Economy & Budget

GM pitting dealers against one another (Rep. Michele Bachmann)

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve spoken with the GM and Chrysler car dealerships from my district that have been targeted for total or partial closure by President Obama’s Auto Task Force. They were given no reason, and really no recourse to challenge their closure. It is as if the Car Czar threw a dart at a dartboard to decide which dealerships would be given a pink slip. In fact, we still do not know the formula used to determine which dealers would remain open and which ones would close; which ones would lose certain brands and which would get new brands.

Now, GM is officially pitting dealers against another.  And, remember:  the government owns 60% of GM.  It has committed $50.7 billion directly to GM, plus another $12.5 to their financing arm, GMAC.  When we talk about GM, it’s hard to consider it a private entity.


Your health care, your freedom (Rep. Dave Camp)

Health care reform is a necessity in America. For too long, too many people haven't gotten the affordable, accessible health care they've needed. I've heard from many of my constituents and others through tele-town halls, and in letters, phone calls and e-mails on what we can do better to improve the health care system. The clear message is this: Americans want, deserve, and demand health care reform.

This week, the House GOP Health Care Solutions Group, which I am a member of, announced a plan for health care reform that would ensure all Americans have access to affordable, high-quality care at a price our country can afford.


Permanent tax relief for small businesses (Rep. Ron Kind)

As a continued effort to find ways to bolster small business growth and investment, this week I co-authored the S Corporation Modernization Act of 2009 (H.R. 2910), which would modify an unreasonable penalty paid by S corporations.

The most important part of this bill is a commonsense tax code change that will have huge returns in terms of growth and investment for S corporations.  Especially in this tough economic time, my goal is to look out for the small and family-owned businesses which drive our economy.  This bill speaks to that, reducing a penalty on S corporations, and thus encouraging them to reinvest the savings into growing their business and creating jobs.

Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act is a good start, but improvements are needed (Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison)

Overall, last year’s law is a good one, and it makes many improvements to the agency. As with most new programs, though, there are a few glitches that need to be worked out. While we worked very hard to write a good bill and had the best of intentions, we knew it was not perfect, and unintended consequences of the law have since surfaced. This Committee needs to hold a hearing to discuss implementation of the law and identify significant problems so we can find a solution that will not inflict further harm on the industries and businesses, including small businesses and home crafters, that are already suffering during these tough economic times. Everyone can agree that we want to protect consumers from harmful products, especially children, but an unreasonable law will only be counterproductive.

Small exporters keep America competitive (Sen. Mary Landrieu)

With cash registers not ringing like they used to, trade is becoming a practical solution for small businesses looking to survive and grow.

Small businesses already play a vital role in America’s trade and commerce, representing 97 percent of all exporters. Yet, with only one percent of small firms exporting their goods—making up slightly more than a quarter of the country’s export volume—trade remains dominated by larger businesses.

We need a government ownership exit strategy (Sen. John Thune)

In our free economy, the government can be compared to a referee in a sporting event. Its role is to ensure the rules are followed and enforce penalties if they are not. However, because of unprecedented federal intervention in private companies, the government is now both a referee and a player. This situation makes fair competition impossible and dramatically alters the free-market entrepreneurial underpinnings of our nation.

The Treasury Department has recently used funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to purchase ownership stakes in financial institutions, banks, and now auto manufacturers—rather than to purchase “toxic assets” which was Congress’s intention when the program was created. With the president acting as the de facto CEO of these companies and Congress behaving like a 535-member board of directors, every business decision now carries added political weight.

Fostering small business innovation (Sen. Mary Landrieu)

The dreams of America’s entrepreneurs today often become our nation’s innovations tomorrow. Small businesses produce more than 14 times more patents than large businesses and universities and employ nearly 40 percent of America’s scientists and engineers. Their success lends in part to two important Small Business Administration initiatives: the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. These essential programs are a cost-effective way to ensure that our nation’s most cutting-edge innovations have a chance to move from the lab to the marketplace.

One in four SBIR projects results in the sale of new products or services: from a machine that sorts and inspect bullets at a finer level than the human eye to a needleless patch that delivers drugs through the skin quickly, cost-effectively and painlessly. The bullet sorting technology alone has saved taxpayers more than $300 million and is being used right now to help our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Pay-Go: a fraudulent exercise (Sen. Judd Gregg)

It is somewhat ironic that the Democratic Congress, which has enacted legislation that swept $883 billion of congressional Pay-Go rule violations under the rug over the past several years, now wants Pay-Go to become law again as well. Pay-Go already exists as a rule; we just don't enforce it around here. While the Administration and its Democratic supporters in Congress claim they're for Pay-Go, their legislative Pay-Go proposal explicitly states that it won't apply to the AMT fix and to the doc fix exercise, as it has in the past.  And while ordinarily the Senate Pay-Go point of order would have applied to health care reform legislation, the congressional budget resolution exempted that legislation from having to be deficit-neutral in the first five years.

Waving the Pay-Go banner has served as convenient political cover for the majority as it exploits loopholes and continues its big-government spending ways. Despite the President’s photo opportunity this week, I do not expect that dynamic to change significantly, especially since the President’s budget passed by the Democratic Congress dramatically explodes the size of government.

Why America needs the Free Enterprise Act (Sen. Mike Johanns)

The announcement that the government would provide $30 billion dollars more in TARP funds to General Motors in exchange for a 60 percent ownership interest in the company is unprecedented and almost unbelievable.

Who ever imagined the taxpayers would wake up Monday morning and find out a deal was cut behind closed doors to make them majority owners of General Motors? If you add all of the government aid GM has or will receive, the taxpayers, with zero input, have invested $50 billion dollars in a high risk bankrupt company. That’s almost one million dollars per job retained by GM.

Cap and Tax will drive ecomony off cliff (Rep. Lee Terry)

Summer has arrived and you know what that means, summer vacations, suntans and unfortunately higher gas prices. Last summer in my district we saw gas prices spike to over $4 a gallon, which hit families and businesses hard. Now our country is facing difficult economic times and gas prices are again headed up—increasing almost 100 percent since the first of this year. And what is the great solution House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has come up with? A new tax. Not just any tax but a devastating tax that will punish every single American who decides to flip on a light switch, wash their clothes and fill up their gas tank. It’s called cap and tax and it is a dangerous and slippery road to go down. Cap and tax will be extremely damaging to our economy, millions will lose their jobs and electric bills will more than double. As Chairman of the Board for MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company, David Sokol said yesterday on Capitol Hill, “it throws the consumer under the bus.”