02.24.09

Whitehouse Applauds President’s Plan to Rebuild Economy, Reform Health Care System

Washington, D.C. - Responding to President Obama's address to a joint session of Congress tonight, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) expressed confidence in the President's plan:

"Over and over again, I've heard from Rhode Islanders worried about their jobs, their retirement, their stressed family budgets, or how they'll afford it if a child or an elderly parent gets sick. For eight years, the Bush Administration turned a deaf ear. But tonight, for families all across this country who look to the future in fear and uncertainty, our new President had one clear message: I hear you. Help is on the way.

"Earlier this month, we took the first step to get back on the right track, passing an historic economic recovery plan that will create jobs and cut taxes for working families. It wasn't easy, and it wasn't perfect - but it was the right thing to do. Now, I look forward to working with the President and my Senate colleagues to invigorate our troubled housing market and ease the nation's credit strain, helping families buy a home or send a child to school. But President Obama knows that alone won't be enough.

"America's failing health care system looms as the next great crisis facing our country. If anyone believes we can afford to wait, that this is not an urgent problem for the people of this country, I urge them to read the dozens of stories Rhode Islanders have posted on my new online Health Care Storyboard about how our system's flaws affect their daily lives. Lauren Goddard, my guest tonight, faces a lifetime of difficulty finding affordable health insurance if we don't act soon. I'm glad that President Obama remains committed to health care reform that will reduce costs, provide affordable care to everyone, and repair the dysfunction that got us here in the first place.

"Last November, Americans voted overwhelmingly for change both in the substance of our policy and the tenor of our politics. As we work to rebuild our country, it is refreshing to have a President who listens. President Obama has worked hard and fast to right our troubled ship, and I'm confident that calmer seas lie ahead."

Whitehouse was joined by West Warwick native Lauren Goddard as his guest at tonight's speech. Goddard, a Brown University medical student living with Crohn's disease, faces a difficult future finding affordable health care while living with a chronic illness. Whitehouse first heard from Goddard at a community dinner he hosted in Warwick earlier this month.

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