Economy & Budget

Americans need real recovery and real leadership

Like many others, I disagree with the president’s assertion that the “private sector is doing fine.”
And I’m certain the more than 23 million Americans who remain unemployed or underemployed also disagree.
I’ve long said private sector job creation should be the number one domestic priority today.
In President Barack Obama’s view, we just need more government jobs.


Farm Bill's catfish inspection program is a fishy proposition

As the U.S. Senate takes up the 2012 Farm Bill, prepare for another vigorous debate: is the Farm Bill needed to support a vital sector of our economy, or is it a government giveaway that benefits corporations and the well-connected at the expense of the rest of us?  

A closer look at one component of the last Farm Bill—the catfish inspection program—suggests the latter. And that’s bad news for the future of farm policy.


What sin has JP Morgan committed other than being big enough to lose billions?

On May 10, JP Morgan Chase Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon announced a $2 billion loss in the firm’s Chief Investment Office trading portfolio. Since the disclosure, we have heard of investigations by the SEC, the FBI, and DOJ, among others. Dimon appeared before the Senate Banking Committee on June 13 in submission to the committee’s oversight purview, and he will be doing the same today (June 19) before my committee, the House Financial Services Committee.


Will the House block the Farm Bill pig-out?

Pundits claim that partisanship is creating gridlock in Washington. But in the Senate, the two parties still know how to make bipartisan deals on big government subsidy legislation. That chamber may move ahead with a massive agriculture bill that would spend almost $1 trillion over the next decade. Supporters are calling it a “reform” bill because it would trim a measly two percent from projected spending over the period.


Now is not the time to cut feeding programs

The Farm Bill touches the lives of every American. From the hundreds of thousands of farmers who grow our fruits and vegetables and raise our livestock to the millions of hungry Americans who depend on federal feeding programs, no one can deny the importance of this legislation. The Farm Bill protects our farmers from catastrophic weather, providing a safety-net for small family farms. It protects consumers from volatile and unpredictable food prices. Considering its significant impact for so many Americans, Congress must come together to reauthorize the Farm Bill this year. 


A Farm Bill we can be proud of

If you ate breakfast this morning, then you’ve already been touched today by the policies and programs currently under debate as part of the 2012 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill is a lot more than subsidy formulas and sustainability initiatives: It is the crucial underpinning of the cost and availability of the food you and I eat every day.


Let the H-2B guestworker program do what it's supposed to

Today, the Senate Appropriations Committee is likely to vote on amendments to the 2013 Appropriations bill that could undercut crucial reforms to the H-2B guestworker program.
The H-2B program allows employers to hire temporary foreign workers for seasonal jobs when American workers aren’t available. At any given time, there are about 115,000 such workers employed in the U.S., in industries like construction, retail, hospitality, janitorial, landscaping, seafood processing and forestry.


Why investment in Africa makes a difference

Critics of providing endless development aid to Africa are right, but not for the reasons you might think. That is because development aid is just part of the picture on how to engage a continent which still grapples with famine, war, and disease but that also has growth rates that are leaving other regions, including Europe and Latin America, in the dust. While the development aid is still essential, what is also really needed now is increased engagement with Africa to support economic development and to build trade relations through foreign direct investment. 


A cost-effective Farm Bill with a strong, market-based safety net

America’s security and prosperity depend on the productivity of American farmers and ranchers, which is why I am urging strong support for the bipartisan, cost-effective farm bill that we have developed in the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee. The Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act now making its way through Congress is aptly named, because it is about food, fiber and fuel, but it is also about jobs, the health of our economy and the security of our nation.

First of all, farmers and ranchers throughout our country provide the highest quality, lowest-cost food supply, not only in the world, but in the entire history of the world. That makes the health of America’s farm economy vitally important to every single American anywhere in our country. Our bill will enable producers to continue that remarkable record by making sure they have an enhanced, market-based crop insurance program.


What savings? 2012 Farm Bill is agribusiness as usual

The Senate has taken up the formidable Farm Bill, which sets agricultural and food policy in the United States. Proponents of the Senate bill claim it will save money and cut subsidies, but this is a half truth at best. In reality, the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012 (S. 3240) is shaping up to be a big, expensive, $969 billion boondoggle—just like its predecessors—and it needs some serious changes.