House Leadership Schedules Debate on Horse Bill as Key Issues Go Unaddressed
The House of Representatives reconvened this week after a five-week summer recess. With ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, high energy and health care costs, unmet homeland security needs, a federal minimum wage that hasn't been raised in 9 years, and a large backlog of legislation to complete before Congress recesses for the elections on September 29, there is a lot of work on lawmakers' plates. Yet, the House Leadership's centerpiece legislation this week was a bill [H.R. 503] to ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption. The House Leadership also had lawmakers debate and vote on a bill [H.R. 2808] to create a commemorative coin for Abraham Lincoln as well as legislation [H.Res. 912] "supporting the goals and ideals of National Life Insurance Awareness Week."
While a strong majority of House Members voted to bar the killing of horses for human food, and House lawmakers were unanimous in their support of both the Lincoln commemorative coin and National Life Insurance Awareness Week, many members of the House complained that there are more important problems facing the country that the House should be addressing. Specifically, Democratic Leaders recently wrote to Speaker Hastert urging him to schedule votes on five key issues that have an immediate impact on the lives of the American people: implementing the 9/11 Commission recommendations, raising the minimum wage, lowering prescription drug costs for seniors, restoring the $12 billion cuts in student aid for college students, and rolling back tax breaks for large oil companies and investing the savings in alternative fuels to achieve energy independence. To view the letter, click here.
Rep. Levin Urges Action to Restrict Trash Imports to Michigan
On September 6, the House unanimously approved a bill [H.R. 2491, the "International Solid Waste Importation and Management Act"] to restrict imports of Canadian waste to states like Michigan. The legislation requires the Environmental Protection Agency to implement and enforce a 1992 agreement between the U.S. and Canada that governs the importation of municipal solid waste between the two countries. Rep. Levin is a cosponsor of the legislation and urged its passage during the debate. It is not clear whether there will be enough time for the Senate to consider and approve the bill before the end of the 109th Congress.
Legislation Introduced to Promote University Business Incubators
Some of the most dynamic local economies in America are those in which institutions of higher education and high-tech industry create a critical mass of talent and innovation. Think Silicon Valley or the Research Triangle in North Carolina. Stimulating the transfer of new knowledge created at universities to small start-ups that turn that knowledge into exciting products creates jobs and takes entire communities in a new direction. Rep. Levin recently joined 65 House Members in introducing the "Linking Educators and Developing Entrepreneurs for Reaching Success (LEADERS) Act." The legislation [H.R. 6020] calls for $20 million in grant funding annually to assist colleges, universities and local governments create small business incubators to help innovative new companies get started, grow, and create the jobs of tomorrow.
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