Ted Kaufman - United States Senator for Delaware

Sen. Kaufman reaches out: Economy, healthcare priorities

Source: Cape Gazette

By Kevin Spence

November 3, 2009

When Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Delaware dodged a bullet. That’s the opinion of Sen. Ted KAUFMAN, who voted for the bill. Speaking of healthcare, KAUFMAN also said many residents who say they are wary of government-run healthcare are already part of a government system.


“It’s amazing when people say they don’t want a government-run healthcare system. Our veterans, federal employees, Medicare, Medicaid – these are all government-run,” he said.


The problem is, he said, “Quite frankly, most people aren’t ready for dramatic change.”


In a media conference call Thursday, Oct. 22, KAUFMAN said if Congress does not pass a comprehensive healthcare insurance plan for Americans by 2016, Delaware residents will be paying upwards of $29,000 a year for a family of four.


Much of KAUFMAN’s work in Washington, D.C. has been centered on the stimulus bill that he called absolutely essential.


“Thank God for the stimulus bill. What you want to do is to get the economy not just to breathe again, but to thrive,” he said. “We could have spiraled into a deep depression,” he said.


KAUFMAN said his biggest priority is to do something about the state’s economic problems. “It’s primarily about jobs. This job loss is incredible, and losing jobs, for many, also means losing healthcare,” said KAUFMAN.


“The total story here is that everyone can prosper, if we can get healthcare costs under control. But the real threat to us, in terms of these deficits, is exploding healthcare costs,” said KAUFMAN.


He said in the United States, employers and small businesses largely pay healthcare insurance. With increased unemployment, more and more Delawareans are enrolling in Medicaid programs. Many retirees are also relocating to Delaware, increasing Medicare rolls.


Protecting Delaware’s coasts


KAUFMAN said to stem rising waters around the Cape Region’s coastal towns, global warming on an international scale needs to be addressed. “There is nothing we can do to stop the sea level rising and the rise of water coming up our fresh-water rivers,” he said.


In December, KAUFMAN said he plans to attend the United Nations Framework Convention Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, where officials will discuss combating global warming.


As for beach replenishment, KAUFMAN said he would continue to work to divert federal funds to coastal Delaware. “As you know, federal dollars that go into beach replenishment is a good return. Our beaches bring tourists and are key to the economic health of the state,” he said.


In the fiscal year 2010 budget, $696,000 is slated to replenish Rehoboth and Dewey beaches. Another $696,000 is planned to replenish Bethany and South Bethany beaches, he said.


A Biden run?


In 2008, KAUFMAN was appointed by then-Gov. Ruth Ann Minner to fill the seat of Joe Biden, who was elected to the vice presidency.


KAUFMAN, a former senior aide to Biden, is also considered by many to be a placeholder for Joe Biden’s son, Attorney General Beau Biden. “I am not running again. I know that’s what I told Ruth Ann when I was nominated,” said KAUFMAN.


But many suspect Beau Biden will run for KAUFMAN’s seat next year.


“Beau Biden just got back from Iraq and is now spending time with his wife and family,” said KAUFMAN. “I’m sure in good time, he will announce what he’s going to do.”


Federal stimulus funds for Cape Region projects

$32 million for the Army Corps of Engineers water projects.

$19.5 million for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund.

$19.5 million for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund.

$11 million for the U.S. Coast Guard Indian River Station.

$10 million for rural water development.

$5 million for Community Services Block Grants.

$800,000 to establish a green jobs center at Delaware Technical & Community College.

$210,000 for rural communities facilities projects.

$156,000 for rural business enterprise and development.

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