January 29, 2008 - Vol V: Ed I
I’m proud to report that we had a number of important
accomplishments in the final months of 2007, and that 2008 is already off to a
very productive start.
In this E-Newsletter:
- Fighting Foreclosure
- Protecting Consumers from
- Ending the Iraq War
Million for 9/11 Health
War Crimes Report Released
Taxi Dock for Roosevelt Island
home values dropping and millions of Americans getting hit with mortgage rate
adjustments, more and more working families are having trouble staying in their
homes. Bipartisan legislation enacted in
December, the Mortgage Reform and
Anti-Predatory Lending Act, is helping to address our nation’s mortgage
crisis and prevent another subprime crisis from roiling the economy. I
was proud to co-sponsor this new law, which protects consumers from reckless
lending practices, ensures consumers only get loans they are able to repay, and
strengths oversight of the mortgage industry by requiring mortgage bankers and
loan officers to be licensed or registered.
we’ve made some progress in easing the economic crunch for American families,
there is still more work to be done.
Democrats in Congress recently reached out to the President to work together
on a bipartisan stimulus package that would get our economy moving again. As the Vice Chair of the Joint Economic
Committee (JEC), I have said that any stimulus plan must be timely, targeted,
and temporary. We need to take steps now
to get the economy back on track and provide relief to American families.
Consumers from Identity Theft
Starting November 1, the three major credit monitoring
bureaus - Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – began offering consumers in all
50 states the option of freezing their credit reports and preventing identity
thieves from opening accounts in their name.
Right now, consumers in 42 states, including New York, have the ability to “freeze”
access to their credit reports whenever they so choose. File freeze laws vary state to state, as do
As Chair of the Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit
Subcommittee and author of federal legislation that would create a national
“file freeze” standard, I applauded the Bureaus and urged them to take
additional steps to make their file freeze services more affordable, faster,
and easier-to-use. High costs, cumbersome
procedures, and obscured information are still posing unnecessary barriers to
consumers who need to freeze their files and protect themselves from identity
Ending the Iraq
I believe it’s time to end the war in Iraq. That’s why I’ve voted repeatedly to bring our
It’s been over a year since the President announced his Iraq “surge
strategy,” and the main objective of the surge - Iraqi political reconciliation
- still has not been achieved. Political progress has come to a near
standstill, and most of the established benchmarks for progress - including
provincial elections, the passage of de-Baathification laws, and a plan for oil
revenue-sharing – are still far from reach.
Last year, the President assured Americans that he had “made
it clear to the Prime Minister and Iraq's
other leaders that America's
commitment is not open-ended. If the
Iraqi government does not follow through on its promises, it will lose the
support of the American people - and it will lose the support of the Iraqi
people.” Consistent with his word, the
President should work with Congress to end America’s
open-ended commitment in Iraq,
starting with the safe and responsible redeployment of our troops.
On November 14, the House again passed legislation, with my
support, to redeploy American troops from Iraq
and change the mission for U.S.
forces on the ground. The President,
once again, blocked our effort.
of us in Congress who are committed to ending the war know this isn’t good
enough – we need to do more. The
American people have made it clear they want a new direction in Iraq, and we
haven’t been able to pass veto-proof legislation yet that would finally bring
our troops home. I will keep fighting to
end the war, and opposing President Bush’s open-ended commitment of our troops.
The President signed into law comprehensive drug safety
legislation in September that included a key provision I authored requiring
better warnings about the cancer risks associated with the use of tanning beds. I have long asserted that the warnings on
tanning beds should clearly get the message across, just like the warnings on
cigarette packs do. Using a tanning bed
is not safer than tanning under the sun, and Americans need to be fully
The Maloney TAN Act provision included in the new drug
safety law directs the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to re-examine the
warning label on tanning beds with the purpose of ensuring that it most
effectively communicates the risk of skin cancer and other serious skin
conditions. It also requires the FDA to
conduct consumer testing to determine the appropriateness of the current
labeling requirements for indoor tanning beds.
Under the new law, the FDA has one year to conduct these tests and
report back to Congress on efforts HHS is undertaking to improve tanning bed
the House overwhelmingly passed the William
Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (H.R. 3887),
legislation that authorizes critical funding to combat sex trafficking and help
victims of trafficking. I have urged Senate
leaders to pass an equally strong bill, and received assurances that they plan
to introduce similar legislation early this year.
More specifically, H.R. 3887 would allow the
Department of Justice to prosecute traffickers without having to prove fraud,
force or coercion, or a victim's status as a minor - instead, the law would
allow prosecutors to use these aggravating circumstances as the basis for
enhanced penalties. Currently, the law requires testimony from a
traumatized victim who has reason to fear the consequences to herself or her
family if she testifies. By eliminating the need for victims to testify about
force, fraud or coercion, prosecutors will have a more effective way to crack
down on traffickers. The law would also require the Attorney General to
conduct a biennial survey of trafficking in the United States.
$108 Million for 9/11
The New York-area congressional delegation secured $108
million for the health needs of World Trade Center first responders, residents,
students, and others exposed to the toxins of Ground Zero in the year-end
spending bill that was signed into law.
This money builds on the $50 million that was provided in the Emergency
Supplemental Appropriations Bill that was also signed into law last year,
bringing total funding for 9/11 health needs in 2007 to $158 million.
In 2008, the New York-area delegation will continue fighting
to secure additional funding to help our sick 9/11 responders. I am also working to build momentum for the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation
Act (H.R. 3543), bipartisan legislation I introduced with Representatives
Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Vito Fossella (R-NY) to ensure that all exposed to
Ground Zero toxins receive the medical care they need and the compensation for
loss that they deserve.
Nazi War Crimes
The Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records
Interagency Working Group (IWG), which was formed under legislation that I help
author (the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure
Act of 1998 and the Japanese Imperial
Government Disclosure Act of 2000), issued its final report to Congress in
September. This in-depth report described
the seven-year, approximately $30-million government-wide effort to locate,
declassify, and make publicly available U.S. records of Nazi and Japanese
More than eight million pages were declassified and opened
to the public as a result of the Disclosure Acts, revealing essential
information about our government’s involvement with Nazis after World War II. Notably, the records include the entirety of
the operational files of the Office of Strategic Services (the predecessor
agency of the CIA), and more than 163,000 pages of CIA materials of a type
never before opened to the public.
- Read more about the report, “Nazi War Crimes and Japanese
Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group: Final Report to
Congress,” and additional information about the IWG
Water Taxi Dock
for Roosevelt Island
In December, I was pleased to announce that the Army Corps
of Engineers had finally approved the long-pending permit application to
construct a water taxi dock on Roosevelt Island. In September, I had urged the Corps to make a
decision after more than a year and a half had passed since the permit
application was initially filed.
The permit approval is a victory for Roosevelt
Island residents who have been struggling to board overcrowded
subway trains during morning rush hour, and facing the prospect of temporarily
losing Tram service during its rehabilitation.
Water taxi service will increase Roosevelt Island’s
accessibility and security, which is why I joined with my colleagues in
Congress to help obtain $4.4 million for the taxi’s docking facilities and will
continue working closely with public and private sector leaders to ensure that it
becomes a reality for Roosevelt Islanders.
I am constantly working to make my office’s
website as informative and useful to you as possible. That’s why I was so pleased to be recognized
with the prestigious Gold Mouse award by the non-profit, non-partisan
Congressional Management Foundation (CMF) for the second year in a row.
CMF analyzed the congressional websites of all 618
House and Senate Members, congressional committees (both majority and minority),
and congressional leaders on how well they incorporate five basic building
blocks that extensive research has identified as critical for effectiveness:
audience, content, usability, interactivity, and innovation.
I want to do everything I can to make sure that
information about my work and Congress is just a few clicks away, will continue
doing my very best to keep it as up-to-date as possible.
- Read more about the report, the “2007 Gold Mouse
Report: Recognizing the Best Web Sites on Capitol Hill”
CAROLYN B. MALONEY
P.S. Please do not respond to this unattended email account, but instead click