04 January 2005 21:56 [Source: ICIS news]
WASHINGTON (CNI)--The top Republican in the House of Representatives pledged Tuesday to overhaul ?xml:namespace>
House Speaker Dennis Hastert (Republican-Illinois) told the opening session today that the 109th Congress will be a “reform Congress,” and he pledged to work on reforming the US Social Security system.
While Hastert devoted much of his keynote remarks to national security concerns and continued military preparedness in the ongoing war on terror, he also spoke to longstanding legislative issues that concern chemical manufacturers and other industries.
Citing widespread concern about the “outsourcing” of
“Let me say this again: Our tax code is killing jobs in
He also spoke forcefully against any prospect of increasing taxes in order to reduce the looming
“This Republican majority will not raise taxes,” Hastert promised, adding: “We should continue to keep taxes low by making permanent the tax cuts we passed in the 107th and 108th Congresses.”
He also said that as Congress looks for ways to control spending and improve the country’s economic future, “we can start by finally passing laws to stop lawsuit abuse.” He said litigation reform must ensure accountability for those who do harm, “but abuses must be ended. That is why we must pass class-action reform this year!”
He termed the volatile energy market an “impediment to our continued economic prosperity” and said Congress must complete a comprehensive national energy policy bill this year.
Hastert also signalled that he will press Congress to act to repair and improve US transportation infrastructure - roads, bridges and ports - with a transportation bill this year that he said will help sustain the US economy for the next half-century.
As Speaker of the House, Hastert wields considerable power over the direction that Congress will take over the next two years. And with a newly expanded Republican majority in the House - although hardly extravagant at 232 Republican seats to 203 for Democrats - Hastert appears determined to push major Republican reform measures.
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