This is the Senate's first week back in session after the August recess, during which I enjoyed traveling throughout North Carolina. Much as it was when the Senate adjourned for the recess, health care reform is the main issue on the minds of the American people. It also remains the largest issue facing Congress. On Wednesday night, the President addressed Congress on this very topic.
I applaud the President's call for action on health care reform, and agree that we must do something. Over the past month, however, I have seen how concerned North Carolinians and all Americans are about the current proposals for health reform. I am not yet convinced that the White House has heard these pleas or addressed these concerns. As many of you told me in North Carolina recently, we must slow this process down and not push legislation through without proper debate and consideration of the consequences for all Americans.
As we move forward with the debate on health care, we must remember that any legislation passed will have a profound impact on all Americans for generations to come. If we get it right, our children and grandchildren will reap the benefits. If we get it wrong, they will bear the burden of the massive debt we place on their shoulders.
I will carefully review and evaluate any health care reform bill considered by the Senate, and I will continue to fight for a plan that is fiscally responsible and sustainable for future generations. We must keep what is working, but do more to promote wellness, prevention, and chronic disease management and to help those Americans who have no access to coverage. I am hopeful that my colleagues will realize the need to pass responsible health care reform on a bipartisan basis.
On Thursday, I attended a Veterans' Affairs Committee hearing held jointly with the House Veterans' Affairs Committee to receive the legislative presentation of The American Legion. This was a great hearing. There were two members of the Legion from North Carolina present - Coley Hunsucker, from King, NC; and Jeff Joyner from Rockingham.
I look forward to working with The American Legion and National Commander Clarence Hill to improve the lives of veterans and their families in the months ahead.
Along with health care reform, the Senate will also take up a number of appropriations bills, pending nominations, and the final version of the annual defense authorization bill. The Senate is also expected to consider legislation that would increase the debt limit for the second time this year.