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Budget resolution passes House of Representatives

By By Jo Bonner
Last week, the House of Representatives passed S. Con. Res. 21, a concurrent resolution which establishes the budget levels for the coming fiscal year.
In February, the president formally began the budget process. He sent Congress a plan to balance the budget without raising taxes while maintaining the successful pro-growth economic policies that have fostered our economy's solid, sustained growth while creating 7.8 million new jobs over the past 44 months.
In fact, the tax cuts – signed into law four years ago this month – have produced strong and lasting economic growth. This economic growth has helped produce record levels of tax revenue – receipts have increased nearly 35% since the 2003 tax cuts were implemented – and the deficit has declined by $165 billion in the last two years.
Unfortunately, the progress our national economy has made over the past four years could be placed in jeopardy by this budget that calls for more taxes and higher spending. It will impose the second largest tax increase in history – raising taxes by at least $217 billion – and providing an automatic increase in the national debt by $850 billion.
Instead of building on the momentum and keeping our economy moving in the right direction, the majority has instead chosen to raise taxes and increase spending.
Telephone Town Hall Meetings
This week I began holding my first round of telephone town meetings for this year. Last year, I hosted my first telephone town hall meeting and the first telephone town hall meeting – to my knowledge – in Alabama, and certainly the first in southwest Alabama.
Utilizing a relatively new technology, I am able to call residents throughout the First District from my office in Washington, D.C., and for one hour, I am able to listen to comments and answer questions on events in our nation's capital and issues of concern to my constituents and their families and friends.
Over the past four and a half years, I have held over 150 traditional town meetings in all six counties of Alabama's First Congressional District. The personal interaction these meetings provide cannot be duplicated over the telephone; however, this technology enables constituents to share their thoughts and concern with me from the comforts of their own home.
In the coming weeks, I will be holding more telephone town halls as well as traditional town hall meetings throughout the district.
2007 Hurricane Season approaches
The 2007 hurricane season officially begins next Friday, June 1. And this week, May 20 -26, is Hurricane Preparedness Week, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has a website dedicated to hurricane preparedness, http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/HAW2/ which I encourage you to visit.
As we know all too well – hurricanes pose their greatest threat in the southern region of Alabama, where residents are at most risk.
The effects of a hurricane can be reduced if you and your family plan ahead and know the steps you should take before, during, and after any natural disaster.
It is important to keep in mind that the responsibility for emergency preparedness isn't completely up to the government. Individuals have a critical role to play. Each person has a responsibility to take steps to prepare for hurricane season and other disasters, especially if they are able.
First responders might not be able to reach every single person within the first day following a disaster. You and your family need to be prepared to sustain yourselves for up to 72 hours after a hurricane. You should have an emergency plan of where you can go if you are told to evacuate. I recommend choosing several places such as a friend's home in another town, a motel, or a shelter.
I also encourage you to prepare a disaster supply kit, containing items such as water (at least 1 gallon daily per person), food (including non-perishable and canned items), a can opener, paper plates and utensils, blankets and pillows, clothing, first aid with medicines and prescription drugs, toiletries, a flashlight with batteries, battery operated radio, fully charged cell phone with an extra battery, cash, keys, toys, important documents in a waterproof container or waterproof plastic bag, and insurance documents.
Please remember that as we head into this hurricane season, my office and I stand ready to assist you. You can reach us toll free at 1-800-288-8721, and we'll be glad to do all we can to be helpful.
My staff and I work for you. Let us know when we can be of service. Visit my website at http://bonner.house.gov.
Jo Bonner is a U.S. congressman. His column appears weekly.