Dear Friends,

This week, the House of Representatives began the annual appropriations process by considering bills in the Military Construction and Homeland Security subcommittees, panels upon which I serve. The Military Construction measure provides funding for projects on bases in the U.S. and overseas, as well as for military family housing operations and construction. One of my main goals on this subcommittee has been and will continue to be ensuring that the Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base and other Texas installations remain integral parts of our nation’s military. The Homeland Security spending bill, meanwhile, increases funding for local first-responders; border protection; transportation security; communication between federal, state, and local governments; and medical countermeasures against bioterrorism. This is the first appropriations bill for the new Department of Homeland Security and I consider its implementation at the top of my priorities for the year. On the House floor, my colleagues and I took a major step forward in tort reform by passing H.R. 1115 to move more class action lawsuits to federal courts and to reduce venue-shopping by trial lawyers. The bill additionally includes a “Consumer Class Action Bill of Rights” to curb settlements where attorneys frequently reap millions in fees while their clients are short-changed. Also this week, the House approved legislation to expand eligibility for the child tax credit and to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration to make greater investments in our nation’s airports. What’s on Tap for Next Week? Next week, the House of Representatives will try to kill the death tax permanently. The federal death tax, which is gradually being phased out under the 2001 tax cut package, will be resurrected in 2011 if Congress does not act to extend the repeal.

Have a great weekend,

Kay Granger