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 Weekly Report  

The Year Ahead: 2008

January 14, 2008

The United States Senate reconvenes Tuesday, January 22 for the second session of the 110th Congress.  I look forward to continuing my work for the people of Hawaii and the nation in 2008. 

I am working with the Senate Majority Leader to bring my Hawaiian federal recognition bill to the floor, building upon momentum from the House passage of the bill.  I am proud to be joined by a bipartisan coalition in the Senate in support of the legislation.

I am working with the Democratic leadership to seek cloture on the two veterans' omnibus bills as soon as possible after the Senate reconvenes (one of which, S. 1315, includes provisions providing equity to Filipino Veterans of WWII).  I am also working to secure an up-or-down vote on four other bills the Veterans' Affairs Committee ordered reported in November.  This month, I will begin a series of hearings on disability compensation issues in response to the Veterans Disability Benefits Commission, the Dole-Shalala Commission, and other reports and studies.   As Chairman, I will continue oversight on VA claims processing and the impact of hiring and training new staff; the looming nursing shortage in VA and possible legislative solutions; updating the GI Bill; improving how VA meets the needs of women veterans; increasing outreach to OEF/OIF veterans, especially members of the Guard; improving the work of VA and DOD to provide a seamless transition from active duty to veterans status; and I will continue working to ensure VA has sufficient funding. 

In the Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness and Management, I will hold a number of hearings on the readiness of our troops and on the Defense acquisition process, focusing on issues such as private contracting in Iraq, DoD accountability, and the sufficient training of the acquisition work force.  I chaired the first of these hearings on the report of the Commission on Army Acquisition and Program Management in Expeditionary Operations on December 6, 2007.  I will continue to work with my Senate colleagues to provide our troops with the equipment and facilities they need, and to make sure the National Guard can fulfill its domestic support and disaster response mission.  Most importantly, I will continue to fight for a coherent exit strategy from Iraq to bring our troops home.

I look forward to passage of my federal employee whistleblower bill (S. 274) which will enhance protections for federal workers who disclose waste, fraud, and abuse.  The bill passed the Senate in December and the House passed a similar bill in March.  In the Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management and the Federal Workforce, I look forward to making more progress for federal employees on issues such as supervisor training, telework, and diversity in the Senior Executive Service, and getting federal agencies and departments ready for the coming Presidential transition. 

I am working as Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Parks to pass the Kalaupapa Memorial Act of 2007 to establish a memorial within Kalaupapa National Historical Park on Molokai.  In addition to memorializing the 8,000 patients forcibly exiled on the peninsula from 1866 to 1969, I hope this monument will provide closure and a sense of belonging to the many family members who have no knowledge of their ancestors' whereabouts.  The monument will allow the world to recognize and learn from the tragedy that took place on Kalaupapa, where mothers were taken from their children, husbands from their wives, and children from their parents.  It is a part of history that should never be forgotten.  This monument will help us remember.

Year: [2008] , 2007

January 2008

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