that will create jobs and keep our taxes low. Additionally, Congress needs to investigate the causes of our current situation in order to determine ways to improve regulation of the financial sector and guard against predatory lending and unwise business practices. Congress must also launch an aggressive oversight plan to protect taxpayer money allocated to fund the recent bailouts.
Securing our energy future is another critical issue that must be addressed by the 111th Congress. An “all of the above” energy strategy would increase the supply of American-made energy, improve conservation and efficiency, and promote renewable and alternative energy technology. By tapping the abundant energy resources that exist both on and off our American shores, we can diversify our energy supply and create thousands of new jobs. I am hopeful that the 111th Congress will be able to develop a comprehensive American energy strategy that will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and help rebuild our economy.
The 111th Congress must also focus on improving our health care system. Congress should implement targeted incentives and cost-saving proposals that allow the marketplace to work. The necessary reform should focus on increasing access, reducing cost and making the system modern and efficient. One of the most significant problems with the American health care system is that it was designed in the 1960s and has not kept pace with the economy or the needs of its patients. Our health care information technology must be modernized to meet growing demand while improving efficiency and reducing costs.
Tackling the challenges faced by America in 2009 will not be easy. If we expect to resolve the problems that are straining our economy, our resources, our communities and our families, Congress must focus on the issues. There will be legitimate disagreements on policy and direction, but we must all work toward compromises that result in solutions for the American people. I am honored and humbled to continue serving Kentucky’s Fourth District in the 111th Congress.