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DODD TO STAY SENATE BANKING COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN

Will Continue to Play Lead Role in Senate’s Health Insurance Reform Efforts

September 9, 2009

WASHINGTON — Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) announced today that he will stay the chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, where he will continue to lead the fight in the Senate for financial regulatory reform and consumer protection.
 
As a senior member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), and as Chairman Edward Kennedy’s chief deputy on the Affordable Health Choices Act, Dodd will continue to lead the HELP Committee’s efforts in reforming our nation’s health care system to make health coverage more affordable and accessible for all Americans.
 
“I have had the opportunity this year to work on two issues that are both close to my heart and critical to the people of Connecticut: reforming our health care system and helping our nation recover from this economic crisis,” said Dodd.
 
“As you all know, last winter, my friend Ted Kennedy asked me to lead his HELP Committee’s effort to reform our health care system.  It was an honor to hold that gavel as we underwent the longest, most thorough markup in committee history, and passed historic legislation that cuts costs, protects patient choice, and guarantees every American access to affordable, quality care.
 
“We all had hoped that Teddy would be able to come back to see this through.  Unfortunately, that wasn’t possible.  But I intend to keep the promise I made.  And so, I am pleased that I will able to continue the role he asked me to take on as the HELP Committee’s leader on health care reform.
 
“But we have important work to do on the Banking Committee, and I intend to see it through as chairman.
 
“The Banking Committee is of vital importance to Connecticut, responsible for issues central to the economic security and prosperity of the people of my state.
 
“Under my chairmanship, we have worked to protect consumers from greedy credit card companies and sleazy lenders – and we have more work to do, to create an independent consumer financial protection agency.
 
“We have worked to prevent working families from losing their homes to foreclosure – and we have more work to do, to help struggling homeowners and keep our neighborhoods strong.
 
“We have worked to expand transit options across Connecticut and around the country – and we have more work to do, to create jobs and build more sustainable communities by investing in transportation, including the Tri-City Corridor for which I have fought and will continue to fight.
 
“And we have worked to keep this economic crisis from becoming a meltdown.
 
“One year ago, then-Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke came to Congress and warned that the nation’s economy was on the verge of collapse.  They handed the Senate Leadership a three page request to use $700 billion of taxpayer funds.  I worked with my colleagues to write a bipartisan bill that added strong taxpayer protections and helped to avert disaster.
 
“And we have more work to do.  Too many Americans have lost their jobs, their homes, their life savings in this crisis.  We must never allow this to happen again.  We have held more than fifty hearings in our effort to develop the strongest legislation that best protects consumers and helps businesses grow jobs.  And this fall, we will get that legislation done.
 
“It won’t be easy.  We’re up against a lot of well-financed special interests fighting for the status quo.  But I don’t work for them.  I work for the people of Connecticut.
 
“We have important work to do to pass health care reform and rebuild our economy.  I am grateful to Leader Reid, Chairman Kennedy, and Chairman Harkin for the opportunity to take leadership roles on these two issues.  And I am, as always, grateful to the people of Connecticut for allowing me to serve them here in the Senate.”
 
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