Dear Friends,

This week, the House of Representatives took a big step in restoring confidence in the nation’s pension system. On Thursday, I voted for the Pension Security Act to fix outdated federal laws, give workers new freedoms to diversify their retirement savings, and enhance employee access to quality investment advice. In recent years, too many hardworking employees played by the rules and saw their life savings disappear. The Pension Security Act will give workers the tools they need to fully protect and strengthen their retirement earnings. On Wednesday, I toured the command center near D.C. for Top Officials 2 (TOPOFF 2), the most comprehensive terrorism response exercise ever undertaken in the United States. The drill involved the explosion of a mock radioactive “dirty bomb” in Seattle, a fictitious outbreak of the plague in Chicago, and other scripted catastrophes. Most details of TOPOFF 2 will be kept confidential, but officials told me and other members of the Homeland Security Committee that the exercise will be very helpful in identifying strengths and weaknesses in our emergency response systems. On Thursday, the House passed legislation that reauthorizes the National Transportation Safety Board, the federal agency that investigates rail and airplane crashes. What’s on Tap for Next Week? Next week, the House of Representatives will debate the Defense Authorization bill, as well as legislation based on President Bush’s Healthy Forests Initiative that is needed to lower the risk of wildfire damage.

With kind regards,

Kay Granger