Since January 2007, the Democratic-led, 110th Congress has made a significant down-payment on our promise to take the country in a new direction after nearly a decade of Republican control. Under Democratic leadership, Congress has enacted bills to provide economic stimulus, extend unemployment benefits, provide a 21st Century GI bill, promote energy independence, invest in food and nutrition programs, increase the minimum wage, prevent foreclosures, provide a pay increase for our troops, provide middle class tax relief, strengthen homeland security, fund and improve critical domestic programs, and reform the ethics and lobbying system. And just this past weekend, Congress passed major legislation, the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, to address the nation’s housing crisis.
Unfortunately, as Democrats have worked to advance the priorities of the American people during the 110th Congress, Bush- McCain Republicans have set new records for obstructionism. Senate Republicans have blocked committee hearings, engaged in 87 filibusters, and placed countless numbers of “holds” on bipartisan legislation that would normally pass the Senate expeditiously by unanimous consent. One Republican Senator, with the support or quiet acquiescence of his Republican colleagues, has stood in the way of progress for the American people by using the procedural hold to block nearly 80 bills.
Today, Senate Democrats are giving Senate Republicans an opportunity to end these delays by voting to proceed to S.3297, the Advancing America’s Priorities Act of 2008, which includes more than thirty House-passed, bipartisan-sponsored, non-controversial bills that should have passed and been enacted into law. The bill includes legislation to promote important medical research, authorize new programs to protect children from exploitation, and advance U.S. foreign policy goals.
The Advancing America’s Priorities Act of 2008 includes the: