Snap Fact #172

President Obama Led The 111th Congress To Support The Heroes Of 9/11!
However history judges the 535 men and women in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate during the two year period of 2009 and 2010, one thing is certain: The 111th Congress made more laws affecting more Americans since the “Great Society” legislation of the 1960s. Under the leadership of a far seeing Chess-Master President, many laws were passed that began to build an infrastructure for the change that the President promised in his campaign. A few highlights of that 111th Congress are listed below. Some have been highlighted in past SNAP-CAPS, some will be the subjects in future ones, especially in this series comparing the 111th and the 112th Congresses.

For the first time since President Theodore Roosevelt began the quest for a national health-care system more than 100 years ago, the Democrat-led House and Senate took the biggest step toward achieving that goal by giving 32 million Americans access to insurance. Congress rewrote the rules for Wall Street in the most comprehensive way since the Great Depression. It spent more than $1.67 trillion to revive an economy on the verge of a depression, including tax cuts for most Americans. The policies initiated by the President with a cooperative congress created jobs for more than 4 million people - so far. The Congress approved construction of roads and bridges and investment in alternative energy. They ended an almost two-decade ban against openly gay men and women serving in the military. All of this was done under the visionary leadership of the newly elected president. Again with strong leadership from the President a nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia was ratified.
With all this positive legislation coming out from the 111th, in the waning hours of 2010, the lame duck 111th Congress approved legislation to help rescuers and clean-up crews suffering from illnesses linked to the wreckage caused by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers in New York City. The Senate approved it on a voice vote, the House by a vote of 206-60. New York Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, in a statement, called it a “Christmas miracle.” The measure passed by Congress and sent to President Barack Obama provided up to $4.2 billion in new aid to survivors and responders, $2 billion less than originally proposed by the Democrats but at least a substantial amount. The package provides $1.5 billion to monitor the health of rescue and cleanup workers and treat illnesses related to ground zero. It also reopened a victims' compensation fund with $2.7 billion. President Obama eagerly signed the Bill.

Although this Bill was a long time in coming it would likely have doubtlessly faced much longer odds in the new, fiscally conservative 112th Congress, where Republicans have held greater sway. One could certainly hypothesize that these heroes would never have been gotten their justly deserved due by the Federal Government if the "Christmas Miracle" hadn't passed at the midnight hour and the vote was held by their successors. We must ask ourselves that based on legal, moral, and humane grounds, how do we want our 113th Congress to act? Should the President have to continue to fight those who doggedly stand in the way of approving anything the President wants to do to help the country get back on its feet, or should he have a Congress that understands the needs of this country, and its people, and who has the heart and the mind to make the changes we need?