[StBernard] E-Update From Senator David Vitter
westley at da-parish.com
Thu Nov 17 21:42:35 EST 2005
IN THIS ISSUE
HONORING OUR VETERANS
SECURING COASTAL RESTORATION FUNDS
PROVIDING RESOURCES FOR EDUCATION AND HEALTH CARE
ANNOUNCING NEW FEDERAL RECOVERY COORDINATOR
KEEPING REIMPORTATION FRONT AND CENTER
Our Armed Forces play a crucial, historic role in protecting our nation and
advancing democracy worldwide. Our country honors every member of the Armed
Forces who has taken up arms to defend America. Veterans Day was November
11, and I ask you to join me this whole month in remembering the brave men
and women who have served our country.
In our last e-update, I mentioned that the Senate Commerce Committee, of
which I am a member, recently included $200 million for coastal restoration
in its bill. In this issue, I have even better news to report, as I was able
to get an additional $1.2 billion for our coast, for a total of $1.4
billion! I'm also happy to report that President Bush answered my request
for a federal recovery coordinator, and that some education and health care
help is on the way to Louisiana.
These are just some of the things I have been working on in Washington.
Please click on the links below to read more about how I have been working
on to benefit families in Louisiana.
P.S. - Please feel free to forward this information to your friends and
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Levee Briefing. On Monday, November 14, I
brought another group of U.S. Senators to the New Orleans area for a tour of
the Lakeview neighborhood and the Ninth Ward. This picture is taken atop the
repaired levee breach in the Ninth Ward, where we received a briefing from
the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Honoring Our Veterans
American veterans and their families have sacrificed for our nation, and we
give thanks to those who have fought for peace. More than 24 million
military veterans still live among us in the United States, with more than
350,000 veterans residing in Louisiana. Each and every one has earned the
thanks of our nation, though we cannot fully repay them for what they have
given our country. The sacrifices our veterans have made to defend our way
of life and the freedoms we enjoy are what make our country strong.
Ensuring veterans' well being and the well being of their families is an
important priority for me. I have always been a strong proponent of taking
care of our nation's veterans. Since coming to Congress in 1999, I have
helped fund a 50 percent increase in spending for veterans' health care and
a 50 percent increase in overall veterans spending.
This month, as we commemorate Veterans Day, is a wonderful opportunity to
show our appreciation to our local veterans. Please rest assured I will
continue to fight on behalf of all who have served our country in past and
current conflicts. Our nation's commitment to those who serve our country is
one of the most solemn promises that Congress must keep.
To read some of the specific ways that I'm working on to make life better
for Louisiana veterans, please visit my website
Securing Coastal Restoration Funds
In the last edition of my e-update, I announced that the U.S. Senate
Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation included $200 million for
coastal restoration for states impacted by hurricanes and disasters.
I'm extremely pleased to report that in addition to that funding, the U.S.
Senate passed the Budget Reconciliation Act, which included an amendment
that I offered providing
$1.2 billion for coastal restoration efforts in the Gulf States. This
funding will come from the sale of analog spectrum that will become
available upon the transition to digital television.
Passage of this amendment is a tremendous opportunity to restore Louisiana's
coast, which was heavily damaged during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. This
$1.2 billion in new revenue will serve as another tool to support our
coastal restoration efforts without taxing the American public or creating
more of a deficit.
Providing Resources for Education and Health Care
The Budget Reconciliation Act included additional help for Louisiana
families. Two amendments included funding for education and health care.
The bill included $1.66 billion in an emergency education package to provide
elementary and secondary education assistance to students and schools
impacted by the hurricanes. The bill includes $1.2 billion for temporary
emergency assistance for schools that accepted displaced students from a
hurricane devastated community. And to help schools affected by the
hurricanes reopen, the bill includes $450 million in grant assistance. An
additional $10 million will assist local education agencies serving homeless
children and youths displaced by the storms.
To help the state of Louisiana with medical costs, the bill provides 100
percent reimbursement for any Medicaid claims paid on behalf of an
individual living in an impacted parish. This relief will last from August
28, 2005, until May 15, 2006.
For more information on all three of these provisions that benefit
Louisiana, please click here
Announcing New Federal Recovery Coordinator
On November 1, President Bush announced that he would create a new Federal
Reconstruction and Recovery Coordinator. Don Powell, chairman of the Federal
Deposit Insurance Corporation, has been named to fill this post.
I'm really pleased that President Bush has named a single, focused federal
coordinator for the hurricane recovery effort. I've pushed very hard for
this position for weeks, including in numerous meetings with the president,
the vice president and many others. In fact, I introduced the Louisiana
Katrina Recovery Administrator Act to have a federal leader exclusively on
the efficient and effective use of federal resources for rebuilding
Southeast Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina.
I look forward to getting to know Don a lot better, given that we'll be
working on these crucial challenges together for some time.
Please click here
<http://www.vitter.senate.gov/PRrecoverycoordinator110105.html> to read
more about this new federal position.
Keeping Reimportation Front and Center
The final Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Bill included a
provision to block the U.S. Trade Representative from including provisions
in future trade agreements to make it more difficult to import drugs.
This is a big win in our continuing battle to lower prescription drug costs
for all Americans. By removing this obstruction created by the
pharmaceutical companies and their army of lobbyists, we are one step closer
to greater access to safe and cheaper prescription drugs.
The legislation, which is similar to a bill I offered earlier this year,
ensures that Congress can pass a law to allow the importation of patented
U.S. prescription drugs without violating current and future trade
agreements. And it keeps future trade agreements free of patent-related
provisions, which only protect pharmaceutical companies and limit consumer
access to cheaper prescription drugs.
To read more about this provision, please click here
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