Economy & Budget

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.”

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.