Jan 23 2013
Pledges Continuing Efforts to Create Jobs, Close the Income Divide, Provide Retirement Security, and Reform Our Nation's Health Care
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Jay Rockefeller today laid out his priorities for the 113th Congress which started this week.
“As our nation continues to recover from the recession and build a stronger foundation for the future, the 113th Congress faces many tough decisions that will have lasting effects for many years to come,” said Rockefeller. “Throughout my time in public service – almost 50 years – I have been dedicated to making sure that hard-working families in West Virginia get a fair shake. This Congress, we must decide how to create an education system that focuses on science and math so that our students are competitive in a global economy. We must decide how to care for millions of veterans, including those returning from recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We must decide how to provide retirement security to millions of Americans, including those left without health care or pensions when their companies go bankrupt or ship jobs overseas. And, we must decide to move our health system forward through a health reform law that gives us many tools to improve the quality and availability of health care.
“These decisions will not be easy, but we have a responsibility to the American people to forge ahead. For my part, I intend to keep doing what I have always done – fight for workers, fight for fairness, fight for the vulnerable, and fight for West Virginia.”
Specifically, over the next two years, Rockefeller will:
- Stand up for low and middle income families, as the very wealthiest step up to pay their fair share. Rockefeller will fight to close the historic income divide that has and continues to weigh heavily on our economy, and unfairly burdens so many West Virginia families. He is committed to reducing the deficit, and believes it’s past time for the country’s largest mega-corporations and the ultra wealthy to share the responsibility for getting our economy back on track. Rockefeller will keep fighting against proposals to disproportionately reduce the deficit on the backs of seniors, individuals with disabilities, and families struggling to make ends meet.
- Create and save jobs in West Virginia and boost the state’s economy. Rockefeller will continue to work to bring more jobs to West Virginia, advance economic development in West Virginia communities, and help small businesses grow so that they can further energize the state’s economy and put more West Virginians to work. This includes introducing a bill to provide a tax credit to promote manufacturing development. He will also continue to focus on preparing the state’s workforce for the jobs of today and tomorrow by supporting job training for West Virginians in emerging industries in the state, including natural gas drilling, and pushing for further investments in math and science education.
- Fulfill the promise of affordable health care for all West Virginians. Rockefeller strongly believes that health care is a right not a privilege. He will keep fighting to fully implement the health care reform law to provide affordable care for millions of Americans, and take power away from insurance companies to put consumers first; defend safety-net programs, like Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security, from drastic cuts; create a viable long-term care system in the U.S. so millions of Americans can get needed services and supports without impoverishing themselves; and stem the tide of prescription drug abuse in West Virginia and across the country.
- Protect workers’ safety and benefits. Rockefeller will continue working to make sure that West Virginia’s miners and workers are safe while on the job. Early in the new Congress, he will reintroduce his comprehensive mine safety bill to better protect coal miners’ health and safety. He will also continue to fight to prevent companies from unfairly cutting the health and retirement benefits that West Virginians have earned throughout their careers.
- Use our energy resources safely and effectively. Rockefeller is working to make sure that West Virginia’s growing natural gas industry is as safe as possible, focusing on truck and transmission pipeline safety, particularly in light of the explosion in Sissonville. And he is also working to secure coal’s future by developing new legislation aimed at clean coal technology deployment.
- Make sure all our schools and libraries have access to the most up to date technologies. The E-Rate program, which Rockefeller helped create, has successfully connected over 92 percent of U.S. classrooms to the Internet – up from 14 percent when it became law in 1996. As Chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, he will work to further expand high speed and wireless Internet access in West Virginia’s schools, secure a strong future for the program, and create an Office of Rural Education to strengthen and promote education in rural areas like West Virginia.
- Protect veterans’ benefits, health care, and education. Rockefeller will continue his efforts to protect veterans’ health care and benefits from arbitrary cuts. And he will continue to protect veterans enrolled in educational programs on the Post 9/11 GI Bill to make sure they have the same protections that others students receive.
- Protect consumer information and strengthen privacy protections on the Internet. Rockefeller will continue his efforts through the Commerce Committee to make sure that Americans are protected online as our lives have become so reliant on the Internet. This includes investigating the business practices of data brokers, examining Do Not Track standards, and improving cybersecurity rules.
- Expose consumer abuses and government waste, and stop them. As Chair of the Commerce Committee, Rockefeller will continue his efforts to crack down on consumer fraud, including telephone billing and moving company scams, and holding the health insurance industry accountable for its business and marketing practices.