Rosa’s highest priority in Congress is to help get our economy back on track and make opportunity real for Connecticut families. She recognizes that true economic recovery requires addressing high unemployment and other immediate crises while investing in the infrastructure and green economy that will create jobs in the long-term. Rosa continues to fight to make sure we do not revert back to the practices that created the current economic situation, while ensuring that our government’s economic policy benefits the families and businesses of the Third District.
Rosa also knows that committing to making our economy stronger means lessening the burden of energy costs by investing in new technologies and fuel alternatives that can help reduce gas prices and bring us toward energy independence. It means making sure that we are equipping our children with the best education in the world, so that the next generation can succeed in the new economy. And it means investing in our future by providing quality, affordable health care for Connecticut families.
Look here to learn more about how Rosa is fighting for Connecticut families.
Strengthening Our Economy
Rosa recognizes that true economic recovery requires addressing high unemployment and other immediate crises while investing in the infrastructure and green economy that will create jobs in the long-term. The Jobs Bill and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act have helped to restore many good jobs to Connecticut, but Rosa continues to fight to make sure we do not revert back to the practices that created the current economic situation, and to ensure that our government’s economic policy benefits the families and businesses of the Third District.
Rosa knows that the most important work she can do to strengthen our economy is to help create good jobs for Connecticut. She is a strong supporter of the Jobs Bill recently passed by the House, which features a substantial employment tax credit to businesses that create jobs in America. Rosa fights to keep good jobs in the United States and in Connecticut, working to end the outsourcing that takes jobs away from Connecticut.
Rosa strongly supports the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), which funds infrastructure, tax relief and job creation on America’s Main Streets. Approximately one third of the money allocated in the bill has been in the form of tax relief for the middle class and small businesses. Economists have identified more than 600,000 jobs nationwide that would not exist today without the Recovery Act. They estimate that approximately 50,000 clean energy jobs have been directly created or saved by the bill.
But that does not dent the problem. That is why Rosa fought for passage of a Jobs Bill. The Jobs Bill passed by the House provides tax relief for businesses that hire new workers and extends infrastructure projects that will create jobs now in Connecticut. It redirects money from Wall Street to the American people, through expanded tax credits for families with children and incentives for businesses to create new jobs. Rosa will continue to fight to create good jobs for Connecticut.
The infrastructure of our economy
Rosa has always believed that investing in public works projects like roads, bridges, transit and schools is a crucial element in turning the economy around. Rebuilding our infrastructure creates good jobs that cannot be outsourced, spurs economic growth, and puts our nation on a better path, not just today but for the future. Many economists agree that money put toward infrastructure can address the immediate employment crisis by getting many of those hardest hit by the recession back to work, while increasing our productivity in the long term. The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that every $1 billion in federal highway investment creates 47,500 new jobs and generates more than $2 billion in economic activity.
Rosa has supported investment of millions of dollars in roads, transit projects and other development that can jumpstart the economy and get people working again. Many of those projects have already begun as a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed by Congress, and Rosa will continue to fight to ensure that Connecticut families can benefit from future projects. In addition, Rosa supports the creation of a National Infrastructure Bank, which would depoliticize the process of funding infrastructure projects. This bank would help to create more jobs, improve our infrastructure, and facilitate the economic growth that will enable us to compete in a 21st century economy.
To see where the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is working for Connecticut Families, click here.
Important benefits when working
Rosa believes that a good job allows workplace flexibility, so that employees do not have to choose between their paycheck and their health. She has advocated for legislation that would call for employers to provide paid sick days to their employees, especially in light of recent public health threats such as the H1N1 flu virus. “Paid sick days has always been a good, common-sense, and economically sound proposal for American workers and families,” says Congresswoman DeLauro. “But now, with the threat posed to the public health by H1N1, we can no longer afford to wait to pass legislation that will give the 57 million Americans who cannot take time off work the crucial ability to stay home when they are sick. We need to get this done now.”
Rosa also believes in women earning equal pay for equal work. She also knows that pay equity is not just a matter of fairness; achieving equal pay for women would increase wages for thousands of households and bring thousands of families out of poverty. This January marked the first anniversary of the passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which enables women to hold their employers accountable for wage discrimination based on gender. Lilly Ledbetter is a remarkable woman who has worked tirelessly so that all women can fight wage discrimination, and Rosa was proud to stand with her as this legislation was signed into law. Yet she knows that the work is not finished.
Rosa introduced the Paycheck Fairness Act in the House of Representatives in January 2009, and the bill was passed by the House on January 9, 2009. The bill strengthens the laws against pay discrimination and closes loopholes through which employers can avoid liability for wage discrimination. Rosa will continue the fight for pay equity, as she has for her entire career in Congress.
Securing Quality, Affordable Health Care for Connecticut Families
After many months of debate and more than half a century of work on the part of many presidents who tried to reform our health care system, our country finally succeeded. The health care reform bill President Obama signed into law fulfills the promise of generations of great leaders who fought to secure quality, affordable health care for all Americans. This health care reform is good for the middle class, for small businesses and for the economy, and we will be a better and stronger country because of it. This is a big deal. It is a big deal because we have finally begun to overcome the distortions and power of the insurance companies who want to keep raising rates and dropping you when you are sick. It is a big deal because it brings so many big, long overdue changes that most people just take as common sense.
What people want now is not more fighting but information: what will change and how will it affect me? The core principle of this plan is to keep and strengthen the core health insurance that people already have – and make it more affordable and dependable. Here is what will change, starting now:
Small Businesses: Rosa knows that small businesses are the heart of our economy. They struggle to cover themselves and employees and are forced to buy the most expensive insurance. Because they are the big winners in these health care reforms, so is our economy. Beginning this fall, small businesses will get tax credits when they buy health insurance for their employees and themselves. Soon, they will get to choose and buy much more affordable insurance on a health exchange. They will no longer have to battle insurance companies alone. Larger group rates will enable small businesses to have the same advantages as big companies in purchasing insurance. And small businesses and their employees will have access to a much fuller range of plans than ever before, with a tax credit to make it more affordable.
Insurance companies can no longer discriminate against you and your children because of a pre-existing condition. They can’t drop you when you get sick and they have to take everyone – without charging you any more. They now have to cover maternity care, preventive care, and wellness care – that make us healthier and save us all money. They can no longer impose life-time limits that kick-in when you need it the most.
Being a woman is no longer a pre-existing condition. Rosa fought passionately to provide for the health needs of women in this health care reform, and all American women will gain from this fight. No longer will insurance companies be allowed to treat having had a child or a c-section, or being the victim of domestic violence, as a “pre-existing condition,” nor can they continue to charge individual women up to 50 percent more for the same coverage. That ends with this reform.
Insurance companies in the exchanges will have to get approval to raise their rates by more than medical inflation. When this plan is fully implemented, there will be no more 32 percent rate increases like what we saw from Anthem last year, right here in Connecticut.
These reforms end the power insurance companies yield over doctors and patients and over responsible and working Americans. Middle class Americans will no longer have to fear being dropped by their insurance companies when they need it most.
Health care reform will improve Medicare and provide prescription drug coverage seniors need. These reforms extend the life of Medicare and begin to fill the doughnut hole in coverage that leaves so many seniors vulnerable. Seniors get immediate relief from high prescription drug costs this year, with a $250 rebate and a 50% discount on brand-name drugs in the donut hole. And the reforms include Senator Ted Kennedy’s CLASS act, a hard won initiative to help seniors stay at home independently instead of in an institution.
The new reforms help all Americans to afford health insurance, starting with young people. Within six months, young people will be able to stay on their parents’ insurance policies until they are 26. And by 2014, if young people do not have insurance from an employer, they will be able to buy a plan through the exchanges – and not get denied or charged more because of previous medical history. And they will be eligible the same tax credit as all individuals and businesses in America, to make coverage more affordable.
Because of those changes, 32 million Americans without insurance will be able to afford coverage. Today, these people wait to see a doctor, put off treatment and end up at emergency rooms. The high costs of doing business this way get passed on to everyone else in the form of higher hospital and insurance bills. This reform will change that, through increased coverage for preventive care through Medicare and better-funded Community Health Centers and through coverage for the uninsured.
Deficit Reduction: Health care costs have run totally out of control – with skyrocketing premiums and unchecked government spending on health care – both major contributors to our long-term deficits. This health care reform bends the cost curve downward and raises taxes for those earning over $250,000 to bring down the deficit by $138 billion over the next ten years, and an by additional $1.2 trillion the decade after that. The non-partisan, authoritative CBO confirms that this will reduce spending and cut deficits.
This reform will allow people to make healthy choices. Insurance policies must be transparent and readable, in plain language, and companies must publish their denial rates. Insurance companies will be required to cover prevention and check ups. Rosa understands the importance of investment in prevention to improve the public health and help get costs under control. Recently, she appeared with First Lady Michelle Obama in support of the First Lady’s “Let’s Move” campaign against childhood obesity. Focused efforts on preventing public health threats such as obesity and smoking are a critical element of cost reduction in the health care system.
Rosa has been a champion of one of the most important public health measures in this reform—health labeling for food in restaurants. Rosa worked with the National Restaurant Association to get agreement on labeling of all items in restaurant chains, so consumers can make healthy and informed choices. It is an important step – and it will come within six months. Soon, restaurants and fast food chains will have to display the calorie information of their food on their menus, menu boards, and drive-thru boards, as Subway does now. This will apply to vending machines too, so consumers have the information they need to look after their health while at work or on the go.
Rosa knows it can be hard to cut through the smoke of the partisan battles of Washington to see the changes these reforms will bring. But she wants to assure Connecticut families that virtually every change included here was championed at some point by Republican and Democratic policy experts and political leaders – from both Roosevelts to Nixon to President Clinton. These are moderate and careful changes that have the support of the AARP, the AMA, the hospital association, the Catholoic hospitals and nurses association, the pharmaceutical industry, the major unions, and major business associations.
No one should have to choose between health care coverage and financial security. Rosa knows that health care reform is a smart investment, not just for our health, but for our economic well-being. She is proud to have supported the historic health care legislation passed this year, and she is committed to continuing the fight to secure quality, affordable health care for every American.
Keeping Families Safe
Rosa believes that we must have a strong, coordinated response to threats of terrorism. She supports efforts by the Office of Homeland Security to engage local communities in this response, and has worked with emergency response teams and other community leaders in the Third District to ensure that all Connecticut families are protected.
Rosa also believes that protecting our country means protecting the individual freedoms that we have fought so hard to secure. That is why she believes that torture has no place on America’s agenda, at home or abroad. She believes in uniform standards for interrogation that prohibit the use of inhuman treatment. She also supports President Obama’s efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. Rosa believes that policies such as these are critical to restoring and maintaining our moral high ground on human rights, so that we can effectively gain the support of other nations and maintain our national security.
Supporting our First Responders
Rosa has fought for Connecticut’s first responders. She is proud to have worked as a member of the Appropriations Committee that blocked proposed cuts to the first responder grant programs that ensure Connecticut has the funding it needs for day to day operations and the capability to respond to both potential terrorist attacks and natural disasters. In 2008, Connecticut directly benefited from these efforts, receiving over $10 million through the State Homeland Security Grant Program.
In her position on the Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Subcommittee, Rosa has made criminal justice a priority. The 2009 appropriations bill contained more than $6 million for Connecticut projects, including boosting a regional public safety network for first responders, developing comprehensive prisoner re-entry plans, improving radio communication, and programs for abused or at-risk kids. Rosa also succeeded in fighting for over $400 million in funding for the Office on Violence Against Women and nearly $2 billion for Office of Justice programs.
Regardless of economic conditions, there is always work to be done to ensure the public safety. Rosa believes that we must continue to be vigilant until everyone is safe in their homes and communities, and she intends to keep fighting in Washington to keep our streets safe in Connecticut.
Rosa understands that properly addressing the challenges we face in Afghanistan is vital to our national security. She knows how critical it is to effectively root out terrorists and Taliban militants in this region, both for our own security and to build a better future for the Afghan people. Nevertheless, she remains deeply concerned about the increase in the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan without a more comprehensive exit strategy.
The U.S. military has been conducting operations in Afghanistan for nearly nine years and, while the Bush Administration failed to properly resource our operations in the fight against those that perpetrated the 9/11 attacks, instead choosing to wage a misguided war in Iraq, there is no long-term military solution to this security challenge. Rosa believes that it is in our national security interest to recognize that the terrorist threat is transnational in nature and to pursue a strategy that lessens our military footprint in Afghanistan while further pursuing diplomatic, political and economic policies that help meet the myriad of challenges in the region.
Rosa did not support the authorization to use force in Iraq and has consistently called for a phased, responsible redeployment out of the country. She believes that our troops, along with their families, have sacrificed so much and have performed magnificently in implementing the mission they were given in Iraq. They deserve to be honored accordingly.
Rosa supports the U.S.-Iraq agreement to redeploy U.S. forces out of Iraq and the Obama Administration’s efforts to responsibly implement that agreement and end the war. She believes it is critical that the U.S. combat mission in Iraq end as planned by August 31, 2010 and that we remove all of our troops by the end of 2011.
Rosa understands the threat a nuclear-armed Iran would pose to our interests in the region. As Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability continues virtually unabated, Rosa supports an approach that uses all of the tools-political, diplomatic and economic- in the tool kit to address this difficult challenge.
Rosa is a co-sponsor of the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act, which sanctions foreign companies that sell refined petroleum to Iran or help Iran with its own domestic refining capacity. While she supports the reform movement in Iran, she also supports engagement with the Iranian government in an effort to reach a solution that prevents Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Yet, barring any such agreement, she supports UN Security Council imposed sanctions on Iran, other multilateral sanctions to pressure Iran to curtail its nuclear activities, and, if necessary, unilateral sanctions including those provided for in the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act, as part of an effort to convince the Iranian regime to meet the demands of the international community and change its current course.
Protecting Connecticut Consumers and Homeowners
Rosa has long been an advocate for improved consumer safety. As Chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee that deals with these issues, Rosa has made enormous progress in improving food and drug safety and the safety of consumer products. In addition, she has worked to protect Connecticut consumers from the dangerous practices of banks and mortgage lenders in today’s economy.
Food and Consumer Product Safety
Rosa believes that no Connecticut family should have to worry about the availability of safe, healthy food. As Chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee that oversees all food safety and nutrition programs, Rosa has worked to increase access to safe, healthy food for all Connecticut families, particularly for school children and for our neediest families. She has been a leader in calling for the expansion of programs that provide fresh fruits and vegetables to schools, and in ensuring that food served in schools is completely safe. Rosa has held oversight hearings to examine whether the USDA can do more to prevent unsafe food from entering the school lunch program. She has also introduced legislation to increase inspections of food plants with products at higher risk of contamination, and to ensure that imported food is subject to the same regulations as domestically produced food, to eliminate the public health threat presented by contaminated food.
In addition, Rosa has fought to ensure the safety of consumer products, particularly those for children. After a record number of lead-based toy recalls, she sponsored legislation to toughen the Consumer Product Safety Act and enhance the accountability measures for establishments—both in this country and abroad—that distribute unsafe toys and other products to American families. Rosa believes that the distribution of unsafe consumer products is both completely unacceptable and completely avoidable, and will continue to fight to ensure that no parent has to worry about the safety of the toys and other products that they purchase for their children.
Holding Wall Street Accountable
To Rosa, safety as a consumer means not only protection against unsafe products, but also protection against the practices of corporations and banks that have exacerbated the economic downturn and hurt Connecticut families. She is committed to holding Wall Street executives accountable for their role in the financial crisis, and she will continue to fight against banks and corporations who spend taxpayers’ money recklessly even as Connecticut families struggle. Rosa believes that it is critical to treat the root causes of the economic downturn, enacting policies that will allow for oversight and prevent similar financial calamities in the future.
Energy and the Environment
Rosa believes that an environmentally sound economy can also be a robust economy. That is why she is committed to increasing access to alternative energy sources and more efficient cars and to increasing opportunities for green job creation within the state of Connecticut. In addition, Rosa believes that as stewards of this country for our children and grandchildren, we have an obligation to protect our valuable natural resources.
Lowering Energy Costs
Rosa recognizes that we need a new energy policy to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and lower energy costs for Connecticut families. She has called for a rapid move toward investment in biofuels and new technologies that harness clean energy sources such as wind and solar power. In the short term, Rosa supports addressing escalating energy costs by cracking down on price gouging and manipulation of the energy futures market, and by releasing oil from reserves and drilling on previously designated land.
Through her work as chair of the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, Rosa has helped to boost homegrown biofuel production and has helped to bring increased oversight to our energy and agriculture futures markets to prevent the speculation and manipulation that drives up prices.
Rosa’s work on the appropriations committee has also helped to double the funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which helps many of Connecticut’s most vulnerable families to keep the heat on in the winter and provide cooling during the hottest summer months. Rosa is proud that, because of this program, thousands of Connecticut families will not have to make the impossible choice between food and heat each winter.
A cleaner, smarter energy policy will both lower costs and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs. Research shows that investment in renewable energy creates up to five times as many jobs as the same investment in fossil-fuels. Rosa has worked to increase opportunities for green job creation within the state of Connecticut so that Connecticut workers can be on the forefront of this sector of the economy.
Protecting Connecticut’s Natural Resources
Rosa believes that we must treasure and protect our local national resources. She has been a leader in strengthening important environmental laws, particularly those that protect our waterways. She was an original co-sponsor of multiple critical pieces of legislation to prevent water pollution.
Rosa helped to secure the Long Island Sound’s designation as an Estuary of National Significance, a designation which recognizes the environmental and economic importance of the Sound. She was also instrumental in preventing the construction of a Broadwater Liquefied Natural Gas facility in the Sound. This development would have exploited a valuable natural resource and threatened billions of dollars of commerce and tourism that directly benefit the Connecticut economy and make use of Long Island Sound in environmentally sustainable ways.
Fighting for Women’s Rights
Pay Equity and Access to Employment
Rosa believes strongly in women getting equal pay for equal work. Achieving equal pay for women would increase wages for thousands of households and bring thousands of families out of poverty.
This month marked the first anniversary of the passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which enables women to hold their employers accountable for wage discrimination based on gender. Lilly Ledbetter is a remarkable woman who has worked tirelessly so that all women can fight wage discrimination, and Rosa was proud to stand with her as this legislation was signed into law. Yet she knows that the work is not finished.
Rosa introduced the Paycheck Fairness Act in the House of Representatives in January 2009, and the bill was passed by the House on January 9, 2009. The bill strengthens the laws against pay discrimination and closes loopholes through which employers can avoid liability for wage discrimination. Rosa will continue to fight for pay equity, as she has for her entire career in Congress.
Rosa also believes that we must work to increase women’s access to employment in the changing economy. She has sponsored legislation that would provide training and support to workers who support families, so that they may obtain high-tech jobs and participate in the new economy.
Rosa recognizes the unique challenges that women face in obtaining access to the health care that they need. She has fought to protect women’s reproductive rights, consistently voting to maintain and increase access to safe medical care for pregnant women. In addition, she has introduced legislation focused on prevention of unwanted pregnancy, increasing access to contraceptives and expansion of family planning services to inform pregnant women and girls about all of their options.
Rosa has worked to secure coverage for necessary procedures. Her Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act, which passed the House of Representatives with broad bipartisan support, ensures that decisions about the duration of hospital stay after a mastectomy procedure will be made by a woman and her doctor, rather than by an insurance company.
Finally, the health care reform legislation passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama will dramatically improve American women’s access to medical care, and will end the shameful practice by insurance companies of charging women more for health insurance.
Fighting for Seniors
Rosa believes that we must protect the programs that provide necessary services for Connecticut’s senior citizens. She has pushed for cost-of-living increases to Social Security so that seniors receive the benefits they desperately need to pay increasing food, heating and medical costs. This year, Rosa cosponsored legislation to provide financial support to seniors to fill the gap in Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) in this difficult economy. In addition, she has called for policies that increase private retirement savings through opt-out workplace pension plans and pressuring companies to honor their pension obligations.
Rosa understands the difficulty that seniors and their families face in paying for necessary medical care. She was so proud to be able to vote for a comprehensive health reform package that does so much for seniors, including closing the “donut hole” in prescription drug coverage to ensure that seniors do not have to worry about affording essential medications. The health care legislation passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama will also provide millions of seniors with new Medicare coverage for preventive care and wellness. In addition, Rosa voted for legislation to protect Medicare beneficiaries from significant projected premium increases in the coming year.
Year after year, Rosa has been successful in fighting for the interests of seniors. The current fiscal year budget includes billions of dollars for programs to increase nutrition and supportive services for seniors, and to pursue biomedical research relating to health issues affecting seniors. She has sponsored legislation aimed at addressing the national shortage of geriatric specialists and supported the use of Recovery Act funding for strengthening the geriatric workforce. She has also been a strong advocate for service and education opportunities for older Americans, introducing the ENCORE service act with Senator Chris Dodd, which provides stipends and education awards for seniors who volunteer time and expertise to help communities in need. Rosa also fought for additional legislation to make these stipends transferrable to the recipients’ children and grandchildren.
Rosa has also been instrumental in securing reductions in energy prices that directly benefit our seniors. Through her work on the appropriations committee, Rosa was able to help double the funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which helps many seniors to keep the heat on in the winter and provide cooling during the hottest summer months. Rosa is proud that, because of this program, thousands of Connecticut seniors will not have to make the impossible choice between food and heat each winter.
Support for our Military Families
Rosa believes that it is our duty to provide for the military families who have sacrificed so much to protect us. She has helped to secure a landmark expansion of educational benefits for veterans, providing benefits to cover the cost of a four-year education, along with a stipend for housing, books and other expenses.
Recently, Rosa has focused her efforts on measures to improve the ability of our Defense Department and Department of Veterans’ Affairs to support the wave of troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with mental health needs. She has introduced legislation to improve pre and post-deployment mental health screenings, increase access to mental health services for children and families of deployed soldiers and veterans and improve coordination between the Defense Department and the Veterans Administration.
The state of Connecticut has more than 400,000 veterans, including hundreds returning wounded from Iraq and Afghanistan. During the appropriations process, Rosa has helped to secure large increases in funding for Veterans Affairs, including new initiatives for mental health and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Through the West Haven VA Hospital and the West Haven National Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, this funding is directly benefiting veterans and military families in the Third District.
Helping Young People
Rosa believes that a secure future for our infants, children and youth means a secure future for Connecticut. She has worked tirelessly to ensure that Connecticut children grow up healthy and safe, and that they can access the education and programs they need to be successful in the changing economy.
Rosa sponsored legislation to create the Child Tax Credit, which relieves the burden placed on Connecticut’s working families and stimulates our economy. Economists have praised the Child Tax Credit as one of the best targeted poverty alleviation policies, and the one that provides the best economic stimulus. Rosa has also supported increases to the tax credit, and was successful in securing a substantial expansion of this tax credit in the Jobs Bill passed by Congress, which will benefit many families with children in this difficult economy.
As Chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee that oversees all food safety and nutrition programs, Rosa has worked to increase access to safe, healthy food for Connecticut school children. She has been a leader in calling for the expansion of programs that provide fresh fruits and vegetables to schools, and in ensuring that food served in schools is completely safe. Rosa also appeared recently with Michelle Obama in support of the First Lady’s “Let’s Move” campaign against childhood obesity.
In addition, Rosa has fought to ensure the safety of consumer products designed for children. After a record number of lead-based toy recalls, she sponsored legislation to toughen the Consumer Product Safety Act and enhance the accountability measures for establishments—both in this country and abroad—that distribute unsafe toys and other products to American families. Rosa believes that the distribution of unsafe consumer products to families with children is both completely unacceptable and completely avoidable, and will continue to fight to ensure that no parent has to worry about the safety of the toys and other products that they purchase for their children.