Senate Democrats

Reid Closes Black History Month With A Commitment To The Future

Washington, DCSenate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada today released the following statement to mark the conclusion of Black History Month. "Today, America closes the celebration of another Black History Month. Once again, it has served as an important opportunity to look back at the many contributions African Americans have made to this country. These moments demand and deserve their place not only in African American history, but American history at large. "Congress usually marks Black History Month with the introduction of ceremonial non-binding resolutions to honor the accomplishments of praiseworthy individuals and organizations. This month witnessed the introduction of legislation honoring former Sen. Edward Brooke, the first popularly elected African American to the U.S. Senate and we also recognized the 98th anniversary of the NAACP. "But while these resolutions deserve the support of the Congress, I and the new Democratic Majority believe that we must do more. It is not enough simply to offer resolutions in praise of others. We must pass legislation to improve the lives of friends and neighbors. "Last December, I thanked the African American community for the support given to so many Democrats in the November elections. But that support demands results, and that’s exactly what Democrats are fighting to deliver. We understand that like all Americans, African Americans want a better tomorrow. We all want to see our forces in Iraq return home safely, provide for our families, grow a business, and send our children to college. "In the seven weeks since taking office, Democrats have worked to honor the promises we made last year, and we have begun to move our nation in a new direction. We have taken steps to hold the Administration accountable for it’s handling of the Iraq war, worked with our counterparts to increase the minimum wage, and passed the most sweeping ethics reform bill Congress has ever seen. "And we will continue working to pass legislation that impacts and improves the lives of our fellow citizens. "In the coming months, Democrats will take steps to reduce interest rates on college loans so that the cost of college does not prevent promising students from realizing their dreams. "We will work to improve access to medical technology, reduce the cost of life saving medicine, and reduce racial health disparities so that diseases like diabetes and sickle cell anemia, which disproportionately affect African Americans, can be properly addressed. "Five years later, the horrors of September 11 still affect everyone in America, regardless or race, creed, or color. The single greatest responsibility of government is the security of the American people, and we in Congress are already moving to implement the recommendations of the bipartisan 9/11 Commission. "Finally, we will work with legislators from the Gulf region and the Congressional Black Caucus to ensure that the victims of Hurricane Katrina are never forgotten. We must pass legislation to provide educational and health care opportunities, and loans for home and business repair, so that the people can return home and rebuild their lives. "Black History Month has once again given this country the opportunity to look back and celebrate the past. More important, however, it has served as a reminder of our responsibility to look forward. Our obligation to African Americans and all Americans is to honor the accomplishments of the past by acting in a substantive manner to improve lives for tomorrow. That has been and remains the commitment of the new Democratic majority in Congress, and we will not rest until we take this country in a new direction."