Senators Address City Concerns in Conference Addresses
Duvall, Cherie, Turner, Laura, Nation's Cities Weekly
Four senators addressed delegates at the Congressional City Conference, each giving his perspective on Capitol Hill happenings, current legislation and contributions of cities.
Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.)
Kicking off the senatorial discussions, Sen. Kent Conrad spoke of the current state of the federal budget at an afternoon general session on Monday, March 13.
As the ranking minority member of the Senate Budget Committee and a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee, Conrad stated that the U.S. deficit isn't of concern, but "the debt is the threat."
He pointed out that the first step in eliminating national debt is for the government to face the fact that something needs to be done, but it won't be easy. "This will require some real tough choices," he said.
Conrad continued by expressing his support for protecting Social Security and Medicare trust funds.
In addition, he spoke about how the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program is vital to the country's stability.
"Believe me, after the floods of 1997 in North Dakota, I understand the incredible value of community development funds," he said. "Without them, North Dakota could never have recovered as quickly as it had or as completely as it did."
Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.)
A long-time advocate of providing federal support for local public safety, crime prevention and drug control efforts, Sen. Joseph Biden expressed his concern over what he calls "the devolution of government."
This term addresses the need for more government protection of its citizens because, as he stated, "What the heck is government all about if it's not about public safety?"
During the Monday afternoon general session, Biden also addressed his support for the CDBG program and the need for health care reform.
"This country cannot sustain an employer-based health care system financially for much longer," he said. "This county will not tolerate leaving tens of millions of Americans without an alternative."
Sen. George V. Voinovich (R-Ohio)
"If we're going to guarantee to our children and grandchildren the opportunity to have the same standard of living and quality of life ... then we have got to develop the infrastructure of competitiveness," Sen. George V. Voinovich told delegates at the Tuesday morning general session. …