Economy & Budget

The Reducing Barack Obama’s Unsustainable Deficit Act (Rep. Tom Price)

Jobs are being lost everyday, the deficit continues to explode and the American people are angry.

It’s now been six months since President Obama moved into the White House and in that short time, we have seen all his economic policies fall flat on their face. The unemployment rate has skyrocketed to 9.5%, and the stimulus package has been defined by delays, fraud, and poor management.
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New York's nursing shortage (Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand)

As Congress focuses on comprehensive health care reform, one thing needs to be clear: We cannot fix health care if we do not address America's nursing shortage. If we're going to be able to provide access to quality, affordable health care to every American - we need to have the trained health care professionals inside hospitals to provide that care.

We have a serious nursing shortage in New York State and right here in New York City. Hospitals and other health care providers are experiencing vacancies today, and over the next 10 years, we're on a path for the problem to only get worse as the need for nurses grows.
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The Big Question, June 23: Healthcare and climate change?

The Big Question for Tuesday, June 23:
Will Democrats be able to pass both of their two top priorities, healthcare and climate change legislation, by year’s end? Why or why not?

Read responses below from Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), John Cornyn (R-Tex.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Mel Martinez (R-Fla.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Dean Baker, John Castellani, and Tom McClusky.

Read the last Big Question here.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said:
“Let’s talk about that. The climate-change proposal was roundly rejected in a bipartisan fashion because it would create a 618-something billion dollar cap-and-trade tax. And it is an approach nobody has ever taken before that would really hurt the consumer and American business. So their approach is not going to go anywhere, but we could get something along the Warner-Lieberman approach–[that] might get passed.

“On healthcare I think the one thing I can tell you is that the public, government option is not going to make it. That’s all I can tell you. I think there’s a lot of talk about different approaches but the government option will kill private-sector competition. I think that has met its demise. I hope.”

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), said:
You’ll recall that the leadership was [for] doing it before the August recess, and that is looking increasingly less likely. I think it depends on what the attitude of the democratic leadership is, and the White House. Do they want to do these things in a bipartisan way or do they want to just try to jam them? I think the extent to which they try to jam them in a partisan fashion makes it less likely things are going to get done in a partisan way.

I think there’ll be an effort to pass healthcare reform by the end of the year. I think we should, assuming it’s the right kind of reform. READ THE FULL RESPONSE HERE.


Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.)
said:
“My wife is a mind reader better than me, but  I would say that both are problematic because of the cost component and the divisions that I see on their side.”

Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), said:
It’s an ambitious agenda. I think we have a chance of doing both, I think it’s hard to do both, but I think we have a chance. It’s like with healthcare. We have a problem in healthcare, the only to fix the problem is to try to fix it, and we’re trying. We have senators meeting around the clock now trying to work through the healthcare bill. They’re trying very, very hard to get something done. So when you have senators in here working together trying to get something done, you don’t have a guarantee you’re going to get a bill that will pass, but at least you’re making a really good effort. I think they’re making a good effort. I’m realistic about it, because I know how hard it is, but I think we have a shot for by the end of the year.


Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.)
said:
“I think I don’t know. I mean, I know I don’t know. Because it’s a matter of trying to get through a whole bunch of important things in terms of healthcare. It’s not just about what’s the mechanism to insure the people who are currently uninsured. You’ve got to also have the underlying reform of the delivery system. You’ve got to figure out the cost. Who pays and how much? So that’s a major challenge. If the stars align, perhaps it’s possible.

“Energy being the other one, well it seems things are moving along at least on the Senate side. It’s something that might be able to get bipartisan support. We’ll just have to see as more information comes out about what the bill consists of.”

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said:
“I don’t know. It’s too early to tell.”

Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.), said:
Unless they figure out how they’re going to pay for healthcare, unless they figure out a way of doing climate change that does not create an energy tax, then I think they are both in trouble.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) said:
[laughing] “Time will tell.”

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), said:
That’s our goal. We have the president’s support.



Dean Baker, co-director for the Center for Economic and Policy Research, said:
“The Democrats will pass both, the only question is whether the bills they end up passing will be worth anything.

President Obama has put his prestige on the line to push both health care reform and climate change legislation. However, he also has indicated a willingness to compromise to get bills through Congress.

Compromise is fine, but a health care plan without a serious public plan that constrain costs is a joke. Similiarly, a climate change bill with so many loopholes that it doesn’t reduce emissions is also a joke.

Unfortunately, both outcomes are real possibilities and more likely than the possibility that nothing passes Congress.”

John Castellani, President of the Business Roundtable, said:
Health care and climate change legislation aren’t just Democratic priorities, they’re national imperatives. As the CEOs of America’s leading companies, Business Roundtable members see firsthand the impact these two issues have on our nation’s workers and on our competitiveness in the world market. We must address them by year’s end. As providers of health care to nearly 35 million Americans, our members support comprehensive health care reform that reduces costs for workers and businesses, while making coverage more accessible. In terms of climate change, we know it is a direct threat to our planet and our current way of life and we are committed as business leaders to immediate action to limit GHG emissions and put us on a more sustainable path. Business Roundtable stands ready to work with policymakers from both sides of the aisle and the Administration to address these critical issues so that America’s citizens, communities and companies can prosper together.

Tom McClusky, Senior Vice President of FRC Action, said:
“Forecast cloudy - bad for taxpayer health”
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TARP must have an expiration date (Rep. Jerry Moran)

As the government continues spending money and building an unprecedented U.S. debt, I introduced the Government Ownership Exit Plan Act of 2009. This is companion legislation to a bill introduced in the Senate by Sen. John Thune that sets a date to remove the federal government from its ownership of private companies.

By July 1, 2010, the government will be relieved of it’s ownership of private entities that it acquired under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and will require the U.S. Treasury Department to sell any government ownership stake, such as warrants, preferred stock, or common stock, from a private entity. If the Treasury Secretary determines the assets are undervalued AND there is a reasonable expectation that the assets will increase to their original purchase value, the Secretary may hold the assets for up to one additional year. What’s more, this bill prohibits the government from making any management decisions for the private businesses in which it already has an ownership interest.

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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.

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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.

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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