Edward M. "Ted" Kennedy – Biographical Profile and Positions on the Issues

Previous Candidate for U.S. Senate, Massachusetts

Massachusetts Democratic Party
kennedy.senate.govkennedy.senate.gov
56 Roland StreetBoston, MA 02129
617.565.3170
Biographical
General (political statement of goals, objectives, views, philosophies)

Senator Edward M. Kennedy has represented Massachusetts in the United States Senate for forty-three years. Throughout his career, Kennedy has fought for issues that benefit the citizens of Massachusetts and the nation. His effort to make quality health care accessible and affordable to every American is a battle that Kennedy has been waging ever since he arrived in the Senate. In addition, Kennedy is active on a wide range of other issues, including education reform and immigration reform, raising the minimum wage, defending the rights of workers and their families, strengthening civil rights, assisting individuals with disabilities, fighting for cleaner water and cleaner air, and protecting and strengthening Social Security and Medicare.

Kennedy is currently the senior Democrat on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee in the Senate. He also serves on the Judiciary Committee, where he is the senior Democrat on the Immigration Subcommittee, and on the Armed Services Committee, where he is the senior Democrat on the Seapower Subcommittee. He is also a member of the Congressional Joint Economic Committee and the Congressional Friends of Ireland, and a trustee of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

Personal (gender, age, marital status, spouse's name and age, children's name and ages, home town, current residence)

Hometown: Hyannis Port

Born: February 22, 1932; Boston, Mass.

Family: Wife, Victoria Reggie Kennedy; three children (Kara, Edward Jr., and Patrick Kennedy), two stepchildren (and Curran and Caroline Raclin), and four grandchildren.

Current residence: Hyannis Port, MA.

Education (times and places of schools, colleges, major, degrees, activities, sports)

Harvard U., B.A. 1956 (government); International Law School, The Hague (The Netherlands), attended 1958; U. of Virginia, LL.B. 1959

Profession (professional and work experience outside politics)

Lawyer

Military (branch, years of service, active duty experience, highest rank, medals, honors, type and date of discharge)

Army, 1951-53

Political (dates and titles of previously held political offices)

Senator Kennedy was elected in 1962 to finish the final two years of the Senate term of his brother, Senator John F. Kennedy, who was elected President in 1960. Since then, Kennedy has been re-elected to seven full terms, and is now the second most senior member of the Senate.

Religion (current and past religious affiliations, beliefs)

Roman Catholic

Accomplishments (significant accomplishments, awards, achievements)

1964 Senator Kennedy made his maiden speech on the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which was signed on July 2, 1964, and the Senator strongly supported the Economic Opportunity Act, which was signed on August 20, 1964. The EOA stated that programs would be "developed, conducted and administered with the maximum feasible participation and the residents of the areas and members of the groups served." It also established community action programs, including ABCD, to mobilize resources that could be used in a direct attack on the roots of poverty

1966 Senator Kennedy, through an amendment to the Economic Opportunity Act, created a national health center system. In1966, the nation's first comprehensive neighborhood health center was established by Tufts University in cooperation with ABCD at the Columbia Point Housing Project in Dorchester.

1968 As a result of Senator Kennedy's championing of bilingual education, the Bilingual Education Act of 1968 was passed by Congress. The Act mandated schools to provide bilingual education programs, which was the first time Congress had endorsed funding for bilingual education. The Bilingual Program, a federally funded program through Title VII of the Elementary and Secondary Education act, was updated with the Improving American's Schools Act of 1994

1970 Senator Kennedy continued his commitment to senior citizens by supporting Older American Community ServiceEmployment. He also advocated the Voting Rights Act Extension, maintaining the Civil Rights gained in the 60's. Dueto the skyrocketing costs of home heating, particularly for low-income families and elders, the Senator actively worked on creating a fuel assistance program for the low-income. Senator Kennedy was reelected to the Senate.

1971 Senator Kennedy became Chairman of the Senate Health Subcommittee, enhancing his ability to champion the cause of quality health care for all Americans

1972 A program that Senator Kennedy holds dear to his heart is the Meals on Wheels pr [Response was truncated to maximum response length of 2000 characters.]

National Security & Terrorism
Bioterrorism

Last Congress, I worked with Senator Frist to pass a bioterrorism bill. As the anthrax attacks of 2001 made clear, bioterrorism poses a great threat to the United States. Our bill strengthened hospitals, public health agencies & laboratories across the country, and increased the level of food safety. It is important that we make sure to continue strengthening our public health infrastructure. We must also work to implement common sense and workable program for smallpox vaccination.

Source: Candidate Website (10/07/2006)

Jobs
Jobs, a General Statement

No Senator has done more to invest in America's working families than Senator Kennedy. He fought for passage of the Workforce Investment Act, which provides community-based, comprehensive training opportunities for job seekers. He has fought for increased training opportunities at the old Fort Devens site and at Malden Mills. He has long been a champion of raising the minimum wage to make sure that working families can keep pace with the increasing costs of living.

Work and Family

In addition, the spirit of September 11th calls for policies that not only help working men and women earn a decent living, but ensure them time to meet their obligations to their families and their communities.

We must stop asking parents to solve the work-family conflict on their own. We are in a new time and a new place, and we need new solutions. And we must ask private businesses to be partners in this mission. Our future depends on the development of healthy, well-educated, responsible citizens. Yet our government provides far less support for working and non-working parents than the governments of other nations. This abdication of modern responsibility contributes to the high rate of child poverty in the nation, and the tremendous pressure on today's parents to choose between the jobs they need and the children they love.

We must embrace a new model of the workplace one that values the needs of parents and all others who care for children. Parents should have the right to leave work to care for a sick child or participate in a parent-teacher conference. New parents deserve assistance so they can afford leave to care for their newborn or newly adopted children. Part-time work must become an affordable and valued alternative to full-time work. Businesses should employ technologies that offer the flexibility to work from home. No one should be required to work overtime when they know it is not healthy, safe, or feasible. We must secure more affordable, more accessible, high [Response was truncated to maximum response length of 2000 characters.]

Source: Candidate Website (10/07/2006)

Unemployment Insurance (UI)

As the economy recovers slowly, tough times have fallen on too many workers. More than 8 and a half million workers are unemployed and many are falling through the cracks of the unemployment insurance system. Thanks to strong Democratic leadership, we have twice extended unemployment benefits for those unable to find jobs in the tough economy. Yet, the opposition would not agree to cover the one million Americans who have run out of all of their state and federal benefits and who remain unemployed. In addition, many low-wage and part-time workers remain without benefits because of outdated eligibility requirements. Benefit levels are too low to keep families out of poverty. And workers who've paid into the unemployment system are running out of benefits, with no job prospects, and no alternative safety net. It's time to modernize the unemployment insurance system to meet the needs of workers in today's economy. That is why I have introduced the Economic Security Act of 2003 to cover those workers who have worked hard, played by the rules and been left out of the safety net.

Source: Candidate Website (10/07/2006)

Workers Benefits

Health and Safety

More than thirty years after the passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, far too many workers are still being hurt or killed on the job. When the Occupational Safety and Health Administration focuses on tougher enforcement and standard-setting, real improvements in injury rates have been achieved. Unfortunately, the current Administration has rolled-back worker protections for ergonomic injuries and diminished enforcement activity. Millions of injured workers have their lives shattered and their careers destroyed just for doing their job well.

The leading cause of workplace injuries in the United States are ergonomic hazards. Each year, America's workers suffer 1.8 million ergonomic injuries, many of which could have been easily prevented. They deserve a standard which will ensure that they are safe on the job from these injuries. That is why I support requiring the Department of Labor to issue a new ergonomics standard. It's time for a real standard that protects workers on the job.

Source: Candidate Website (10/07/2006)

Economy
Economy, a General Statement

Massachusetts has led the nation in an unprecedented period of economic growth and prosperity, and I have fought for investments in our infrastructure, our technology base, and our people to enhance and expand opportunities for working families. As we enter the next century, I am working to build upon our past success and make sure that no one is left behind.

Economic development is a critical component to our continued prosperity, and I have fought for federal support for projects across Massachusetts. From industrial parks in Pittsfield, Gloucester, and Fitchburg to the new Quincy Shipyard, I have helped foster the creation of small businesses and jobs in every corner of the state. Senator Kennedy has also obtained historic appropriations to rebuild the state's transportation infrastructure. From the Third Tunnel / Artery Project in Boston -- the largest appropriation for a federal construction project in history -- to Union Station in Worcester and Springfield to Intermodal transportation facilities across the state, Massachusetts will be on the move for years to come.

I have also been working hard to help the high technology industries that are making Massachusetts a leader nationwideby fighting for a doubling of the federal investment in research and development, as well as a permanent Research and Development Tax Credit. I will continue to work to improve FDA to better support of our biotechnology and biomedical companies.

I helped create the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, which provides seed capital to fund explorative research by small businesses. I worked to expand SBIR to 11 agencies, and doubling of its budget. Massachusetts now ranks second in the nation in SBIR awards. Our state also ranks third in research funding from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.

No Senator has done more to invest in America's working families than Senator Kennedy. He fought for passage of the Workforce Investme [Response was truncated to maximum response length of 2000 characters.]

Source: Candidate Website (10/07/2006)

Education
Education, a General Statement

One of our top priorities in the 109th Congress and beyond is to see that America has the best public schools in the world. We must continue to stand up for a commitment to quality education for our citizens from birth through college -- as a cornerstone of America's common purpose. Today, this is America's common problem. While school and college populations are surging, the shortage of trained teachers is worsening, as is the shortage of child care workers. For 27 years, the federal government has failed to live up to the pledge of full funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. And now it is also time to make No Child Left Behind a reality, by providing the resources necessary for the reforms promised in the act. It is time to make education a genuine national priority -- to invest in more training for teachers, more after-school activities, and smaller class sizes, not larger ones. And more accountability for results means more investment is needed, not less.

Source: Candidate Website (10/07/2006)

No Child Left Behind Act, a General Statement

"No Child Left Behind" Should Mean What It Says

Leaving no child behind means providing a quality teacher in every classroom; it meansproviding the resources necessary to make real improvement in schools that are not makingthe grade; and it means closing the achievement gap between children from wealthy familiesand children from low- and middle-income families. This year, Democrats tried to remedy the President's underfunding of the No Child Left Behind Act by proposing an amendment to the budget that would have increased funding by $8.6 billion.

The Democratic plan would have:

Provided the resources to improve training for 200,000 teachers and hire an additional 100,000 teachers;

Funded after-school care for an additional 1.4 million children; and

Helped improve over 25,000 schools that are not making adequate progress.

Source: Candidate Website (10/07/2006)

Improving Education

To achieve this, we must start by putting a qualified teacher in every classroom. Given the challenges of increasing teacher retirements and record-breaking school enrollments, we must recruit and train hundreds of thousands of new qualified teachers in the coming years. At the same time, to maximize student potential, we must work to reduce class size -- especially in the early grades -- so every child can get the attention and instruction they need to develop and prosper.

In order to provide the setting for world-class students and teachers, we must immediately provide greater resources to repair, expand and modernize our nation's crumbling school buildings and turn them into first-rate educational facilities. We simply cannot expect 21st century students to learn and thrive in 19-century buildings. Instead, we need to develop programs that allow all schools and students access to computers, the Internet and the best educational technology available. We'll work hard to provide the funding, tax incentives, and community partnerships to help states and school districts meet their school construction and technology priorities. And we'll continue to learn valuable lessons from innovative charter schools, which show promise in raising performance and standards for all our schools.

With the nation's youngest children, we must be smarter from the start. A dollar spent on early learning may well be the most effective education dollar of all - more effective than a dollar spent at any other stage of schooling. With the nation's youngest children, we must be smarter from the start. We already have a roadmap to help us support the 20 million children in our nation under the age of 5. It's time for us to invest in supporting and developing those that care for and teach our youngest children, and to focus on the shared goals of school readiness and healthy development. In order to provide the experiences necessary for our youngest children to succeed later in school, we [Response was truncated to maximum response length of 2000 characters.]

Source: Candidate Website (10/07/2006)

Student Loans, Scholarships and Pell Grants

Finally, for too long, the doors of higher education have been closed to too many because they cannot afford the cost. And this year and next double-digit tuition increases and tight education budgets in the states will make it harder to realize the hope of a college education.

Just as Social Security is a promise to senior citizens, we should make "Education Security" a promise to every young American. If you work hard, if you finish high school, if you are admitted to a college, we should guarantee that you can afford the cost of the four years it takes to earn a degree. Surely, we have reached a stage in America where we can say it and mean it - cost should never again be a disqualification for college.

Fulfilling that pledge will require a renewed resolve by everyone involved - families, colleges, states, the federal government. Families should pay what they can afford. Colleges should commit to keeping tuition increases down. States should continue as much support as they can for students, in hard economic times. And federal support should make up the gap that remains.

Making Higher Education More Affordable

A college education is becoming more and more important to success in the new economy. Workers with a college degree make 75 percent more than those without. Over a lifetime, a person with a college degree earns $1 million more than someone with only a high school diploma. But today, college is too expensive for too many families.

Democrats have a plan to help those families:

Increase the maximum Pell grant from $4,050 to $5,100. Under the Democratic plan, 4.8 million college students would see an average increase of $600 in their Pell grants, and almost 500,000 students would receive grants for the first time.

- Expand the HOPE scholarship program by doubling the tax credit, extending the program from two years to four years, and making it refundable. Over three million hard-pressed, middle-class families would see an increase of $9,00 [Response was truncated to maximum response length of 2000 characters.]

Source: Candidate Website (10/07/2006)

Head Start

Head Start is one of the great success stories in American education. Over the past four decades, it has helped millions of low-income children enter elementary school healthier, better able to communicate with others, more interested in books, and ready to learn.

Unfortunately, only 60 percent of children eligible for Head Start are receiving services, and only 3 percent of children eligible for Early Head Start are getting services.

Last year, Democrats fought to expand Head Start enrollment, and we also fought to expand Early Head Start to serve more than 100,000 infants and toddlers in need.

In addition, Democrats want to provide more help to working parents by increasing the number of children who are able to participate in full-time programs instead of part-time programs.

Source: Candidate Website (10/07/2006)

Special Education

Fully Funding the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) or special education

Democrats are committed to fulfilling our obligation to ensure a free and appropriate public education for all children with disabilities. To accomplish that, we need to fully fund the IDEA at the level Congress promised when it enacted the program.

Source: Candidate Website (10/07/2006)

Trade
Trade, a General Statement

Promoting Trade and Exports

* Fought for creation of Boston Export Assistance Center

* Supported the Trade Adjustment Assistance Program

* Promoted opportunities for increased export of Massachusetts products

Source: Candidate Website (10/07/2006)

Medical Insurance
Health Insurance, a General Statement

We also must fight to preserve and improve Medicare, so that America's workers will enjoy the secure and happy retirement they've worked hard for all their lives. If Medicare is to remain financially sound for the 21st century, we need to take strong action now to control costs, maintain affordability, and strengthen and improve benefits. The President and Congressional Republicans are advancing token plans that do not merit the Medicare label and would not pass a truth-in-advertising test. The President's budget for prescription drugs and Medicare reform, combined, would cover only about ten cents on the dollar of the prescription drug costs of the elderly. The House Republican plan offers only meager and inadequate benefits. It would force senior citizens into unreliable pharmaceutical HMOs as the price of obtaining any benefits at all, and it creates perverse incentives for employers to drop the solid prescription drug coverage they now provide.

Source: Candidate Website (10/07/2006)

Health & Medical
Health & Medical Care, a General Statement

There is no issue more important to the well-being of American families than access to high quality, affordable health care. While our ultimate goal remains universal health security for every American citizen, we can and will take smaller steps along the way to bring us closer to that goal.

Yet, forty one million Americans now have no health insurance at all. Over the course of a year, 30 million more will lack coverage for an extended period. It is unacceptable that any American is uninsured. It is shameful that forty-one million Americans are uninsured. And it is intolerable that the number of uninsured is now rising again and, if we do nothing, could reach more than 52 million by the end of the decade.

Quality, affordable health insurance for every American is a matter of simple justice. Health care is not just another commodity. Good health is not a gift to be rationed based on ability to pay. The time is long overdue for America to join the rest of the industrial world in recognizing this fundamental right.

Given the dramatic rise in Americans' reliance on managed care organizations to provide that health security, last Congress we worked in the Senate to pass a meaningful patients' bill of rights to curb the abuses that too often put profits ahead of people. We intend to pass this bill again, and work with the House to make sure that this important bill can be passed and put on the President's desk.

Since we stand on the threshold of extraordinary breakthroughs in treatment of many dread diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and Alzheimer's disease, we are committed to further increases in our national investment in medical and biomedical research.

We are also working to expand our preventive health services -- especially for those who are underserved or uninsured. We need to improve screening rates for diseases like colorectal cancer, which is both preventable and curable through early detection. We need to improve access t [Response was truncated to maximum response length of 2000 characters.]

Source: Candidate Website (10/07/2006)

Children's Health

We also need to strengthen our commitment to ensuring that all Americans have access to quality care. Last Congress, I introduced the Family Care Act of 2001. This important piece of legislation provided funding to states to improve enrollment of children in Medicaid and CHIP, expands coverage to parents of children in CHIP, gives states the options to cover vulnerable populations like legal immigrants, and gives grants for innovative approaches to covering the uninsured. Clearly, Family Care is the next reasonable step to take in ensuring that low-income parents and children have peace of mind and know that there is somewhere they can turn for the health care they need.

Source: Candidate Website (10/07/2006)

Mental Health

Another of our highest priorities is providing access to affordable, high-quality mental health services. For too long, those who suffer from mental illness have suffered needlessly. The stigma and discrimination against those with mental disorders prevents so many from receiving the treatments that could help them lead happy and productive lives. It is time for change. Along with the late Senator Paul Wellstone, and Senator Pete Domenici, I was an original co-sponsor of the Mental Health Equitable Treatment Act, which provides full parity for all mental illnesses by prohibiting insurance companies from imposing unfair treatment or financial requirements for mental health services. Senator Domenici and I intend to introduce this bill again, and pass it in memory of Senator Wellstone.

I have also been working hard to provide more funding for effective mental health and substance abuse services for those who so desperately need them. Through the Children's Health Act of 2000, we authorized programs for: emergency mental health centers, training for teachers to recognize the signs of mental illness in their students, diversion services for individuals with mental illness in the criminal justice system, integrated treatment for individuals with co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders, and special treatment for children in the child welfare system in need of mental health services.

Source: Candidate Website (10/07/2006)

Business
Small Business

* Worked to obtain support through SBA to help small businesses address the Y2K computer problem

* Fought for increased funding in the Small Business Innovation Research Program; MA is now second in the nation in SBIR awards

* Acquired support for a revolving loan fund for the Cape and the Islands to assist small business growth for Native Americans

Source: Candidate Website (10/07/2006)

Labor Wages & Unions
Wages, a General Statement

We also need to fight for fair wages for all Americans. In the last four years, the cost of housing has gone up 44 percent, college tuition is up 35 percent, and the cost of health insurance is up 59 percent. That's a struggle for any family, but for minimum wage workers, it's nearly impossible. A minimum wage employee who works full-time, 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, earns only $10,700 a year -- not enough to keep a single parent with children above the poverty line. Millions of minimum wage workers work hard, play by the rules, and barely scrape by. They're forced to make impossible choices every day -- between paying rent and buying groceries, between paying the heating bill and buying clothes or going to the doctor.

Source: Candidate Website (10/07/2006)

Unions, a General Statement

The fundamental right of workers to associate freely and join together to form a union is under threat today. One in every four employers unlawfully fires workers when they try to form a union. Far too often, workers are threatened and intimidated when they seek to exercise their fundamental rights in the workplace. Once workers demonstrate their support for forming a union, they face enormous obstacles in getting a first contract because too many employers refuse to bargain in good-faith. I am working hard to ensure that the rights of all workers are respected in the workplace because America's workers deserve a chance to create a better life for their families.

Unions make a big difference in the lives of America's workers. Union workers earn 25 percent more than non-union workers. Unions make the difference between poverty-level wages and a decent living for millions of workers today. Union workers are almost twice as likely to have a pension plan and much more likely to have decent health benefits. Protecting the rights of workers is a matter of basic fairness and one of the best ways to guarantee America's families the income and health care they deserve.

Source: Candidate Website (10/07/2006)

Minimum Wage

I've proposed increasing the federal minimum wage to $7.25 an hour -- 70 cents now, 70 more cents a year from now, and another 70 cents a year after that. These modest increases will add $4,400 to the income of full-time, year-round workers. That's enough for a low-income family of three to afford a year of groceries, a year and a half of heat and electricity, more than nine months of rent, or the full two-year tuition for a community college degree. Raising the minimum wage will enable millions of hard-working Americans to afford a decent home and a better quality of life. No one who works for a living should have to live in povertyEqual Pay

All workers deserve the opportunity to receive fair pay for their work. Yet even today, women earn significantly lower pay then men for work on jobs that require equal skills, effort and responsibility and that are performed under similar working conditions. These pay disparities exist in both the private and public sectors. According to the most recent Census Bureau data, white women earn only 74 cents for every dollar earned by white men. Women of color fare even worse. African-American women earn only 64 cents and Hispanic women earn only 52 cents for every dollar earned by white men. In many instances, the pay disparities can only be due to continued intentional discrimination or the lingering effects of past discrimination. It is disgraceful in these modern times that millions of hard-working women and people of color are still battling wage disparities and pay discrimination on the job. In response, I have co-sponsored two bills, the "Paycheck Fairness Act" and the "Fair Pay Act of 2001," both of which seek to eliminate the continuing problem of wage discrimination against women and people of color.

Source: Candidate Website (10/07/2006)

Transportation
Transportation, a General Statement

Transportation Infrastructure

Obtained highest transportation appropriation in history for Third Tunnel/Artery project

Obtained funding to dredge riverways for Massachusetts ports

Acquired resources to develop Union Station's in Worcester and Springfield

Obtained support for intermodal transportation facilities in Gloucester, Lowell, Westfield, and Pittsfield

Obtained funding for high-speed rail linking Boston and New York

Obtained funding for a range of other transportation infrastructure projects

Source: Candidate Website (10/07/2006)

Civil Rights
USA Patriot Act

For months, we have been ready to roll up our sleeves and get back to work on the PATRIOT Act, but the White House has continued to block bipartisan efforts to improve the original bill and accept oversight of its intrusive surveillance programs. Again, and again, the Administration has refused to join in serious negotiations with Republican and Democrats on matters of national security, including the National Security Agency's warrantless wiretaps and the FBI's use of National Security Letters. The latest proposal offers improvements, and deserves to pass; however, it is unacceptable and undemocratic that further amendments could not even be considered.

We need to implement these improvements quickly given the Administration's disregard of Congressional oversight. The proposed re-authorization bill requires public reports on the use of two of the most controversial provisions, Section 215 and National Security Letters. It also requires the Inspector General to audit their use, and it mandates a report on any data-mining activities by the Justice Department.

Americans deserve national security laws that protect both our security and our constitutional rights, and more changes are clearly needed. One of the most glaring omissions in the proposal is the failure to include a four-year sunset provision on National Security Letters, even though it would be consistent with the new reporting and auditing requirements that will take effect.

The latest changes provide some additional protection for libraries, but these safeguards should apply to all of the means used by the government to obtain sensitive information, including financial documents and library records. We also need a report on the government's use of computerized searches from all federal agencies and we will continue to seek such a requirement as part of efforts toward other reforms.

We have not yet achieved the 9/11 Commission's goal to maintain governmental powers that enhance our national sec [Response was truncated to maximum response length of 2000 characters.]

Source: Candidate Website (10/07/2006)

Homes
Housing, a General Statement

* Obtained federal support for senior citizen housing statewide

* Supported revolving loan programs to create new housing units

* Obtained support for new housing unites for persons with AIDS

Source: Candidate Website (10/07/2006)

Prescription Drugs
Prescription Drugs, a General Statement

A particularly urgent problem is the need to provide prescription drug coverage under Medicare. Prescription drugs represent the largest source of out-of-pocket medical costs for senior citizens. Medicare beneficiaries fill an average of eighteen prescriptions a year, and the average senior citizen takes an average of four to six prescription drugs a day. Costs of $100 a month or more are not uncommon. With tremendous medical breakthroughs looming on the horizon, many of the miracle cures of the future will be based on new, effective, but very costly prescription drugs. Senior citizens must have affordable access to these cures.

Source: Candidate Website (10/07/2006)

Bringing Generic Drugs on the Market Sooner

One other part of the problem is the mushrooming cost of prescription drugs. One powerful engine to control costs is competition from generic drugs. Generic drugs account for 42% of all prescriptions, but account for only 8% of drug spending. When a generic competitor to a brand name drug is available, it typically cuts the cost to the consumer by half or more. But in recent years, some drug companies have manipulated the law to keep generic competitors off the market long after their patents have expired.

It is time to close the loopholes that allow drug companies to exploit patients by blocking generic competition. It is time to regulate direct-to-consumer advertising more effectively, to assure that the freedom recently granted companies to advertise their products serves a useful public health purpose. It is time to crack down on improper promotion practices. It is time to make sure that patients pay their fair share-but not more than their fair share-of drug costs. Senator Schumer, McCain and I introduced a bill last year that cut out these loop holes, but it failed to pass the House

Source: Candidate Website (10/07/2006)

Social Security & Pensions
Social Security, a General Statement

No government program reflects the values of the American people better than Social Security. We are a community that takes care of our most vulnerable members: the elderly, the disabled, and children whose parents have died prematurely. Two out of every three retirees receive over one-half of their income from Social Security. Without that guaranteed monthly benefit check, most of them would be living in poverty. Social Security does much more than provide retirement income for seniors. It also provides lifetime disability insurance protecting those who become seriously injured or ill. When a worker becomes disabled before reaching retirement age, Social Security is there to help him and his family. And when a worker dies leaving minor children, Social Security provides financial support for those children until they reach adulthood.

Social Security places a secure foundation beneath the feet of all Americans, helping them to pursue their dreams with confidence that there is a safety net in place if they need support in a crisis or in old age.

Social Security is not a handout, it is an earned benefit. It is the most cost effective and affordable way for most Americans to purchase disability insurance, survivors? benefits for our children, and an inflation-adjusted annuity to finance retirement. It has worked well for four generations of Americans, and it will continue to work well for future generations as long as we hold true to the fundamental American values that Social Security embodies.

We do need to make a mid-course correction in Social Security, just as we have several times in the past, so that the program will be able to pay full benefits for decades beyond 2040. We must make sure that Social Security has the resources it needs to pay full benefits to future generations. The reality is that Social Security's financial problem is very manageable if we are committed to saving the program. The cost of making Socia [Response was truncated to maximum response length of 2000 characters.]

Source: Candidate Website (10/07/2006)

Privatizing Social Security

The greatest threat to Social Security's survival is the danger posed by privatization schemes, not the retirement of the baby boomers. While the ratio of workers to retirees is changing, the impact of that shift can be fully addressed without abandoning the guaranteed lifetime benefit commitment which is at the heart of the program. The more serious threat is posed by those who would dismantle Social Security in the guise of saving it. The Bush Administration is waging a relentless campaign of half-truths and false alarms designed to convince the public that Social Security as we know it is on the verge of bankruptcy and cannot be sustained. They know that the only way to sell their deeply flawed privatization plan is to convince people that there is no alternative. Their goal is the frighten the American people into accepting a private account proposal that would take the "security" out of Social Security, leaving senior citizens at the mercy of the stock market to finance their most basic needs.

The Bush Administration's claims are inaccurate and the American people are justifiably suspicious of them. Let me provide a few important facts. There is no imminent financial crisis. Social Security will remain on solid ground for decades to come. The current Social Security program has sufficient financing to pay full benefits for nearly forty years or more. The latest Social Security Trustees Report states that the program has sufficient revenue to pay full benefits until 2041. The Congressional Budget Office projects sufficient revenue to pay full benefits even longer, until 2052. After that, annual payroll taxes coming into the program would provide sufficient revenue to pay 74% to 80% of scheduled benefits. What we need to do is provide Social Security with enough additional revenue so that it can continue to pay full benefits beyond the next forty years. That is a problem we can solve without making fundamental changes in the way Socia [Response was truncated to maximum response length of 2000 characters.]

Source: Candidate Website (10/07/2006)

Pensions, a General Statement

We must protect the pensions and retirement savings of all workers. The recent shocking abuses of corporate power, including those that occurred at Enron and WorldCom, have left thousands of workers high and dry and made retirement security a compelling issue for the 47 million American workers who have invested their retirement savings in individual 401(k) accounts. These debacles reveal a crisis of corporate values, and demonstrate the urgency of reforming 401(k) plans, which have become the bedrock of America's retirement system.

That's why I introduced legislation in the last Congress that will offer workers real protections for their retirement savings. My bill penalizes corporate executives and accounting firms who mislead workers and allows workers to recover what they lost. My bill requires 401(k) plans with assets that are over-concentrated in company stock to insure against corporate wrongdoing, and requires plans to give workers quarterly benefit statements with a special "Over-Concentration Notice" when company stock exceeds 20 percent of total investments.

My bill also guarantees workers real investment choice by allowing them to sell all their shares of company stock as soon as they have worked for the company three years, and requires employers to provide plan participants with the same shareholder information about company stock that corporate shareholders receive. My bill also insures that workers will be given the best information regarding their investments. Workers will have access to independent investment advice that will be provided without financial conflicts of interest.

We must also protect women's retirement security. My bill, the Women's Pension Protection Act, will give women greater say in how 401(k) money is paid out, give widows more generous survivor benefits, and grant divorced spouses expanded opportunities to receive a share of their former husbands' pension benefits after a divorce. These simple improvements in our priva [Response was truncated to maximum response length of 2000 characters.]

Source: Candidate Website (10/07/2006)

Food & Agriculture
Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

FDA Modernization

* Worked to achieve passage of the FDA Modernization Act, streamlining the process to bring new treatments for life-threatening disease to market and improving effectiveness of regulatory process

* Worked to achieve administrative improvements in operation of the FDA

Source: Candidate Website (10/07/2006)

Alcohol, Cigarettes & Gambling
Smoking and Tobacco Buyout

We also need to take urgent action against our country's leading cause of preventable death-smoking. Cigarettes kill over 400,000 Americans each year and generate $75 billion a year in avoidable health care costs. Last year, Senator Mike DeWine and I introduced legislation to give the FDA the authority it needs to reduce cigarette smoking by preventing tobacco advertising which targets children, to prevent the sale of tobacco products to minors, to help smokers overcome their addiction, and to prevent the tobacco industry from misleading the public about the dangers of smoking. It is time to tell these modern-day merchants of death that the American people will no longer tolerate the carnage they cause.

Source: Candidate Website (10/07/2006)

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