Ben In The News

June 18, 2009

CONGRESS TAKES IMPORTANT STEP TO REGULATE TOBACCO PRODUCTS

After more than a decade, Congress has taken the important step of empowering the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate tobacco products, including the power to remove harmful ingredients from tobacco products and to stop false claims made by the tobacco industry regarding the addictive nature of nicotine.   As a co-sponsor of the Family, Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, H.R. 1256, I believe that this is one of the most important … Continue Reading


June 08, 2009

MY MEETING WITH JUDGE SONIA SOTOMAYOR

This is an exciting time to be a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee as we move forward in vetting President Obama's nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to become a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.     Last week I met with Judge Sotomayor.   She is a remarkable individual and I was very impressed by the breadth of her legal experience. During our meeting, w e talked about a wide range of issues including the prot… Continue Reading


May 05, 2009

IT IS TIME TO STRENGTHEN EFFORTS TO CLEAN UP AND RESTORE THE CHESAPEAKE BAY

The Chesapeake Bay is our nation's largest estuary, and Maryland's greatest natural resource.   As Chairman of the Water and Wildlife Subcommittee of the Committee on Environment and Public Works, one of my top priorities this year will be to reauthorize the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Chesapeake Bay Program.   To that end, I recently held a field hearing in Annapolis to closely examine the effectiveness of the Chesapeake Bay Program and what steps are needed to make it more ef… Continue Reading


April 22, 2009

AMERICANS ARE COMMITTED TO MAKING OUR NATION BETTER

The recently enacted Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act is in keeping with the spirit of our nation by making it easier for Americans to volunteer for national service, a hallmark of our country.   This legislation was named in honor of Senator Kennedy and had strong bipartisan support in Congress because it helps foster our sense of community and shared responsibility for one another.   The Serve America Act dramatically increases funding for … Continue Reading


April 14, 2009

SAVING A FREE PRESS COULD HELP PRESERVE OUR DEMOCRACY

In recent months, the newspaper industry has been turned upside down.   The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the Rocky Mountain News, the Baltimore Examiner and the San Francisco Chronicle, among others, have ceased daily publication or announced they may have to stop publishing.   The Tribune Company, owners of The Baltimore Sun, has filed for bankruptcy.   This does not bode well for our democracy. … Continue Reading


March 30, 2009

I AM COMMITTED TO ENSURING THE U.S. HELSINKI COMMISSION WILL ADVANCE U.S. FOREIGN POLICY GOALS

In 1975, 35 nations - including the United States and the Soviet Union - signed one of the most important international documents to protect human rights and the rule of law. It was the Helsinki Final Act, and it forms the basis for addressing military security, economic cooperation and human rights in Europe. Today, a total of 56 nations are signatories to the Final Act and are members of the Organization for Security & Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), a leading international organization prom… Continue Reading


March 11, 2009

CLEAN, GREEN TRANSPORTATION IS OUR FUTURE

As Congress works to address our nation's transportation problems, it has a duty to rebuild our aging infrastructure for the 21 st century. At the same time, Congress also has an opportunity to make our transportation networks more environmentally sustainable.   Surface transportation is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, but most Americans have only one option for their daily commutes -- their car and gridlocked highways.     Lack of transportation… Continue Reading


February 19, 2009

THE ECONOMIC RECOVERY BILL GIVES PRESIDENT OBAMA THE TOOLS HE NEEDS TO DEAL WITH OUR ECONOMY

Congress took bold action in passing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), which was needed in order to restore confidence in our economic system.   In recent decades, economic downturns have come and gone, but this one is vastly different: it is the most serious downturn since the Depression and it requires decisive, resolute action.   Inaction was never a realistic option.   Congress acted to give President Obama the tools he needs to deal with our faltering… Continue Reading


February 12, 2009

CONGRESS AND PRESIDENT WORK TOGETHER TO IMPROVE HEALTH CARE FOR AMERICA'S CHILDREN

After a nearly two-year fight to gain passage of the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), I am pleased that the legislation is now law thanks to strong bipartisan congressional support and forceful backing from President Obama.   This legislation, which was vetoed twice by President Bush, will assure continued funding for the approximately 6.7 million American children already enrolled in the program. It also will expand health care services to ap… Continue Reading


January 26, 2009

CONGRESS AND THE NEW ADMINISTRATION GET TO WORK ON REBUILDING OUR ECONOMY

            Now that the Inauguration of our 44 th President has come to an end, Congress and the new Obama Administration have begun work on restoring our economy.   It won't be an easy task.   There are so many factors that have contributed to the current economic crisis, but we all agree that our number one priority must be to enact an economic recovery package that will be targeted and timely and that will create and retain quality jobs for Americans.    … Continue Reading


December 12, 2008

MARYLANDERS CAN GET HELP WITH THEIR ENERGY BILLS

Every winter we hear news reports of tragic fires caused when families who cannot pay their energy bills turn to space heaters or candles to save money.   This year it is particularly difficult for many families as our nation copes with a declining economy.   As the weather turns colder, I want struggling Maryland families to know that they can get help in paying their energy bills.     In September, the federal government significantly increased funding for the … Continue Reading


November 10, 2008

MENTAL HEALTH PARITY BILL PROVIDES MARYLANDERS ACCESS TO CRITICAL MENTAL HEALTH BENEFITS

Congress recently took an important step toward ensuring that those in need of mental health and substance abuse services receive access to the treatment they need.  On October 3, the bipartisan Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 became law as part of the economic recovery package enacted by Congress.     This important new law mandates that group… Continue Reading


October 21, 2008

BIOTECH RESEARCH AND SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT HELP DRIVE ECONOMIC GROWTH IN MARYLAND

Maryland can take great pride in the fact that the biotechnology industry has become one of our state's premier industries.   Today, Maryland ranks 19 th in population, but third in the number of biotechnology firms and related biotech employment, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.   That gives Maryland an enormous advantage.   The economy of the 21 st Century will be driven by advances in the biotechnology industry.   From life-saving vaccines t… Continue Reading


October 15, 2008

CONGRESS SETS STAGE FOR FUTURE LEGISLATION

The 110 th Congress recently completed its two-year cycle, and history will view this Congress as having made progress in setting the stage and laying the groundwork for the future, particularly in the areas of energy security, global warming and the environment, and civil rights.  During its final days, the 110 th Congress also dealt with an economic crisis that will continue to be a challenge for the next Congress and new President.   As energy prices have sky… Continue Reading


September 08, 2008

A NATIONAL HISTORIC PARK WOULD HONOR LEGACY OF HARRIET TUBMAN, A LEADER OF THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD

Maryland played an important role in our nation's early history - from the American Revolution to the Civil War, and beyond.   One of the most important Marylanders to shape our nation's history was Harriet Ross Tubman, an African-American woman who was a leader of the anti-slavery resistance network known as the Underground Railroad.   I am committed to honoring the life of this outstanding woman and I have introduced legislation to establish two parks, one in Marylan… Continue Reading


August 22, 2008

IT'S NOT TOO LATE TO FILE FOR YOUR STIMULUS REBATE

Almost 100,000 Marylanders have left money on the table because they have failed to file for their stimulus rebate.   Most of these individuals are elderly or disabled veterans who do not normally file a tax return.   This year, they need to file to get their rebate check.   The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has accounted for 74% of Social Security and Veterans Affairs (VA) beneficiaries out of 20 million initially identified as being potential recipients for the s… Continue Reading


July 31, 2008

THE HOUSING BILL WILL PROVIDE HELP TO AMERICANS WHO ARE FIGHTING TO KEEP THEIR HOMES

Despite a veto threat from the President and concerns that Republicans would vote against help for Americans struggling to keep their homes, both the House and the Senate passed the Housing and Economic Recovery Act , H.R. 3221, by overwhelming majorities.   The President wisely relented on his veto threat.        Passage of this legislation was badly needed to help struggling Americans and to stabilize our economy.   Today, nearly 8,500 new families… Continue Reading


July 10, 2008

KOREAN WAR VETERANS DESERVE RECOGNITION

Fifty-five years ago this July, the Korean War ended after great sacrifice.   Waged for three years on the Korean Peninsula, the Korean War involved 5.7 million Americans, with 36,000 soldiers making the ultimate sacrifice. Yet, the Korean War, often referred to as the "Forgotten War," has not commanded the recognition or respect that it deserves.   Fortunately, that has come to end.  In June, Congress passed legislation to grant a Federal Charter to the Korean Vet… Continue Reading


June 25, 2008

THE NEW STAR-SPANGLED BANNER TRAIL WILL HELP COMMEMORATE THE WAR OF 1812

When we celebrate the bicentennial of the War of 1812 in four years we will have the new Star-Spangled National Historic Trail to help us chart the events of the war that is often referred to as our nation's Second War of Independence.   The War of 1812 was a pivotal event in our nation's early history.  In 1814, the military campaign in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. turned the direction of the war and remains the only combined naval and land attack in o… Continue Reading


June 16, 2008

AMERICANS NEED RELIEF FROM HIGH ENERGY COSTS

Americans are feeling the pinch of higher energy costs. A recent nationwide poll shows that 60% of families are cutting spending as they struggle to pay for rising electric bills and gas prices.   It is a shock to realize that when President Bush took office in 2001, a gallon of regular gas cost $1.46.   More than seven years later, prices have climbed to an all-time high of $4.02 per gallon of regular gas and $4.77 per gallon of diesel fuel.   … Continue Reading

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