Senate Democrats

DEMOCRATS DEMAND SENATE FINALLY WORK FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE

Senate Democratic Leaders lay out five critical areas that should be addressed before the August Recess

Washington, DC–With a modern Do Nothing Republican Congress rivaling its legendary predecessor for failing to act on the major issues that face the American people, the Senate Democratic Leadership today joined Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid at his weekly stakeout to call on Republicans to finally take action on five critical issues before the fast-approaching August recess.

Senators Reid, Durbin, Stabenow, and Schumer challenged the Republican Congress to join Democrats in fighting to open up the promise of stem cell research, to lower the price of gas, to help make college affordable for working families, to finally reauthorize the Voting Rights Act, and to demand the Bush Administration finally offer a plan for success in Iraq. At the stakeout, the Democrats released a letter to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist in which they called on him to make House-passed stem cell legislation (H.R. 810) the next order of business on the Senate Calendar. The text of the letter is attached below.

“There are only eight weeks left in the 109th Congress,” Reid said, “Democrats will insist these eight weeks are put to better use than the last 18 months.”

Instead of working on the issues that matter most to the American people, Washington Republicans have shown they are only interested in working for their own partisan campaign needs. Despite serious and difficult challenges at home and abroad, they have devoted the Congress’s time to divisive issues to rally their right-wing base and try to save their political skins this November.

“This Republican Congress has failed the American people by putting its campaign needs ahead of America’s needs,” said Reid. “It has protected the president by rubberstamping his incompetence in Iraq, Iran and North Korea, it has wasted months pursuing a political agenda with issues like marriage and flag burning, and it has ignored what’s happening to middle-class families–like skyrocketing gas prices, skyrocketing college tuition and our skyrocketing national debt. We need a new direction, and we need it now.” 

With their announcement that they will adjourn the Senate early this year to give their candidates more time to campaign in what promises to be difficult re-election battles, Republicans have put the 109th Congress on a path for the shortest session since the legendary “Do Nothing Congress” of 1948. Democrats believe that what little time the Senate has left should be used to actually accomplish something that will help the American people.

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July 11, 2006

The Honorable William Frist, M.D.

Majority Leader

United States Senate

Washington, DC 20510

Dear Dr. Frist: 

On May 24, 2005, the House of Representatives approved the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act (H.R. 810), important legislation that would end the restrictions that have kept stem cell research from fulfilling its potential to save lives and alleviate suffering.  For over a year, we have advocated for the timely consideration of this crucial legislation.  We are pleased that you were recently able to secure an agreement that provides the framework by which the Senate will consider this legislation and we urge you to take up this legislation immediately after the Senate completes its work on the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Bill.

Stem cell research has vast potential for curing diseases and saving lives.  We know you recognize the enormous potential of this research for discovering new cures and therapies for diseases such as diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and spinal cord injuries.  Further delay in the Senate will only mean more lost opportunities for new cures and new treatments. 

By allowing H.R. 810 to be brought to a vote as soon as possible, you can bring hope and help to millions of American patients and families suffering from these and other serious illnesses. Millions of patients and their families across the nation cannot afford to wait any longer for enactment of this urgently needed legislation. We hope you will agree that the Senate should make this legislation its next order of business.

                                                            Sincerely,

Senator Harry Reid

Senator Richard Durbin

Senator Debbie Stabenow

Senator Charles Schumer

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