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Skelton says Washington must focus on the needs of everyday Americans
Skelton says Washington must focus on the needs of everyday Americans

Congressman Ike Skelton
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Jan. 24, 2010) — Over the past six months, Washington has ignored many everyday problems in order to rush too much change. Instead of focusing on the economic problems crippling many American families and paying closer attention to the war against terrorists, Washington has spent valuable time wrestling with health reforms that many believe should not be the top priority. In response, many Americans have become increasingly frustrated. Every day, I hear from people who are concerned and even frightened. They are concerned about the state of the economy, about the security of our nation, and about the uncertainties of recent reform proposals.

This is not news to me, and I share much of their sentiment. I work hard to stay in touch with those of the Fourth Congressional District, and I have heard many passionate arguments against drastic reform from Missourians over the past several months. That is why I voted against the health insurance reform bill in November and have worked strenuously to bolster the small businesses and agricultural markets that drive Missouri’s economy. I have also continued to guide our renewed effort in Afghanistan while strengthening our veteran support programs here in the U.S.

As I have said from the beginning of this debate, Congress should tackle health insurance reform one issue at a time, such as mandating the portability of insurance across state lines or outlawing the consideration of preexisting conditions. Common-sense reforms, such as these, should be approached on a bipartisan basis.

Many years ago, President Roosevelt identified, in simple terms, the bedrock principles that define our nation. Calling them the “Four Freedoms,” Roosevelt deftly enumerated every American’s right to the freedom of speech, the freedom of religious choice, the freedom from want, and the freedom from fear.

The freedom from fear. It is this right, this integral American freedom, that many Missourians feel is currently at stake. As an elected official, it is my duty to defend that freedom for the people of the Fourth District, and I do my best to do so. Many times, that means strengthening our military and our global alliances. Other times, that means providing for programs that strengthen our domestic society and improve America from within. That also means voting against legislation that may not help our country.

Congressman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) serves as chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. Congressman Skelton’s website is at www.house.gov/skelton.

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