What are the top three issues issues that the United States Congress must focus on for the remainder of their term, which ends in January 2015? In our opinion, the top the issues that must come to a vote are Food Stamps, Immigration and Veterans Care.
We picked Food Stamps as the first issue for obvious reasons. Even though the economy is improving and millions of people have found employment since the beginning of the year, there are still millions of people on SNAP Benefits and many more applying in states like Georgia. By the last count, there are 52 million people receiving food assistance from the federal government. What many people don’t know is that there are a fair amount of people who are on food assistance who have jobs. The problem is that they don’t make enough money to be able to cover their expenses, including putting food on the table. In addition, some of these people, while employed, have only been able to find part time jobs, so their income is not sufficient. The problem is worse, especially in the south where states like Georgia have a large percentage of their population on food stamps. The only way to help alleviate this situation is for Congress to vote more money towards these programs.
The next issue that requires a vote immediately is immigration. With the summer consumed by news of children crossing the southern border, it is time Congress addressed the issue of immigration. This includes securing the border, establishing a guest worker program, making it easy for highly skilled immigrants who come here for advanced degrees to stay, and also establish a path to permanent residency for the millions of people who are already here illegally. But it must first start with securing the border. Without that, all efforts are in vain since the problem will continue to grow.
Finally, while we have seen recent action on veterans healthcare, we need more action on caring for veterans. When they volunteer to fight for this country, the least we could do is care for them when they return. The House Veterans Committee for example has held numerous hearings on the issue but we have not seen any concrete legislation that proposes a broad and comprehensive plan aimed at veterans care. This is a very sad situation especially given the challenges many veterans face finding employment when they return to civilian life. The long neglect has produced some of the most shameful statistics of our nation, including record number of veterans that are unemployed, homeless or can’t even afford the basic necessities and have to rely on the government for things like food assistance. It is time Congress takes on this issue head on and presents the people a comprehensive package to take care of the many veterans that have more than done their fair share to right for this country so we can keep our freedoms.
We think votes should be scheduled on these three issues before the end of the year, so they are not left for the next Congress to have to deal with. Besides, they are pressing issues that require action now!