Ben In The News

June 09, 2010

BP OIL SPILL IS A WAKE-UP CALL TO OUR NATION

     As Americans continue to watch the failure of BP to turn off the oil spigot caused by the Deepwater Horizon explosion, we are distressed by the loss of life and sickened by the destruction to our Gulf Coast. Americans also are concerned about potential damage that could be caused as currents carry the oil eastward around Florida and possibly up the Atlantic Coast. As we watch and pray for a resolution of the biggest oil spill in our nation's history, there are several ke… Continue Reading


June 01, 2010

IT'S TIME TO PROHIBIT AIRLINES FROM CHARGING FOR CARRY-ON BAGGAGE

The summer travel season has started and many air travelers are planning ahead for what they may encounter. Unfortunately, over the years air travelers have become all too familiar with the additional fees that are often tacked on for traveling.   From the cost of food to headphones to blankets, the number of amenities that often require an additional charge -- unfortunately -- has become common place and is growing.   In fact, one carrier recently announced it will charge $45 for carry-on… Continue Reading


May 24, 2010

SENATE MOVES FORWARD ON WALL STREET REFORM

   Last week, the Senate took an important step forward in putting an end to Wall Street's recklessness and in protecting Americans from future financial meltdowns caused by greed, arrogance and irresponsibility. In passing the Restoring American Financial Stability Act , the Senate put strict new regulations in place to protect consumers and moved us closer to ending the era of "too big to fail."   In December, the House passed its version of Wall Street reform legislati… Continue Reading


May 07, 2010

WE NEED A PERMANENT MORATORIUM ON DRILLING OFF THE ATLANTIC COAST

Our nation is currently witnessing what could become the largest, most catastrophic environmental disaster in our history - a disaster that I do not want to see repeated along the Mid-Atlantic Coast, possibly threatening Ocean City, Assateague Island National Seashore, the Chesapeake Bay, and the economic health of Maryland.   My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the 11 workers who died on April 20 when a devastating explosion rocked BP's Deepwater Horizon oil rig 50 miles of… Continue Reading


April 19, 2010

EARTH DAY MARKS 40TH ANNIVERSARY

For 40 years, Americans have joined together annually to celebrate the Earth and dedicate themselves to protecting and renewing the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the land that sustains our families.   This year, along with millions of Americans across the country, I'm making a commitment to improve our sustainability and move us closer to a clean energy economy. I am encouraged by the momentum in Congress for clean energy legislation that will create millions of… Continue Reading


April 01, 2010

CONGRESS ACTS TO PUT MORE MONEY INTO PELL AND OTHER FEDERAL COLLEGE AID PROGRAMS

Families who have struggled - or who are currently struggling -- to send a child to college will be pleased that Congress has acted to remove the middle man from student loan programs and put the money that is saved into helping more students attend college.     Congress recently voted to stop providing costly subsidies to banks to make student loans.   Ending these subsidies to banks will save approximately $61 billion over t… Continue Reading


March 26, 2010

WHAT HEALTH CARE REFORM MEANS FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY

After more than a year of public debate, Congress has taken an historic step by enacting the Patients Protection Affordable Health Care Act -- legislation that will benefit every American.   My goal has always been to pass a health care reform bill that would reduce the escalating costs of health care and provide American families with affordable, quality health coverage without adding to our federal deficit.   This bill achieves all of those goals. … Continue Reading


March 10, 2010

FOCUSING ON THE ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF MARYLAND WOMEN DURING WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH

March is officially Women's History Month and it gives us an opportunity to remember and pay special tribute to the many contributions that women have made to our state and to our nation.   From civil rights leaders to medical pioneers, from American patriots to religious leaders and environmentalists, Maryland women have made enormous contributions to our nation's history, progress and knowledge.   As we approach the bicentennial celebration of the War of 1812, it… Continue Reading


March 04, 2010

CENSUS 2010: ALL AMERICANS NEED TO BE COUNTED

Census Day comes only once every 10 years and it's one of the most important days of the decade. That's because it's when everyone in our nation is counted.  In addition to telling us about ourselves, the results ensure fair representation in Congress and the amount of funding that states will receive for a multitude of critical services, including money for schools, roads, and hospitals.    The 2010 Census will have a profound impact on Maryland.  The federal government distributes more than … Continue Reading


February 25, 2010

RECOGNIZING LEADING AFRICAN AMERICAN MARYLANDERS IN AMERICAN MEDICINE

I rise today on the occasion of Black History Month to recognize the accomplishments of three leading Marylanders in American medicine.  Established by Howard University historian Carter G. Woodson in 1927 as Black History Week, this now month-long celebration is an opportunity to elevate awareness of Black Americans' contributions to our nation's  history.     It is customary for American families to spend time in February learning more about famous Black Americans who h… Continue Reading


February 24, 2010

VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN HAS BECOME A GLOBAL EPIDEMIC

Violence against women is an epidemic of global proportions.  It ranges from domestic violence to rape, from acid burnings to so-called honor killings, and it threatens one out of every three women worldwide, with rates reaching up to 70 percent in some countries.    As Chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission and a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I recently joined efforts to tackle this egregious problem by co-sponsoring the International Violence Aga… Continue Reading


February 09, 2010

THE KEY TO JOB CREATION IS TO HELP SMALL BUSINESS

      As we look at a national unemployment rate that has at times has topped 10 percent in the last year, and hear the latest news reports that approximately 44,000 Marylanders lost their job in 2009, there is no doubt that additional actions are needed to get our economy moving.   A priority must be to include significant help for our small business community.    As a member of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, I have long supported provisions that help provide sma… Continue Reading


January 29, 2010

BLACK HISTORY MONTH REMINDS AMERICANS OF THE IMPORTANT ACHIEVEMENTS OF AFRICAN AMERCIANS

For too long, African American contributions to U.S. history were minimized or ignored. Dr. Carter G. Woodson - the second African American to earn a doctorate degree -- recognized this failure, and in 1926 he established Black History Month as a way to recognize and honor the many accomplishments and vibrant history of African Americans throughout our country's history. From Rosa Parks to The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Marylanders Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass, these… Continue Reading


January 21, 2010

MARYLAND IS POISED TO LEAD OUR NATION'S CYBERSECURITY DEFENSE AGAINST TERRORISTS

America is under constant attack from cyber criminals, terrorists and unfriendly nations that seek to do us harm.   But cybersecurity involves more than identity theft and stealing money, it is about our national defense and homeland security.    As Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Terrorism and Homeland Security Subcommittee, I am committed to strengthening our nation's defenses against an attack via the Internet - an attack that could wreak havoc with our economy… Continue Reading


January 11, 2010

HONORING THE MEMORY OF DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.

The birthday of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., became a national holiday more than 25 years ago so that our nation -- and future generations -- would understand and appreciate the legacy of Dr. King's many accomplishments.   He was one of our nation's most admired leaders because he had the courage to stand up against racism and hatred with non-violent activism that inspired a movement and brought about historic changes in our country.      … Continue Reading


November 23, 2009

WE HAVE A HISTORIC OPPORTUNITY TO ENACT HEALTH CARE REFORM

Access to affordable, quality health care should be a right of all Americans.   Yet today, millions of middle-class Americans are at risk as they face skyrocketing health care premiums, pre-existing condition exclusions, and limits on their future coverage.      In the coming weeks, the Senate will be debating and voting on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act , legislation that addresses the problems of affordability and access in a fiscally… Continue Reading


October 27, 2009

NOW IS THE TIME TO CLEAN UP THE BAY FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS

For decades people have talked about cleaning up one of America's most cherished and celebrated bodies of water - the Chesapeake Bay.   On October 21, I introduced the Chesapeake Clean Water and Ecosystem Restoration Act , S. 1816, landmark legislation that will back up that talk with tough, new requirements and a major new federal investment in a clean bay.   Today, 17 million people live in its watershed, which encompasses seven jurisdictions - Maryl… Continue Reading


October 13, 2009

WE NEED TO EXTEND THE $8,000 FIRST-TIME HOMEBUYERS TAX CREDIT

There are signs that the housing market is stabilizing, but we are not out of the woods yet.   That's why I recently introduced legislation -- which has strong bipartisan support -- to extend the $8,000 first-time homebuyers tax credit for another six months, past its current expiration date of December 1, 2009 to June 1, 2010. This credit is fully refundable, which means if you do not owe taxes you will still get the full tax credit from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).   … Continue Reading


September 25, 2009

HEALTH CARE REFORM MUST FOCUS ON PREVENTION AND WELLNESS

Congress has returned from its August recess and is now focused on health care reform.   During the recess, I held four town hall meetings across Maryland and many people urged me to ensure that health care reform includes a strong emphasis on prevention and wellness.      Our nation has done a remarkable job of treating illness, but we have not done enough to prevent disease and promote wellness.  Today, more than half of all Americans live with at least one c… Continue Reading


August 03, 2009

WE NEED TO STUDY THE USE OF ANTI-DEPRESSANTS AMONG COMBAT TROOPS

There has been an alarming increase in suicides and attempted suicides among our combat troops in recent years.    There is no denying that soldiers in the field are under great stress, and one of the ways the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has dealt with that stress is to dispense strong anti-depressant medications to soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.   I want a close examination of how these anti-depressants are prescribed and manage… Continue Reading

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