Economy & Budget

Mrs. Warren's profession

Goodness, some members of Congress really don't like Elizabeth Warren. Is it because she's a law professor? From Harvard? Or is it simply that she threatens to end "unfair, deceptive or abusive practices," which is what the Dodd-Frank charges the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau with doing?


Delay implementation of Dodd-Frank

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) sent Treasury Secretary Timothy Geither the following letter Friday.

Dear Secretary Geithner:

As the Ranking Member of the United State Senate’s Committee on Finance (“Committee”), I have an obligation to consider the impact that federal policy has on America’s international economic competitiveness, and the impact that those policies have on international trade and federal revenues.  The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd-Frank”) contained hundreds of provisions requiring or allowing federal rulemaking through the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in the Department of the Treasury (“Department”).  I have real concerns that a lack of due diligence in the implementation of Dodd-Frank will result in unduly burdensome regulations that will undermine the competitiveness of our domestic financial industry, putting our nation at odds with our trading partners and placing further strain on an already stressed corporate tax structure. 


The only real Democratic budget

Budgets are more than collections of numbers. They are a statement of our values. The Congressional Progressive Caucus Budget is a reflection of the values and priorities of America’s working families. 

The “People’s Budget” charts a path that keeps America exceptional in the 21st century, while addressing the most pressing problems facing the nation today. Our Budget eliminates the deficit, stabilizes the debt, puts Americans back to work and restores our economic competiveness.


The nanny state can't last

Last week, Congress and the administration refused to seriously consider the problem of government spending. Despite the fear-mongering, a government shutdown would not have been as bad as claimed.

It is encouraging that some in Washington seem to be insisting on reduced spending, which is definitely a step in the right direction, but only one step. We have miles to go before we can even come close to a solution, and it will involve completely redefining the role of government in our lives and on the world stage. A compromise was struck at the last minute, but until Democrats agree to rein in entitlement spending, and Republicans back off the blank checks to the military industrial complex, it all amounts to political gamesmanship. 


Introducing the people's budget

As I mentioned in an op-ed in The Hill earlier this week, I have been working with my Congressional Progressive Caucus colleagues, economists and tax policy experts to develop a budget that eliminates the deficit (which Ryan fails to do), puts America to work building a competitive economy, invests in our schools, brings the troops home, protects social security and represents a fair deal for working families.  We make the tax code fair, asking the wealthiest individuals, corporations hiding money overseas, oil companies raking in record profits and Wall Street banks that gambled away our money to pay their fair share. We fix roads, bridges and waterways, we build a world-class high-speed rail system and broadband, we end our addiction to oil and the endless wars that come with it, we meet our obligations to seniors and we educate our children for the global workforce. Our budget does all this while eliminating the deficit, cutting nearly $1 trillion in waste, and reducing debt burden.

Members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus are introducing this “People’s Budget” next week, which world-renowned economist Dr. Jeffrey Sachs just endorsed. Dr. Sachs, whom CNN’s Fareed Zakaria this week called “one of the world's leading economists, the go-to man for guiding countries out of economic crises, ”explains the need for the “People’s Budget” in this morning’s column on the Huffington Post. In addition to eliminating the deficit, Dr. Sachs calls it “humane, responsible, and most of all sensible, reflecting the true values of the American people and the real needs of the floundering economy. 


A resolution is within reach

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor Friday regarding negotiations to reduce Washington spending: 

The American people have heard a lot of excuses over the past few days as to why it is that we’re staring at a potential government shutdown here in Washington. 

Democrats are saying the holdup is over social issues. This plays nicely into the political strategy they’ve decided on to distract people from their own fiscal recklessness. 


Please pass on the mandates

What do you get when you combine 500 federal agencies, billions in regulatory costs, and bureaucratic proposals to control greenhouse gases and the Internet? One angry electorate, and now, one irritated Congress. 

This week the House will try to unweave President Obama’s vast regulatory web through traditional legislative efforts and the forgotten Congressional Review Act (CRA). On Tuesday a bipartisan group of representatives passed H.J. Res. 37, which would employ the CRA to rescind the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rules. Chairman Fred Upton’s bill, H.R. 910, which prevents the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, and should receive a vote today or tomorrow.  


Don't approve budget including massive deficit spending

Tea Party groups from Speaker John Boehner's Ohio District 8 released the following letter today asking the Speaker and Republican controlled House of Representatives to approve a budget that does not include massive deficit spending over the next two years:

Dear Congressman Boehner,

Our country is barreling down a road of out of control spending, and our "leaders" are engaged in a battle to cut $6 Trillion dollars out of a budget that lasts ten years, when the 112th Congress only has true control over the next two years of spending. Our total national debt is over $14 trillion dollars and still rising. Some are blinded by glimpses of fiscal responsibility, but your "Tea Party" Congressional budget will still result in massive deficit spending in the next two years, raising our total debt to over $16.5 trillion dollars by Election Day 2012.


Seniors, say goodbye to your healthcare

The federal budget is a statement of our priorities and our values as a nation, and it has three goals. First: To meet our obligations. Second: To be fiscally responsible. And, Third: To grow our economy.

The Republican budget proposed by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan fails all three of these goals, and undermines the foundation of who we are as a nation.


HHS turns a new page for LGBT citizens

The New York City Anti-Violence Project (AVP) was encouraged by an announcement by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) highlighting new recommendations to improve the lives and health of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, including addressing domestic violence as it distinctly impacts LGBT survivors. On April 1, HHS stated “The recommendations were developed in response to the Presidential Memorandum on Hospital Visitation, which, in addition to addressing the rights of patients to designate visitors regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, directed the secretary to explore additional steps HHS could take to improve the lives of LGBT people.”

HHH's 2011 and 2012 Funding Opportunity Announcements under the Family Violence Prevention and Services Program was posted on April 1 during LGBT health awareness week. To it's credit, HHS articulated a new and increased commitment to recognize LGBT populations as under-served communities and to identify LGBT populations as target populations for other population-specific grants. This commitment advances the important work that the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), a program of AVP, has done to expand access to funding for local anti-violence programs throughout the United States. Funding for LGBT-specific AVPs will allow LGBT survivors to access competent services that recognize, respect and respond to the specific needs and obstacles that LGBT people face.