Economy & Budget

What budget? (Rep. Paul Broun)

Congressional Republicans received a late-night surprise on Saturday.  In a three page letter addressed to Republican and Democrat leaders, President Barack Obama requested Congress to quickly approve an additional $50 billion in “emergency” stimulus funds to help bail out state and local governments.  President Obama spent two thirds of the letter explaining the need to pass this “critical legislation.”  However, on the last page he switched gears and mentioned three times the need to “establish a fiscally sustainable budget path,” “discipline the budget process,” and “ensure a sustainable and responsible long-term budget.” I have just one question, Mr. President: what budget?

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Budgeting is basic (Rep. Mac Thornberry)

Budgeting is basic.  It is the first – and necessary – step to controlling spending.  It sets realistic targets for how much money is coming in and how much is going out.  It also makes it easier to prioritize spending.
       
Apparently, the majority in the house doesn’t think passing a budget is important.  Or necessary.  Or politically helpful to them.

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Making rating agencies liable for all of Wall Street’s wrongs is not right

Like reversing the epigram in T.S. Eliot’s “Murder in the Cathedral,” Congress’s last temptation in financial reform is to “do the wrong deed for the right reason.” The credit rating agency liability concepts in both the House and Senate financial reform bills are “wrong deeds” in this sense.

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Reckoning day for the raters

If bad things happen in the dark, it’s time to worry about the fate of Sen. Al Franken’s proposal to clean up the credit rating agencies.

In late April, a Senate committee released 18 pages of email messages documenting the utter corruption of the ratings process. In early May, Sen. Franken prevailed on a large majority of his colleagues (52 Democrats, 11 Republicans, and 1 independent) to end the cosy partnership between the rating agencies and the issuers of the securities they rate.

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No matter what Congress claims to save, it still spends more

If bill sponsorship in Congress is the best indication of legislators’ budgetary demands, we shouldn’t be surprised that Washington is awash in red ink. That level of red ink, with debt poised to overtake national GDP, has become alarming to many. And as the findings of the National Taxpayers Union Foundation’s (NTUF’s) BillTally study illustrate, at least some members of Congress are starting to scale back their demand for new spending initiatives.

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Dodd: Failure on Wall Street reform is not an option

Today, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd delivered the following prepared statement at the House and Senate conference on the bill to bring accountability to Wall Street:

“Thank you Chairman Frank.

“And thank you to my fellow conferees for the tremendous work you have done over these many months as we try to tackle the tough questions of how to create a financial regulatory structure that will protect our economy for years to come.

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Finance bill a threat to taxpayers (Rep. Joe Barton)

At the direction of President Obama and the Democrats who run both houses of Congress, American taxpayers have put up $700 billion to bail out the nation’s largest banks, $787 billion to stimulate the economy, and $82 billion to buy into two of the Big Three automakers, with the resulting government deficit soaring toward $1.7 trillion.

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Reining in government spending (Rep. Hal Rogers)

At a hearing in March, I asked Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner whether the U.S. was at risk of losing our AAA credit rating, as a Moody’s quarterly report had indicated. He point-blank responded that there is “not a chance” that this would happen to our country. I wish I could share his confidence, but given how things have unraveled in the past few months, I believe that America needs to take a step back and seriously re-evaluate the way the government does business these days.

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We need to hold this plan to its promises (Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick)

The Administration is acknowledging what I and folks across the country have been saying for months – the time for business as usual in Washington is over, and the time to cut spending is right now. The American people are not letting the federal government ignore the skyrocketing national debt any longer, and our demands for action are finally being heard.

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