Economy & Budget

Nation's largest transit project could not come at a better time (Rep. Albio Sires)

How do you keep people moving when you have the highest population density and the highest volume of traffic on highways? Transit. Without investments in transit, the region’s highways would be parking lots -- costing commuters precious hours each day, wasting fuel, producing more harmful emissions, and slowing the movement of goods coming from the port.

On June 8th, New Jersey Transit broke ground on an unprecedented mass transit tunnel under the Hudson River from New Jersey to New York. The new tunnel with $9 billion in Federal, State, and local funds will more than double rail capacity into New York City, as well as take more than 20,000 cars off crowded roads.

With high unemployment rates -- especially in the construction industry -- the groundbreaking of the nation’s largest transit project could not come at a better time. The ARC Mass Transit Tunnel will create more than 6,000 jobs a year during the construction phase and tens of thousands of additional jobs when completed.


Vehicle voucher bill would strengthen U.S. auto industry, end need for taxpayer funding (Rep. Don Manzullo)

My bill would give Americans the incentives and the confidence they need to start buying vehicles again, which will bolster automobile manufacturing and sales, put millions of Americans back to work, and restore the tax revenues our state and local governments need to continue providing services to the people.

Unfortunately, Congress and the Administration have ignored my job-creating approach in favor of further government intrusion into the auto industry that has placed tens of billions of taxpayer dollars at risk. That intrusion included the forced closure of Chrysler and GM dealerships that will put 150,000 more Americans on the unemployment lines. And today, GM has become Government Motors as the federal government now owns 60 percent of the company thanks to the latest taxpayer contribution.

Supreme Court hits the brakes on Chrysler deal (Rep. Michele Bachmann)

Yesterday, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg rightly put a hold on the Obama Auto Task Force’s plan for selling Chrysler to Italian automaker Fiat in order to take a closer look at the claims made by teachers and police officers that their rights as secured creditors were violated in the way this plan was put together.

As I've discussed in earlier posts, the question in all this is whether the Obama Administration had the right to violate established bankruptcy law to give unsecured lenders like the United Auto Workers priority in place of secured lenders like the Indiana pension funds who brought the case forward. According to established law, secured lenders have first priority in bankruptcy cases to recover debts owed to them.

Extend federal property tax relief (Rep. Rush Holt)

American homeowners continue to face rising property taxes, placing significant burden on them during this recession. Yet, while recent statistics indicate that there are 72.3 million owner-occupied households in the United States, only 40.5 million of them claim an itemized deduction for real estate property taxes. That means that more than 30 million American homeowners do not receive property tax relief. To me, that’s not right.


The 535 new directors of GM (Rep. Michele Bachmann)

One of the many problems with the federal government controlling a private company like GM is that each Congressman in Washington will be looking our for their own state or district's interests -- even if that works against the interest of the company they are running.

Take, for instance, Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank. Congressman Frank put a call into GM CEO Fritz Henderson on behalf of a GM distribution center in Norton, MA that was slated for closure as part of GM's restructuring plan. After talking with the Congressman, the decision to close the center and put about 90 people out of work was reversed. I'm not faulting Barney Frank for his actions--no Representative wants to see closures in his or her district, but this exemplifies how unsuited the federal government is in running private enterprise.


Unfair Government Competition Undercuts Private Business (Sen. John Thune)

Fair competition between companies who provide similar goods and services usually benefits consumers through lower prices and superior products. Today, many businesses face unfair competition from an unlikely source: the federal government.

When American consumers need to find a service, they turn to the Yellow Pages, or more likely today, the Internet.  However, more and more federal agencies are duplicating services that are readily available in the private sector which not only unnecessarily increases the size of the federal workforce, but directly competes with main street businesses across the country. This creates unnecessary competition for private businesses and prevents the federal government from focusing its attention on more critical functions.

GM employees and retirees are entitled to their benefits (Rep. Steve Cohen)

For the better part of a century, General Motors has been one of the most recognizable companies in the world. They produced “a car for every purse and purpose” and encouraged families to “see the USA in a Chevrolet.” They built airplane engines and tanks to win World War II, helped develop the Lunar Rover for NASA, and promoted the development of mass transit.

GM is a family company and a family product -- fathers worked along side their grandfathers, sons and daughters on the assembly line. Auto Dealers sold GM cars and trucks to generations of the same family.

These hard-working men and women are the heart and soul of GM; yet, in the wake of General Motors decision to file for bankruptcy, tens of thousands of auto workers and retirees, parts suppliers and auto dealers throughout our nation face an uncertain future.


ABI executive director provides insight on rising consumer bankruptcy totals

After a period of relatively low bankruptcy filings during 2006-07, consumer bankruptcies once again surpassed one million in 2008 and continue to climb in 2009. The increase in individual bankruptcies during 2008-09 has been most acute in those states with the highest rates of foreclosure, including California, Nevada, Florida and Arizona. The “heat map” of foreclosures correlates closely with bankruptcy filing trends as courts in these states saw shocking bankruptcy numbers in 2008. Bankruptcies have risen every quarter from the 2006 lows observed in the wake of the enactment of the Bankruptcy Abuse and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA).


Obama's defense budgets threaten to leave us vulnerable (Rep. Eric Cantor)

While Republicans applaud President Obama for bucking the far left of his party on Iraq and Afghanistan policy, we believe that his defense budgets threaten to leave us vulnerable in an increasingly dangerous world.

If anything is certain in these most uncertain times, it is that threats to the homeland will persist. Consider the recent provocations by North Korea and Iran. Last week the North tested a nuclear weapon and fired off a salvo of missiles. It is also reportedly preparing to test a longer-range missile in the near future. Meanwhile, Iran is defiantly developing the material to build the nuclear bomb. Last month, it brazenly test-fired a surface-to-surface missile with a range of 2,000 km.