Dear Friends,

Last night, I watched with tremendous pride as President Bush, from the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln, told our brave men and women in uniform, as well as the entire nation, that major combat operations in Iraq have been completed. Now that we have won the war, we must do everything we can to win the peace by securing and reconstructing Iraq. Our Commander-in-Chief has my full support in achieving that objective. This week, the House of Representatives passed legislation to improve the federal role in special education. The bill, H.R. 1350, significantly increases resources for students with special needs, gives new options to parents, reduces the number of children wrongly identified for special education, and discourages lawsuits. Most importantly, it dramatically decreases the paperwork burden on special education teachers. As a former educator, I know that the more time teachers spend in the classroom instead of filling out forms, the better off our children will be. The House also approved a measure this week strongly supported by President Bush that calls for an aggressive American response to the global HIV/AIDS pandemic. I firmly believe that it is not only compassionate to help other nations combat this disease; it is also in the best interests of our national security. Tuesday's Wall Street Journal stated that 42 million people in the world are infected with HIV/AIDS - 30 million in sub Saharan Africa alone. Left unchecked, the spread of HIV/AIDS will push fragile governments to the point of collapse and further destabilize the developing world. The bill we passed funds prevention efforts, medical treatment, and care for children orphaned by the disease, but also ensures that the U.S. doesn't bear this burden alone. Both the special education and HIV/AIDS bills must be passed by the Senate before advancing to the President. Finally, several members of the Texas Congressional Delegation and I held a news conference yesterday in support of the nomination of Priscilla Owen to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. President Bush nominated Owen two years ago to a seat that has been labeled a "judicial emergency" by the Judicial Conference of the United States. She has been elected twice - the last time with 84 percent of the vote - to the Texas Supreme Court and has received the highest possible rating from the American Bar Association. I'm going to continue to call on the Senate to confirm this outstanding nominee. What's on Tap for Next Week? Next week, the House of Representatives will be focusing on jobs, jobs, and jobs. We'll consider a bill to reauthorize the federal government's main job training program, the Workforce Investment Act, and begin debate on a jobs and growth package to get the economy moving and get people back to work.

With kind regards,

Kay Granger