Economy & Budget

Voting my conscience for an imperfect bill

Nothing worthwhile has ever come easy. I have often reflected on these words throughout my life as a wife, mother, and a nurse for over 21 years. Yesterday, as I stood on the House floor, I took a deep breath and cast my vote for a bill that, while imperfect, will protect our economy and begin bringing accountability back to Washington.

This crisis did not begin last week or even a few months ago. The pressure has been growing in the months leading up to this vote while fear and anger has swelled within the base of both parties. Americans are fed up and disgusted with the way Washington has spent their money and caused this crisis. They spoke loud and clear in last year's historic election, sending 87 new representatives to Washington to stop the bleeding and find solutions to our economic crisis. I am proud to have been one of those 87 freshmen and am reminded every day of just how great my responsibility is.

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Bipartisan agreement will slow down 'big government freight train'

Sen. McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor.

Over the past few weeks, Congress has been engaged in a very important debate. It may have been messy. It might have appeared to some like their government wasn’t working.

But, in fact, the opposite was true. 

The push and pull Americans saw in Washington these past few weeks was not gridlock. It was the will of the people working itself out in a political system that was never meant to be pretty.

You see, one reason America isn’t already facing the kind of crises we see in Europe is that presidents and majority parties here can’t just bring about change on a dime, as much as they might like to from time to time. That’s what checks and balances is all about. And that’s the kind of balance Americans voted for in November.

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'I won't hold my nose again'

Along with my fellow progressives, I voted for a clean debt ceiling increase this spring. And over the weekend we voted for the Reid compromise.

But I said on Saturday that I wouldn’t vote for anything worse than the Reid compromise, and this is worse. I won’t hold my nose again. I will not vote for this bill.

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This is the wrong approach to our economy

While voting to increase the debt ceiling is a necessary step, the deficit-reduction measures included in this deal will further harm our economy and hurt working Americans. With unemployment still above 9% and stagnating economic growth, taking money out of the economy will only place a heavier burden on working families.

This is the wrong approach for our economy at the wrong time and it goes against our basic values. For that reason, we and many of our members will be voting no.

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The delinquency of the debt ceiling and student debt

The debate about the nation’s debt ceiling has led to important discussions about student debt. And as negotiations came to a deal, Congress was not afraid to critically examine student loan programs, particularly as student loan debt will surpass $1 trillion later this year and has already passed the credit card debt amount. How legislators approached the debt ceiling was an opportunity to not only substantively reform student loan policies, but even set a moral compass for how the nation and particularly students look at debt.

The largest change related to student loans that is included in Speaker Boehner, Senator Reid, and the revised Budget Control Act, is to end subsidized interest loans for graduate students after July 2012, resulting in a savings of approximately $18.1 billion over 10 years. Moreover, the revised Budget Control Act, largely resembles the Speaker’s original proposal.

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The debt deal is a blow to women's economic security

The debt ceiling agreement reached by the White House and congressional leaders over the weekend deals a serious blow to women's economic security. If approved by both houses of Congress, the agreement will impose $1 trillion in cuts to programs such as family planning clinics, food stamps, college tuition assistance, child care and a host of other programs that disproportionately serve and employ women. But that is just the first part of the agreement.

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Debt agreement is a good start, but much work needs to be done

We are pleased and relieved that there is finally an agreement to raise our debt limit. Allowing the nation to default or to force the Treasury to prioritize payments would have been disastrous for our economy and would have only exacerbated our debt and deficit problem by causing interest rates to spike and growth to slow. We applaud Congress and the President for bringing us back from the ledge. We are also thankful that Congress has finally begun the process of restoring fiscal sanity by paving a road on which we can achieve at least $2.1 trillion in deficit reduction.

However, we have not reached the promised land.

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Why Americans will continue to make things, cars included

There is a particular pride associated with making things -— getting our hands dirty, putting the pieces together and ending up with a finished product -— that’s the same as it’s always been. Unfortunately, though, all too many of the goods we buy today have “Made in China” stamped on them rather than “Made in America.” We know that good manufacturing jobs have been outsourced to China, India and Mexico because we know people whose jobs have been taken away; they’re our friends, neighbors and sometimes members of our own families.

But American manufacturing isn’t going away. We are very good at making things in this country, and Hoosiers have and will continue to work together to ensure that manufacturing remains a vital part of our economy.  And we have a recent successful example from just a few years ago in the fight for the future of the American auto industry. Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle stepped up to fight for manufacturing right here at home.

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When a cut is not a cut

One might think that the recent drama over the debt ceiling involves one side wanting to increase or maintain spending with the other side wanting to drastically cut spending, but that is far from the truth.  In spite of the rhetoric being thrown around, the real debate is over how much government spending will increase. 

No plan under serious consideration cuts spending in the way you and I think about it.  Instead, the "cuts" being discussed are illusory, and are not cuts from current amounts being spent, but cuts in projected spending increases.  This is akin to a family "saving" $100,000 in expenses by deciding not to buy a Lamborghini, and instead getting a fully loaded Mercedes, when really their budget dictates that they need to stick with their perfectly serviceable Honda.  But this is the type of math Washington uses to mask the incriminating truth about their unrepentant plundering of the American people.

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Dodd-Frank fails to live up to promises

One year ago last week, and in response to the financial crisis, the President signed the 849-page Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. While legislative changes were certainly necessary in response to the financial crisis, Dodd-Frank generally hasn’t lived up to its promises of strengthening the financial sector, promoting economic recovery and job growth, protecting consumers and permanently ending taxpayer bailouts of private institutions.

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