Washington, DC - Today, standing in the shadow of one of the nation’s great presidents, Democratic Senators stood united in protection of the Constitution and against the Republican abuse of power. Senators Reid, Durbin, Schumer, Clinton, Kennedy, and Boxer urged Republicans to end their partisan bickering over seven radical judges and get back to the people’s business.
“This is about priorities,” said Democratic Leader Harry Reid. “The Republican party’s priorities are way out of line. They are willing to fight for seven radical judges, but they can’t fight for a budget that meets the needs of our schools, our cops and our veterans. Republicans are abusing their power and leaving working Americans to fend for themselves. The American people have a very different set of priorities and so do Democrats.”
At the event, the Democrats outlined the priorities they will continue to fight for, even if the Republicans insist on breaking the rules to change the rules in the Senate.
“President Bush, Senator Frist, and Majority Leader DeLay are on a quest for absolute power in Washington, even if it means corrupting our government and the vision of our founding fathers,” said Harry Reid. “While Republicans corrupt our government, Democrats will fight to protect our constitutional checks and balances and basic fairness for the American people.”
Should Republicans insist on going forward with the “nuclear” option, the Democrats maintained they will focus the Senate on legislation that addresses the promise of America and concerns of working Americans, including:
1. Women’s Health Care (S. 844). “The Prevention First Act of 2005″ will reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and abortions by increasing funding for family planning and ending health insurance discrimination against women.
2. Veterans’ Benefits (S. 845). “The Retired Pay Restoration Act of 2005″ will assist disabled veterans who, under current law, must choose to either receive their retirement pay or disability compensation.
3. Fiscal Responsibility (S. 851). Democrats will move to restore fiscal discipline to government spending and extend the pay-as-you-go requirement.
4. Relief at the Pump (S. 847). Democrats plan to halt the diversion of oil from the markets to the strategic petroleum reserve. By releasing oil from the reserve through a swap program, the plan will bring down prices at the pump.
5. Education (S. 848). Democrats have a bill that will: strengthen head start and child care programs, improve elementary and secondary education, provide a roadmap for first generation and low-income college students, provide college tuition relief for students and their families, address the need for math, science and special education teachers, and make college affordable for all students.
6. Jobs (S. 846). Democrats will work in support of legislation that guarantees overtime pay for workers and sets a fair minimum wage.
7. Energy Markets (S. 870). Democrats work to prevent Enron-style market manipulation of electricity.
8. Corporate Taxation (S. 872). Democrats make sure companies pay their fair share of taxes to the U.S. government instead of keeping profits overseas.
9. Standing with our troops (S. 11). Democrats believe that putting America’s security first means standing up for our troops and their families
PROMISE OF AMERICA FACT SHEET
DEMOCRATS ARE FOCUSED ON AMERICA’S AGENDA
Fighting for the Promise of America
While the Republican Senate continues to be focused on seven radical judges in their pursuit for absolute power, they have failed to lead on the issues that matter to American families. With gas prices soaring, thousands of veterans preparing to return from Iraq and Afghanistan and the economy struggling, Republicans continue their quest for absolute power. The budget that the Republicans passed reflects the wrong choices that put special interests above the people’s interests. Democrats are focused on America’s agenda and will continue to fight for the Promise of America.
REPUBLICANS Back an Energy Bill That Will Do Nothing to Lower Prices, Consumption or Increase Production. Republicans support the president’s energy bill that has been judged by the Energy Information Agency to have a “negligible” effect with respect to production, consumption, imports, and energy prices. [EIA, "Summary Impacts of Modeled Provisions of the 2003 Conference Energy Bill" 2/04]
· DEMOCRATS Are Working to Provide Immediate Price Relief to Consumers. Democrats are working to provide immediate gas prices relief to consumers today. Democrats support initiatives to defer delivery of oil to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, call on OPEC to increase production in the short term and call on the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice to investigate price gouging at the pump. Democrats also support initiatives to prevent electricity market manipulation. [S. 847; S. 872]
REPUBLICANS Rejected Providing Support for the Perkins Loan Program. Republicans rejected an amendment that would have restored funding for the Perkins Vocational Loan program. These loans make college more affordable for millions of young people. The Perkins program was rejected 44-56. [RC 61, 3/17/05]
· DEMOCRATS Fight to Provide New Opportunities for America’s Young People. Democrats are fighting to provide new opportunities in education for American families. Democrats are fighting to provide 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. 848]
REPUBLICANS Rejected Increasing the Minimum Wage. Republicans rejected increasing the minimum wage, something Congress has not done since 1997. The amendment was rejected 46-49. [RC 26, 3/7/05]
· DEMOCRATS Work to Expand Economic Opportunity for American Workers. 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 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 encouraging innovation in the American economy. [S. 846]
REPUBLICANS Rejected Medical Care for Veterans. Senate Republicans rejected a Democratic initiative to provide additional medical care to our nation’s veterans. Senate Republicans rejected an amendment that would have added nearly $2 billion in veterans’ benefits. The amendment was rejected 46-54. [RC 90, 4/12/05]
· DEMOCRATS Fight to Protect the Rights of Our Veterans. Senate Democrats are working to ensure that no veteran must surrender a portion of their retirement pay when they also receive disability compensation. [S. 845]
REPUBLICANS Rejected Living Within Our Budget Means. Senate Republicans rejected an initiative to ensure that any new spending or tax cuts is fully paid for to set our nation on the course of fiscal discipline. The amendment was rejected 50-50. [RC 53, 3/16/05]
· DEMOCRATS Are Fighting to Restore Fiscal Discipline for a Sound Future. Democrats are working to address the fiscal irresponsibility of the current Administration by imposing discipline today. Democrats are united to strengthen budgeting rules that require the government to live within its means. [S. 851]