Ben In The News

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


May 15, 2008

WE NEED TO DO MORE FOR OUR VETERANS

As we pay homage to our nation's fallen heroes this Memorial Day, we also turn our attention to those brave veterans who are still with us.  Today, we are a nation of 25 million veterans, and the best way we can honor their sacrifice and commitment is to provide them with the benefits and services they deserve.   Last year, the nation was shocked to learn how our injured soldiers were mistreated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.   In response, Congress passed the… Continue Reading


May 09, 2008

HIGH ENERGY COSTS ARE HURTING AMERICANS

As news reports of rising energy prices grab headlines, Americans are finding it increasingly difficult to fill up their cars at the gas station and pay the cost of cooling or heating their homes.  Marylanders have been particularly hard hit, with many seeing a 72% jump in electric rates in 2007.   Drivers, especially, are feeling the squeeze. In early May, gasoline prices in Maryland have jumped to an average of $3.59 for regular and $3.91 for premium. Since Presiden… Continue Reading


April 28, 2008

CONGRESS NEEDS TO ENSURE EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL WORK

On a daily basis, American women in the workforce are being denied equal pay for equal work simply because of their gender. Even worse, one of the remedies available to them -- taking a discriminatory employer to court -- has been severely curtailed.   It's time for Congress to take action and restore women's rights.   Unfortunately, a recent vote was blocked in the Senate that would have ensured that women who have faced discrimination in the workplace have "th… Continue Reading


April 18, 2008

WE NEED TO IMPROVE EDUCATIONAL BENEFITS FOR VETERANS

Congress passed the original GI Bill in 1944 to help veterans returning home from World War II adjust to civilian life through education and training.   But the legislation has been credited with much more than educating a generation of Americans; many believe it served as an economic catalyst that helped transform our nation in the second half of the 20 th Century.     Since the first GI Bill expired in 1956, educational benefits have not kept pace with escalati… Continue Reading


April 04, 2008

MARYLAND HAS THE RIGHT TO SET AUTO EMISSIONS STANDARDS

The connection between global warming and greenhouse gas emissions is one that scientists clearly understand and they are concerned   Maryland and 19 other states also understand the growing threat to our environment and our health, and have taken steps to reduce the harmful carbon dioxide emissions that spew from millions of vehicles a day.   Maryland and the other states have applied to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for what has become known as the "Calif… Continue Reading


March 20, 2008

WE NEED TO DO MORE TO HELP THOSE FACING FORECLOSURE

American families are hurting as our nation faces a growing crisis in the housing and credit markets.   The economic news continues to worsen as we hear reports about the highest foreclosure rate in years, declining housing values, lost property tax revenues and a credit crunch that is making it very difficult for middle-class families to find affordable mortgages.   It is estimated that more than 2.2 million Americans who took out subprime mortgages between 1998 and 2… Continue Reading


March 05, 2008

CELEBRATING THE ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF WOMEN

We honor the contributions of women in our society throughout March during Women's History Month.  Started in 1978 as a weeklong celebration coinciding with International Women's Day, it has grown over the last 30 years to spotlight the great accomplishments of women past and present, as well as the growing opportunities for young girls. Maryland's history is rich with pioneering, bold women who have made our state and our nation a better place. We are proud of daughters including Harriet… Continue Reading


February 13, 2008

STIMULUS PACKAGE WILL PROVIDE RELIEF

Families across Maryland are hurting and that is why I am extremely pleased that Congress and the White House came together in a bipartisan way to pass an economic stimulus package. It is a measure that is targeted, temporary and timely.  It will help middle and low-income Americans who are the most vulnerable in these uncertain economic times. Bipartisan cooperation in the Senate improved the stimulus package by adding rebate checks for 20 million seniors and 250,000 disabled veterans. I… Continue Reading


February 08, 2008

NEW CIVIL RIGHTS BILL WOULD STRENGTHEN PROTECTIONS OF AMERICANS' CIVIL RIGHTS

February is Black History Month, a time when our nation celebrates and honors the achievements of African Americans.   It also is a time when we rededicate ourselves to the ideals upon which our country was founded: equality and freedom.     In the past, Congress has enacted bipartisan laws to ensure that federal tax dollars are not used to subsidize discrimination, and that Americans have real remedies when their civil rights are violated.  Unfortunately, recent fe… Continue Reading


January 25, 2008

RACIAL PROFILING HAS NO PLACE IN OUR SOCIETY

The use of racial profiling by law enforcement officials has become epidemic in some neighborhoods. While the vast majority of police officers discharge their duties with professionalism and without bias, there are some who use race, nationality or ethnic identity when deciding whom to stop or question.   A 2002 nationwide survey by the Department of Justice is very disturbing because it shows that young, male minorities were more than twice as likely to experience some t… Continue Reading


January 04, 2008

THE U.S. HAS AN OPPORTUNITY TO LEAD THE WORLD IN REDUCING GLOBAL WARMING

Global warming is real and it is affecting the Earth.  Earlier this year, I traveled with my Senate colleagues to Greenland where we saw dramatic evidence of retreating glaciers and rising sea level caused by global warming over the last decade.  This year, a U.N. panel on climate change released a report providing strong scientific evidence that carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping greenhouse gases from human activity have caused substantial global warming since the 1950s. Local… Continue Reading


December 10, 2007

THE RECORD OF THIS CONGRESS

The 2006 Elections were a clear indication that most Americans wanted a change.   They wanted a change in direction in Iraq, and a change in many of our nation's priorities, particularly in access to health care, funding for education and efforts to protect the environment.     This Congress has passed many bills reflecting many of these changes.   Unfortunately, we have a fundamental difference in values and goals between the Legislative and Executive Branches, … Continue Reading


November 28, 2007

HEAD START BILL GETS STRONG BIPARTISAN SUPPORT

We often hear people say that our "children are our future," but Congress recently acted on that sentiment and passed a five-year reauthorization of the Head Start program that will benefit nearly 1 million children nationwide and approximately 12,000 children in Maryland.   The Head Start program was created in 1965 as part of President Johnson's War on Poverty.   It provides comprehensive child development services to economically disadvantaged children and families … Continue Reading


November 13, 2007

SMALL BUSINESSES NEED GREATER ACCESS TO FEDERAL CONTRACTS

Small business owners in Maryland are in a unique position. Because of our close proximity to the Nation's Capital, many of them should have better opportunities for federal contracts.    Unfortunately, that is not always the case.   Too many barriers exist for small, minority and women-owned businesses to  do business with the federal government.   As a member of the Senate Small Business Committee, I recently chaired a field hearing of the Committee at Bowie S… Continue Reading


October 26, 2007

FAMILIES OF FIRST RESPONDERS OFTEN FACE DIFFICULTY GETTING BENEFITS THEY ARE ENTITLED TO RECEIVE

Four years ago, Congress did the right thing for the families of first responders who die in the line of duty from a stroke or heart attack.   Unfortunately, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has not carried out the wishes of Congress in making sure that these families get the benefits to which they are entitled.   In 2003, Congress passed the Hometown Heroes Survivors Benefit Act to correct a technicality in a 30-year-old law to ensure that the families of… Continue Reading


October 09, 2007

HOW WE CAN ENSURE UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE FOR ALL AMERICANS

We are the richest nation in the world, yet today more than 47 million Americans - 9 million of them children -- have no health care coverage.   The number of uninsured Americans affects all of us through higher medical costs: higher premiums for insurance, higher hospital costs and higher doctors' bills.   During the course of our lives, we will spend tens of thousands of dollars on health care.   This year alone, each American will spend on average $925 in out-of-… Continue Reading


September 20, 2007

ON 50th ANNIVERSARY OF 1957 CIVIL RIGHT BILL TOO MANY BARRIERS TO VOTING STILL EXIST

Fifty years ago this year Congress passed the first major civil rights bill since Reconstruction.   It set an important precedent by establishing the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) as a "guarantor" of the right to vote.   Specifically, the law established the Commission on Civil Rights, a six-member bipartisan commission with the power to investigate allegations that certain citizens "are being deprived of their right to vote."   It also empowered the Attorney Gen… Continue Reading


September 07, 2007

WE NEED TO MAKE PREVENTING AND CURING SICKLE CELL DISEASE A NATIONAL PRIORITY

In recent years, a lot of attention has focused on a few debilitating diseases that affect millions of Americans.  Coordinated public and private efforts -- including targeted biomedical research, awareness campaigns, and patient advocacy -- have enabled us to make remarkable progress toward conquering many of these diseases.   But other, less prevalent diseases that are just as serious have received scant attention.    Sickle cell disease -- a devastating  genetic disorder that… Continue Reading

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