THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Vice President
STATEMENT BY THE VICE PRESIDENT
I am very pleased that we have reached a budget agreement with Congress. This agreement represents a victory for fiscal discipline. As with any compromise, there are features that I believe unwise. But on balance I believe the agreement protects and advances the interests of America's working families.
Thanks to the hard work and dedication from leaders on both sides of the political aisle, we have made important progress in making a significant investment in our children's future. I am also pleased that the budget agreement protects our nation's environment, invests in America's veterans, helps secure our streets and meets our obligations abroad.
However, I think there's more that needs to be done.
I was disappointed that the Republican leadership failed to listen to the American people and pass common sense gun legislation. America's families deserve to know that their leaders will listen to them -- and not the gun lobby.
I was disappointed that the Republican leadership failed to listen to the American people on health care and pass a strong, enforceable Patients' Bill of Rights. America's families deserve to know that their leaders care enough to let doctors and not accountants make important medical decisions.
I was disappointed that the Republican leadership failed to listen to the American people and pass the Hate Crimes Prevention Act. In a year when Matthew Shepard was killed because of his sexual orientation; when James Byrd was dragged to his death because of his skin color; and both a Filipino-American and a Korean graduate student were murdered because of the shape of their eyes -- I cannot comprehend how some can argue that hate crimes are no different from all other crimes.
From strengthening social security to raising the minimum wage, from passing campaign finance reform to including an optional prescription drug benefit under Medicare, there was much that this Republican Congress left undone.