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Congressman Michael BilirakisCongressman Michael Bilirakis.  Proudly representing the people of the 9th Congressional District of Florida
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About Mike

MICHAEL BILIRAKIS, Republican Congressman from Tarpon Springs in Florida's Ninth District, was first elected to Congress on November 2, 1982, and has been reelected to each succeeding Congress. His committee assignments in the 109th Congress include membership on the Energy and Commerce Committee, where he serves as Vice-Chairman of the full Committee and a member of the Health, Telecommunications and the Internet, and Energy and Air Quality Subcommittees.  Mike is also the Vice-Chairman of the Veterans' Affairs Committee and Chairman of the Oversight Subcommittee.

For 10 years, Mike served as the Chairman of the Health Subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over much of the health-related legislation introduced in the House of Representatives. As Subcommittee Chairman and now as Vice-Chairman of the full Committee, Mike is a vocal advocate for medical research and a national leader on health reform.  He was also instrumental in the passage of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003.  As Subcommittee Chairman, he not only helped draft the House version of the Medicare bill but was also chosen to be one of the few members appointed to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill.  And although Mike is thrilled to have legislation that he has worked on so tirelessly passed into law, he recognizes that his work is not done as his Committee is responsible for overseeing the implementation of this historic new benefit.

Mike has played a leading role in protecting Medicare from bankruptcy, ensuring the safety of our drinking water, improving the quality of our food supply, modernizing the drug approval process, and expanding access to affordable health insurance.  He also worked to secure enactment of the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act.  It's not surprising that National Journal's Almanac of American Politics has called him one of the most "legislatively productive" members of Congress.

During the 108th Congress, in addition to authoring and securing enactment of the new Medicare law, Mike helped craft legislation which the House approved to prevent rising medical liability insurance premiums from harming patient care.  He also authored the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act to improve patient safety and reduce medical errors.  Although the House and Senate approved the measure, final action was not taken on the bill before the 108th Congress adjourned. Mike will continue to pursue the enactment of patient safety legislation in the 109th Congress.

Mike also authored the Organ Donation Improvement Act, which is designed to increase the number of donated organs available for transplantation.  The bill, H.R. 3926, was signed into law on April 5, 2004.  In prior Congresses, Mike authored numerous bills that have become public law.  For example, Mike was the lead congressional sponsor of the Nurse Reinvestment Act, which was enacted in the 107th Congress and has helped increase recruitment of new nurses and improve retention of existing nurses. Mike's other initiatives include legislation to improve research into a myriad of children's health issues; legislation to protect nursing home residents from being targeted for eviction when their facility decides to withdraw from participation in the Medicaid program; and legislation to improve women's health.

Mike's strong values will continue to guide him as he works to improve the health and quality of life of all Americans.  As Vice-Chairman of the full Energy and Commerce Committee, Mike will continue to play a major role in crafting national health policy.

As a member of the Veterans' Affairs Committee, Mike helped secure additional resources for Florida's veterans -- including $44.1 million for a spinal cord injury unit in Tampa and a more equitable resource allocation method implemented by the Department of Veterans Affairs.  When Mike was running for Congress, he promised to bring a VA outpatient clinic to Pasco County. By keeping constant pressure on the VA, he was able to fulfill his pledge when the VA outpatient clinic in Port Richey, Florida opened its doors to veterans in September 1985.

Throughout his congressional career, Mike has been a leader in efforts to secure cost-of-living increases for veterans with service-related disabilities.  For more than eighteen years, Mike has led the fight to eliminate the offset between military retired pay and VA disability compensation. During the last several Congresses, Mike made progress towards addressing the inequitable offset with the enactment of two special compensation programs. In 2003, he worked to secure the inclusion of a substantial concurrent receipt provision in the defense authorization bill which will provide benefits to more than 250,000 of our Nation's disabled military retirees.

Mike knows that military service doesn't take place in a vacuum, and he strongly believes that our Nation should recognize the contributions made by the families of veterans. Consequently, he has fought to improve the benefits available to spouses and survivors of our Nation's veterans. His initiatives, which have been enacted into law, include providing a monthly annuity to "forgotten widows," allowing a spouse to retain a veteran's final compensation check, providing survivor benefits to the spouses of certain former prisoners-of-war, and allowing older widows to remarry without losing their survivor benefits.

In recognition of his efforts on behalf of veterans, Mike has received many national awards, including the L. Mendel Rivers Award of Excellence from the Air Force Sergeants Association, the Inspirational Leadership Award from the Military Order of the Purple Heart and the AMVETS Silver Helmet Award. In 2004, he received the VFW's Congressional Award for his outstanding service to the Nation's veterans.

For more than a decade, Mike has been a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Parliamentary Assembly which brings together Members of the U.S. Congress with Members of Parliaments from throughout the Atlantic Alliance. This five-decade old organization helps to build parliamentary and public consensus in support of Alliance policies by facilitating parliamentary awareness and understanding of key security issues and providing greater transparency of NATO policies.

In the past, Mike has served as Chairman of the Task Force on the Elderly and has been a leader in the fight against infant mortality.  He has also held memberships on the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, the Immigration Reform Caucus and the Congressional Task Force on POW/MIAs.  He is a co-founder of both the Military Veterans Caucus and the Hellenic Caucus.

In 1982, at the urging of friends, associates and residents of the newly-formed Ninth District, Mike accepted the challenge of his first Congressional race. He credits strong traditional values, close family ties and avid community involvement for his victories in 1982 and in subsequent reelections.  In his terms in Congress, Mike has carried those personal values to the national forum, protecting Social Security, Medicare and federal retirement programs; expanding access to quality health care; promoting disease research; improving education; strengthening our national defense; ensuring congressional accountability; and supporting a balanced federal budget.


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