Court Of Impeachment And War Crimes: Jim Moran 8th District Virginia: This Week's Update

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Friday, March 7, 2008

Jim Moran 8th District Virginia: This Week's Update

Jim Moran 8th District Virginia: This Week's Update

Dear Ed,

It's been a busy week in Congress. I wanted to update you on a few legislative items I've been working on.

Mental Health Parity

Wednesday night, a bipartisan majority in the House passed landmark legislation that will help end discrimination against patients requiring treatment for mental illness. The Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act (H.R. 1424), sponsored by Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) and Jim Ramstad (R-MN) was approved by a vote of 268-148.

This landmark legislation prohibits insurers and group health plans from restricting coverage for mental health illness. It allows patients to be covered equally whether they have a broken arm or a broken mind.

Mental health conditions are the leading cause of disability for Americans aged 15-44. They are implicated in 90% of the more than 30,000 suicides annually. Productivity loss due to depression costs employers an additional $31 billion per year before disability claims are even taken into account.

Over the last eight years, the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) has made “parity” coverage for mental health care available to Members of Congress and 8.5 million other federal employees. Research has shown that there has been no significant cost increase attributable to this new coverage.

Task Force on Sovereign Wealth Funds

I am leading a new bipartisan task force to study issues involving Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWFs).

Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWFs) are state-controlled investment vehicles typically funded through revenues from oil and natural gas profits. With $2.2 trillion in currency reserves, sovereign wealth funds are poised to become the defining player in international finance. In the next decade, they are projected to grow to over $13.4 trillion, more than the value of the NY Stock Exchange.

Historically, these funds invested mainly in U.S. Treasury bills given their low-risk and steady returns. But as the dollar continues to decline, SWFs are increasingly turning away from these investments towards both the purchase of equity stakes in U.S. companies, like Citigroup, the Blackstone Group, and other foreign currencies. Because the U.S. economy is dependant on the purchase of our U.S. Treasury bills to pay for our deficit spending (China currently holds in excess of $1.5 trillion in U.S. debt), a shift away from U.S. investment by SWFs could have major implications for our economy.

Seven SWFs currently have over $100 billion in assets, including those based in Abu Dhabi, Singapore, Norway, Kuwait, China, and Russia. Many SWFs lack transparency making it difficult to determine how much money is involved, whose money it is and how these massive funds are being used.

With the U.S. boasting some of the most dynamic growth opportunities in the world, it is important that we understand and be on the leading edge of this profound financial, global transformation. And given the growing leverage these funds have over our economy, it is imperative we being focusing on this issue immediately in a bipartisan fashion -- the task force's main goal

NBA Hall of Famer Earl Lloyd Recognized with Resolution

Wednesday, my resolution (H. Con. Res. 286) honoring hometown hero Earl Lloyd, the first African American to play in the National Basketball Association, was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives. The resolution passed on a unanimous 412-0 vote.

Earl “Big Cat” Lloyd, an Alexandria native, was the first African-American to break the NBA’s color barrier. A first round draft pick by the Washington Capitols in 1950, Mr. Lloyd played his first game in the NBA on October 31, 1950. Over the course of nine seasons -- interrupted by a two year stint in the Army -- he played in 560 games, averaging a solid 8.4 points and 6.4 rebounds, helping carry his team to an NBA Championship in 1955. Mr. Lloyd later became the NBA’s first African-American assistant coach and went on to serve as head coach for the Detroit Pistons. Earl Lloyd was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003.

Born and raised in Alexandria, Virginia, Mr. Lloyd developed his passion for the game of basketball as a star at the segregated Parker-Gray High School. Twice named an All-American at West Virginia State College, Lloyd led his collegiate alma mater to two conference and tournament championships -- including the school’s only undefeated season in 1947-48.

Click here to watch the floor debate...


James P. Moran

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