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The first ten Senate bills start the Democratic agenda

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What now in the Senate? Chuck Schumer answered that question from the Senate side of the building via Huffington Post:

Today marks the first day of the new Congress and hopefully a new era of working together on issues that help middle class families. From strengthening our homeland security to making college more affordable, this is what we're all here to do and must get done, starting right now.

Take, for example; the War in Iraq. It now seems that the President will move forward with sending more troops. An escalation in the war, particularly with no change in strategy, makes no sense. We are policing a civil war right now in Iraq. And whether the troops stay three months or three years, as soon as they leave the Sunnis and Shiites will resume fighting with one another and nothing will have been accomplished. The bottom line is we need a change in strategy. Both the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committee will convene hearings next week to help cerate a change of strategy.

As part of the Democratic leadership, we have announced ten new bills - each of which are aimed at helping people. These bills represent important priorities for the Senate and the country.
Senator Reid's first floor statement as Majority Leader laid out those top ten bills:
In the first 10 bills we will introduce this afternoon—and in our on-going oversight of the war in Iraq—we intend to address three priorities of the nation: one, providing real security; two, restoring transparency, accountability and responsibility to the United States government; and three, helping working Americans get ahead by boosting wages and cutting costs in health care, education and energy.

We begin with S. 1, our plan to change the way Washington works.

It was late 2005 when scandals involving lobbyists and lawmakers shocked this nation, and despite the Senate’s best attempts, here we are—two years later—and still, there has not been reform of ethics, lobbying, and earmarks.

The people deserve better, which is why—as our first order of business—we will seek to give Americans the open and accountable government they deserve.

On Monday, we will start with the ethics bill that passed the Senate last year. This bill included important improvements in many areas, but it was not allowed to proceed because of politics in the House.

This year, we will improve that legislation and make additional reforms.

This legislation will include reforms to slow the revolving door between government jobs and lucrative employment with special interests. It will eliminate gifts paid for by lobbyists and interests that hire lobbyists. It will limit privately-funded travel like the notorious golf junkets to Scotland. It will increase disclosure requirements, so that the public will be better informed about the activities of lobbyists. And it will increase penalties for those who break the rules.

With these bipartisan reforms, we will help ensure America has a government as good—and honest—as the people it serves.
S. 2 through S. 10 are also worth a read. It's a solid agenda for a better America.

Amazing that instead of trying to divide America, the Senate leaders are trying to make a better America.

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