With so many threats to America’s national security around the world, I look forward to continuing my work on the foreign relations and intelligence committees. In the days and weeks ahead, we must reestablish America’s moral standing in the world, and make it absolutely clear that the United States will remain a true friend of Israel and a beacon of hope and freedom to oppressed people everywhere. The challenges posed by countries like Cuba, Iran, Russia, China and North Korea will require decisive American leadership and resolve.
We also have a lot of work to do here at home. Too many Americans have been left behind in the 21st century economy, and there is real anxiety among parents that their children will not have the same opportunities they had to work hard, pursue the American Dream, and climb the economic ladder. That’s not acceptable, and I’m going to work with anyone who wants to find real solutions for workers and their families. Of course, a key factor in growing our economy from the bottom up is our small businesses, and I’ll continue to collaborate closely with Florida job creators during my work on the small business committee.
One major thing that will cost us jobs and hamstring our economy is our rising debt. With federal spending at record highs, our national debt has nearly doubled over the last eight years, despite the fact that government is taking in more tax revenue than ever before. The primary drivers of this unsustainable imbalance are our entitlement programs. More and more people are retiring, and while sunny Florida hopes to welcome them all, the rising number of retirees means we’re going to have to find ways to make Medicare and Social Security work better for everyone, so that people like my mother can continue to rely on these important programs and they are still there when our children need them. The committees on aging and appropriations will be at the center of these policy discussions, and I’m excited to have the opportunity to go to work for the people of Florida on these committees. - Senator Marco Rubio.
The Senate Appropriations Committee is the largest committee in the U.S. Senate, consisting of 30 members in the 114th Congress. Its role is defined by the U.S. Constitution, which requires "appropriations made by law" prior to the expenditure of any money from the Federal treasury.
The Committee, chaired by Richard Shelby (R-AL), writes the legislation that allocates federal funds to the numerous government agencies, departments, and organizations on an annual basis. Appropriations are generally limited to the levels set by a Budget Resolution drafted by the Senate Budget Committee.
Twelve subcommittees are tasked with drafting legislation to allocate funds to government agencies within their jurisdictions. These subcommittees are responsible for reviewing the President's budget request, hearing testimony from government officials and other witnesses, and drafting the spending plans for the coming fiscal year. Their work is passed on to the full Senate Appropriations Committee, which may review and modify the bills and approve them for consideration by the full Senate.
The Committee is also responsible for supplemental spending bills, which are sometimes needed in the middle of a fiscal year to compensate for emergency expenses.
The Foreign Relations Committee is instrumental in developing and influencing United States foreign policy. The committee has considered, debated, and reported important treaties and legislation, ranging from the purchase of Alaska in 1867 to the establishment of the United Nations in 1945. It also holds jurisdiction over all diplomatic nominations. Through these powers, the committee has helped shape foreign policy of broad significance, in matters of war and peace and international relations. Senator Rubio is the chairman of the Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security,Democracy, Human Rights, And Global Women’s Issues and sits on the following subcommittees:
- Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security,Democracy, Human Rights, And Global Women’s Issues: This subcommittee deals with all matters concerning U.S. relations with the countries of the Western Hemisphere, including Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, Cuba, and the other countries in the Caribbean, as well as the Organization of American States. This subcommittee’s regional responsibilities include all matters within the geographic region, including matters relating to: (1) terrorism and non-proliferation; (2) crime and illicit narcotics; (3) U.S. foreign assistance programs; and (4) the promotion of U.S. trade and exports. In addition, this subcommittee has global responsibility for transnational crime, trafficking in persons (also known as modern slavery or human trafficking), global narcotics flows, civilian security, democracy, human rights, and global women’s issues.
- Subcommittee on East Asia, The Pacific, And International Cybersecurity Policy: The subcommittee deals with all matters concerning U.S. relations with the countries of East Asia and the Pacific as well as regional intergovernmental organizations like the Association of South East Asian Nations and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. This subcommittee’s regional responsibilities include all matters within the geographic region, including matters relating to: (1) terrorism and non-proliferation; (2) crime and illicit narcotics; (3) U.S. foreign assistance programs; and (4) the promotion of U.S. trade and exports. In addition, this subcommittee has global responsibility for international cybersecurity and space policy.
The Select Committee on Intelligence is dedicated to overseeing the U.S. intelligence community – the federal agencies and bureaus that provide information and analysis for leaders of the executive and legislative branches. The Committee is "select" in that membership is temporary and rotated among members of the chamber. As part of its oversight responsibilities, the Committee performs an annual review of the intelligence budget submitted by the President and prepares legislation authorizing appropriations for the various civilian and military agencies and departments comprising the intelligence community. These entities include the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, National Reconnaissance Office, as well as the intelligence-related components of Department of State, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of the Treasury, and Department of Energy. The Committee makes recommendations to the Senate Armed Services Committee on authorizations for the intelligence-related components of the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, and U.S. Marine Corps. The Committee also conducts periodic investigations, audits, and inspections of intelligence activities and programs.
The Senate Special Committee on Aging was first established in 1961 as a temporary committee. It was granted permanent status on February 1, 1977. While special committees have no legislative authority, they can study issues, conduct oversight of programs, and investigate reports of fraud and waste.
Throughout its existence, the Special Committee on Aging has served as a focal point in the Senate for discussion and debate on matters relating to older Americans. Often, the Committee will submit its findings and recommendations for legislation to the Senate. In addition, the Committee publishes materials of assistance to those interested in public policies which relate to the elderly.
The Committee has a long and influential history. It has called the Congress' and the nation's attention to many problems affecting older Americans. The Committee was exploring health insurance coverage of older Americans prior to the enactment of Medicare in 1965.
Since the passage of that legislation, the Committee has continually reviewed Medicare's performance on an almost annual basis. The Committee has also regularly reviewed pension coverage and employment opportunities for older Americans. It has conducted oversight of the administration of major programs like Social Security and the Older Americans Act. Finally, it has crusaded against frauds targeting the elderly and Federal programs on which the elderly depend.
Senator Frank Moss (D-Utah) brought to light unacceptable conditions in nursing homes. Senator Frank Church (D-Idaho) worked on adding more protections for seniors in the area of age discrimination. Senator John Heinz (R-Pennsylvania) reviewed Medicare's Prospective Payment System to see whether it was true the system was forcing Medicare beneficiaries to be discharged "quicker and sicker."
When the statute of limitations for age discrimination in employment claims had lapsed, Senator John Melcher (D-Montana) worked to restore the rights to America's older individuals. Senator David Pryor (D-Arkansas) investigated the pricing practices for prescription drugs and his efforts helped change the pricing behavior of pharmaceutical companies. Senator Bill Cohen (R-Maine) led the way to enactment of strong health care anti-fraud legislation. Under Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) the committee investigated abuses in the nursing home and funeral home industries. Sen. John Breaux (D-Louisiana) focused the committee's work on long-term care.
Over the years, the Committee has been in the thick of the debate on issues of central concern to older Americans. As the baby boom generation begins to retire en masse, the work of the Special Committee on Aging has only just begun.
The Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship oversees all legislation and issues relating to the Small Business Administration (SBA), as well as studying issues affecting the function of American small business enterprises.