Hoyer Press Staff Blog

Blog posts from the press staff of Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer

September 21, 2011

Add House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan to the growing list of Republicans who have compared Social Security to a Ponzi scheme.

As the Huffington Post reports:

Speaking on conservative radio on Tuesday, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) agreed with Texas Gov. Rick Perry's (R) claim that Social Security is a "Ponzi scheme."

When asked by host Laura Ingraham on Tuesday whether the country's social insurance program is a Ponzi scheme, Ryan replied, "That is how those schemes work."

Ryan’s comments come on the heels of similar comparisons from Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Rep. Jeb Hensarling.

The fact checkers have declared this claim unequivocally “false,” yet Republicans continue to make it, once again putting ideology ahead of the needs of the millions of seniors who depend on the program.
 

September 21, 2011

Bad news for House Republicans: a new Gallup poll shows Americans favor President Obama’s plan to reduce the deficit, create jobs, strengthen our entitlements and ensure all Americans pay their fair share.

From the poll:

Americans support Obama’s plan to pay for the American Jobs Act:

  • 70% of Americans support increasing taxes on some corporations by eliminating certain tax deductions
  • 66% support increasing income taxes on individuals earning at least $200,000 and families earning at least $250,000

Americans support the component pieces of the Americans Jobs Act:

  • 85% support providing tax cuts for small businesses, including incentives to hire workers
  • 75% support providing additional funds to hire teachers, police officer and firefighters
  • 73% support giving tax breaks to companies hiring people who have been unemployed for more than six months 
  • 72% support providing additional funds to modernize more than 30,000 schools 
  • 56% support extending unemployment insurance

Americans think the American Jobs Act will help:

  • 65% think it will help a lot or a little to create jobs
  • 60% think it will help a lot or a little to improve the economy

We hope Republicans will listen to the American people and abandon their ideological agenda so that we can reduce the deficit in a balanced way, grow our economy and help put more Americans back to work.

September 20, 2011

Wanted to be sure you saw this editorial in today’s New York Times on President Obama’s plan to reduce the deficit, create jobs, strengthen entitlements and ensure all Americans pay their fair share.

Key excerpts:

“This time, [President Obama] issued an unabashed call for economic fairness in cutting the federal deficit, asking as much from those on the economy’s upper rungs as from those lower down whose programs may be trimmed.”

It pays for the desperately needed jobs plan he sent to Congress last week without more mindless hacking at government programs, and would be a much better alternative to the $1.2 trillion in across-the-board spending cuts that loom if Congress does not pass a debt plan this year.”

Republicans will, of course, mount obdurate opposition in Congress, since they have no intention of allowing the government to ask anything from the wealthy and corporations. Even before the plan was announced, the party’s leaders had rolled out their rusted artillery, calling an increase in taxes on high earners ‘class warfare’ and insisting that it would fatally wound ‘job creators.’ (In fact, less than 2 percent of the nation’s small businesses would be affected by the tax increases.)”

“…the president did not let that predictable line of argument stop him, and even had a good rejoinder: ‘This is not class warfare. It’s math. The money is going to have to come from someplace.’ It could come from the middle class, from the elderly and the poor, by asking them to give up benefits from programs like Medicare, Medicaid and food stamps — as many Republicans are advocating. It could come by pulling money from road building, schools, food inspection and other vital government services. Those are unacceptable choices, he said, particularly if the rich give up nothing…”

September 19, 2011
Republicans are already claiming the President’s deficit reduction plan is the largest tax increase in history. But unfortunately for them, the facts don’t back them up. Drawing straight from their source, here are the facts:   
  • The Treasury Department working paper they’ve referenced compares the first four years of tax changes.
  • They are using “inflation adjusted dollars,” which is an incorrect measure. Our economy is more than twice the size it was in the mid 1980s in inflation adjusted dollars.  That means an identical tax change would be twice as large today in inflation adjusted dollars as in 1985. The correct measure should be “as a percentage of GDP,” as the working paper itself suggests:
    • “The single best measure for most purposes is probably the revenue effect as a percentage of GDP, because it eliminates the effects of inflation, real economic growth, and the size of total federal receipts.”
  • Conveniently, the Treasury Department working paper they’ve referenced does measure tax changes as a percentage of GDP. By this single best measure, the largest tax increase in modern history was under their conservative hero, President Ronald Reagan, in 1982, and was 25% larger than President Obama’s proposal.
It’s time for Republicans to get serious about creating jobs and reducing the deficit. Rather than protecting tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans, we hope Republicans will work with us on the President’s balanced plan to create jobs, reduce the deficit and ensure all Americans pay their fair share.
September 16, 2011

Wanted to make sure you all saw the Washington Post's Fact-Checker on John Boehner's "misfire" on federal regulations. Turns out Boehner's claims on federal regulations contained "significant factual errors."

Judge for yourself, here.

September 12, 2011

Before House Republicans start dismissing the American Jobs Act, we hope they’ll check their math:

“Cantor said he was concerned that more than half of Obama’s proposal package ‘is so-called stimulus spending’ akin to the 2009 stimulus law that didn’t produce a sustained recovery from the recession. ‘We’ve been there, done that,’ Cantor told reporters today. ‘The country cannot afford more spending like a stimulus bill.’”

Here are the facts:

According to OMB, $253 billion of the American Jobs Act is tax cuts, while $194 billion of the plan is on the spending side.

Rather than play partisan games, it’s time for House Republicans to get serious on jobs and work with Democrats to take action on the American Jobs Act, a paid-for proposal that includes bipartisan ideas to create jobs and grow our economy.

September 12, 2011

We here in the Democratic Whip Press shop thought we’d pass along a few questions you may want to ask Leader Cantor at tomorrow’s American Action Forum jobs summit:

1. If Republicans are focused on jobs, why haven’t you put forward a jobs plan after nine months in the majority?
2. Since you don’t have a jobs plan, will you take action quickly on the American Jobs Act?
3. In the past you’ve supported several ideas included in the American Jobs Act, will you support them now?

The American Jobs Act creates jobs, will be fully paid for and includes ideas that both Democrats and Republicans support. We hope Republicans will abandon their partisan agenda and work with us to act quickly on Americans’ top priorities: creating jobs and strengthening our economy.

September 12, 2011

Our nominee for illogical quote of the day goes to Rep. Pete Sessions:

“To assume that we’re naturally for these things because we’ve been for them does not mean we will be for them if they cause debt, if they [have] tax increases and if they take money from the free-enterprise sector, which creates jobs.”

Democrats see no reason why House Republicans wouldn’t quickly take action on the American Jobs Act:

1. It creates jobs.
2. It’s fully paid for.
3. And, as Rep. Sessions admits, it’s based on ideas that Republicans have supported in the past.

September 12, 2011

Today, the President will send the American Jobs Act to Congress and we hope Republicans will work with us to quickly take action on this plan to create jobs and grow the economy.

With no jobs plan of their own and frustrated constituents back home, Republicans claim creating jobs and growing the economy are top priorities:

“Republicans have refocused their agenda after what amounted to a six-month political brawl over federal spending. They insist that they never lost sight of the second half of their ‘cut-and-grow’ agenda… But the push to slash spending in the 2011 budget battle and the debt-limit fight dominated the conversation in Washington.”

“‘I think that pretty much sucked all the oxygen out of every other debate,’ Rep. Rick Crawford (R-Ark.) said. ‘We have to multi-task and do both, and that is obviously address our spending problem and at the same time empower the private sector to create and to grow jobs.’”

“Still, when Republicans returned to their districts after the bruising debt-limit battle and the S&P downgrade of America’s credit rating, they found constituents angry at Congress and fearful of the faltering economy. ‘Frankly, I heard that they have lost a lot of confidence in Washington,’ Cantor said. ‘While they are going through such tough times, they are sick of the rancor in this town.’”

But rather than work with Democrats on the American Jobs Act, which includes proposals that Republicans have supported in the past, they are already expressing concerns about working with Democrats to create jobs and seem more focused on partisan politics than helping put more Americans back to work:

“House Republicans may pass bits and pieces of President Barack Obama’s jobs plan, but behind the scenes, some Republicans are becoming worried about giving Obama any victories — even on issues the GOP has supported in the past.”

And despite public declarations about finding common ground with Obama, some Republicans are privately grumbling that their leaders are being too accommodating with the president.”

“‘Obama is on the ropes; why do we appear ready to hand him a win?’ said one senior House Republican aide who requested anonymity to discuss the matter freely.”

September 8, 2011

To: Interested Parties
From: Democratic Whip Press Office
Re: President Obama’s Jobs Speech & The Make It In America Plan

The American people sent a clear message over the August recess: They want us to do more to create jobs. Tonight, President Obama will outline his plan to create jobs now and improve our economy. As you listen to the speech, we expect you will hear a lot of overlap with the Democrats’ Make It In America plan to rebuild American manufacturing, create well-paying jobs and put people back to work. President Obama’s plans to help small businesses and middle class workers are ideas at the core of Make It In America plan.

We also anticipate President Obama will urge Congress to set aside our differences and work together to help more hard-working Americans. The Make It In America plan contains many bipartisan ideas—such as the research and development tax credit and corporate tax reform---that have previously been supported by both parties.

We also expect President Obama to discuss the need to put people back to work by improving America’s infrastructure, an idea central to our Make It In America plan and a goal embraced by both labor and business groups. Now is the time to invest in future economic growth by upgrading our nation’s bridges, roads, and runways and create jobs.

Just this week, Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Cantor agreed, stating in a letter to President Obama: “We are not opposed to initiatives to repair and improve infrastructure.” If Republican leaders are serious about improving our infrastructure, they can start by passing clean extensions of the FAA and Highway Bills and not jeopardize billions of dollars in highway funding and nearly one million jobs.

While tonight we pause to hear the president’s jobs plan, tomorrow it will be time to get back to the work of getting more people back to work. We can start by passing the following common-sense legislation:

  • Legislation to hold accountable countries that unfairly manipulate their currency (a similar bill passed with 348 votes last Congress).
  • The creation of a National Manufacturing Strategy so America can have a comprehensive roadmap, like many of our competitors do, for how we will strengthen our manufacturing sector and create more jobs.
  • The creation of an infrastructure bank to facilitate efficient investments in and financing of infrastructure projects.

But our work won’t stop there. Business and labor leaders alike support Democrats’ Make It In America plan—because Making It In America is central to the future of our competitiveness and to getting more Americans back to work.

September 8, 2011

Further evidence that Make It In America can be a bipartisan plan to create jobs: we wanted to make sure you all saw that the two Make It In America amendments to the Charter Schools bill passed the House today by voice vote. (Here’s Mr. Hoyer’s Floor remarks in case you missed them.)

The two amendments:

- Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA): Would add to the purpose section of H.R. 2218 the importance of innovation in public education to prepare students to compete in the global economy.

(Rep. Kline (R-MN) gave his support for the amendment: “This amendment is entirely consistent with the underlying purpose of the charter school movement. It improves the bill. I support the amendment.”)

- Rep. Luján (D-NM): Would add to the requirement that applicants include in their application a description of how a charter school program would share best and promising practices between charter schools and other public schools, by including in that description how they would share best practices in instruction and professional development in technology, engineering, and math education where appropriate.

(Rep. Kline supported this one too: “It's recognized that there's a growing… gap we need to fill in STEM education…. This is helpful to the bill and I encourage my colleagues to support it.”)

Even Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA) expressed his support for Make It In America amendments after Mr. Hoyer spoke on the Floor, saying: “I like your idea, I may very well join you in some of those amendments.”

September 8, 2011

We here in the Democratic Whip Press Shop will leave the political analysis of last night’s Republican debate to the pundits, but a few comments from the current Governor of Texas certainly stood out.

Rick Perry made waves when he reiterated his belief that Social Security is a “Ponzi scheme,” and a “monstrous lie.”

And one look at the record shows that Perry will find a warm reception for his comments among many congressional Republicans, who have tried for years to fundamentally change the program. Just this past June, House Republicans introduced a measure to privatize the program, potentially turning over Americans’ retirement security to the whims of the stock market.

Rep. Jeb Hensarling on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid: “Let’s remember again the main drivers of this national debt are three large entitlement programs, programs that have been of great comfort and assistance to my parents and grandparents but they’re morphing into cruel ponzi schemes for my 9-year-old daughter and 7-year-olds.” [4.16.11]

Sen. John McCain on Social Security: “It’s a Ponzi scheme that Bernie Madoff would be proud of.” [2.22.11]

Democrats are committed to preserving and protecting this bedrock program and welcome a debate on the merits of its very existence.

In fact, the non-partisan Poltifact.com has declared Perry’s statement unequivocally “False.”

Will Republicans get the message? Or will they continue to scheme for ways to fundamentally alter Social Security for future generations?

September 8, 2011

Wanted to be sure you saw this quote from Leader Cantor’s pen and pad briefing yesterday:

“‘The focus now is jobs,’ said Representative Eric Cantor, the Virginia Republican and House majority leader, in a meeting with reporters Wednesday. He added, ‘The past eight months we’ve been all about cuts.’”

And this article in The Hill:

“House Republicans are shifting their policy focus for the fall as the GOP increasingly risks sharing the blame with President Obama for the weakening economy.”

“Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) acknowledged Wednesday that the GOP had a singular focus on slashing government spending in the first eight months of its majority in the chamber, perhaps at the expense of the ‘grow’ part of their so-called ‘cut and grow’ strategy.”

When Republicans took the House majority, they said job creation would be their top priority. But nine months later, they still don’t have a jobs plan and they have taken no meaningful action on jobs. At least, they’ve finally admitted it.

September 6, 2011

As the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction begins meeting this week, Democrats are pushing for a balanced plan that doesn't balance the budget on the backs of the middle class and seniors and ensures the wealthy and corporations pay a fair share of deficit reduction. And according to a WSJ/NBC poll released today, the American public agrees with this approach.

Here’s a look at the numbers:

  • 60 percent of Americans support a plan to reduce the deficit by ending the Bush tax cuts for families earning $250,000 or more per year.
  • 56 percent support a plan that reduces the deficit through a combination of tax increases and spending cuts.
  • And only 37 percent support a plan that reduces the deficit by only cutting spending while preserving tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.

We hope Republicans will listen to the American people and work with Democrats on a balanced plan to bring down our deficit, strengthen the solvency of our entitlements, support job creation, and protect the middle class and seniors.

September 2, 2011

After 8 months with no jobs plan, House Republicans must be feeling the heat. One week after President Obama’s jobs address, Speaker Boehner plans to deliver remarks on “jobs and economic growth” at the Economic Club of Washington, D.C. But we wouldn’t bet on the Speaker actually laying out a jobs plan. Since taking the House majority, Republicans have said over and over again that they are focused on jobs, and yet they still don’t have a jobs plan and have taken very little action to help put more Americans back to work. Democrats, on the other hand, do have a plan – the Make It In America plan to support job creation by promoting an encouraging environment for businesses to innovate and make products here in the U.S.

Here’s a recap of the year, so far:

August 30, 2011

Wanted to pass along this op-ed in the Washington Post highlighting how Republicans’ so-called “jobs agenda” isn’t about jobs at all.

Blocking 7 EPA regulations that don’t even exist yet is not a jobs plan. Neither is rolling back critical protections for our air and water. Yet that is exactly what Republicans are proposing.

Key excerpts:

“Now, Republicans have outlined a jobs agenda that mainly consists of eviscerating federal regulations they don’t like, with a particular focus on rules designed to protect the environment. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) released a memorandum to GOP lawmakers on Monday that targets the ten most “job-destroying” regulations in the federal register. Seven of them are rules the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is on track to impose.”

“But what’s the GOP alternative to EPA restrictions on mercury, acid gases, ozone and greenhouse emissions? Cantor’s memo only talks about delaying and weakening proposed rules, not some different approach to environmental protection. Maybe we just don’t need any more of that?”

“A recent Office of Management and Budget review found that existing EPA regulations, particularly those dealing with the air, are among the costliest to comply with — but also among the most valuable, with benefits often vastly exceeding costs, dollar for dollar. In fact, part of the reason the price of environmental regulation is known is that EPA must run rigorous cost-benefit analyses on its rules before finalizing them. That’s how it reckons that every dollar spent on some of the measures Cantor is targeting — those cutting cross-state particulate and ozone pollution — will result in $30 in economic benefits from employees taking fewer sick days, a lower incidence of many chronic illnesses, and fewer early deaths.”

Blocking EPA regulations that do not yet exist is not a jobs plan. Democrats, on the other hand, do have a jobs plan – the Make It In America plan to support job creation by providing an environment for businesses to innovate and make products here in the U.S., which will help more middle-class families Make It In America.

August 29, 2011

Today, Majority Leader Cantor unveiled a more-of-the-same agenda that isn’t a plan to create jobs. In their first eight months in the House majority, Republicans did not put forward a jobs plan and wasted taxpayer money trying to repeal Democratic policies that protect middle class families and seniors. And from what we’ve seen today, Republicans will return to Washington next week without a real plan to create jobs or grow the economy.

Need evidence it’s a retread of past policies that are more about ideology than about job creation?

Today:

“House Republicans have laid out their fall jobs agenda, and it mostly revolves around killing environmental and labor regulations…”

“For good measure, they’re also planning another round of attacks on the health care reform law.”

“Republicans seem particularly focused on overturning EPA regulations – some that haven’t been finalized or even proposed.”

Flashback:

“If the House ran America, what would America look like?”

“It would have no more sweeping health-care law. The House voted to repeal that in January. It would have no more federal limits on greenhouse gases. The House voted to ax them in April. And it would not have three government programs for homeowners in trouble on their mortgages. The House voted to end them all.”

“On major issues such as health care, climate change and bad mortgages, the House has affirmed that some new fix would be needed — if it can ever manage to repeal the old one. It just hasn’t said exactly what those fixes should be.”

“‘For substance reasons, and for credibility reasons, we also need to have a comprehensive ... alternative that goes beyond saying, ‘Your plan is bad,’’ [Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC)] said. If that’s the entirety of the GOP message, he said, ‘then people will be very skeptical of our ability to lead. And with good reason.’”

Americans need a plan to create jobs – which Republicans still don’t have. Democrats do have a plan, and we hope Republicans will work with us to move the Make It In America plan forward to support job creation by providing an environment for businesses to innovate and make products here in the U.S., which will help more middle-class families Make It In America.

August 19, 2011

It’s been another rough week for Republicans back home in their districts as they try defending tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans while putting the burden of deficit reduction on the middle class and seniors. An article in today’s Washington Post highlights the pressure Americans are putting on House Republicans to take a balanced approach to deficit reduction that includes both spending cuts and revenues.

We hope Republicans will listen to their constituents and work with Democrats on a balanced plan to bring down our deficit, strengthen the solvency of our entitlements, support job creation, and protect the middle class and seniors.

Key excerpts:

“On Wednesday morning, as his tinted black bus pulled into Randy Hultgren’s congressional district, President Obama told residents that Republicans like Hultgren must be willing to raise taxes to reduce the deficit.”

“A few hours and 90 miles away, Hultgren’s own constituents had picked up the message, repeatedly hectoring the freshman congressman at a town hall meeting to raise taxes on the wealthy and corporations.”

“‘We have clear information that . . . tax cuts, especially to the super rich, has not increased any more jobs,’ one man told him. ‘I want to know under what conditions you would be willing to consider increasing taxes, especially on those who can afford it?’”

It is a scene that has been repeated at town hall meetings across the country this August as Democrats make a concerted effort to use this month’s congressional recess to change a national narrative on taxes.”

“But pushed on the issue, he offered something of an opening. He said he was willing to ‘look at’ ending subsidies to oil companies and closing tax loopholes.”

“But a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee insisted that the town hall reaction has not been coordinated. ‘People are responding because they are outraged about the priorities,’ said Jesse Ferguson, DCCC spokesman. ‘The president and congressional leadership have made sure that those are well-known. But the response is stemming from constituents.’”

“Democrats have been buoyed on the tax issue by poll numbers showing that a clear majority of Americans support higher taxes on the wealthy and corporations to reduce the debt. In July, a Washington Post-ABC poll found that 72 percent of respondents favored raising taxes on those making more than $250,000 to reduce the deficit.”

“Democrats have found new moral support from billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who wrote an opinion piece in the New York Times this week titled ‘Stop Coddling the Super-Rich,’ in which he argued that higher tax rates should be imposed on capital gains earned by the mega-wealthy. Buffett’s words have quickly become a town hall staple, read aloud to Republicans, including Hultgren.”

Two hundred people, some chanting, confronted Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) at a town hall in Kalamazoo this week. That prompted Upton, who will serve on the new congressional committee, to say he is open to closing tax loopholes, according to the Kalamazoo Gazette.”

“Over the weekend, Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), who is considering running against Hultgren in the 2012 Republican primary because both of their districts have been altered through redistricting, also faced a crowd that asked for higher taxes.”

August 18, 2011

Are Republicans finally ready to stop holding our economy hostage to their ideological agenda? They’ve done it twice this Congress (CR and debt limit, anybody?) which caused significant uncertainty for businesses and the markets. But in a memo to House Republicans yesterday, Leader Cantor admitted that while that’s been their tactic thus far, it’s now time to stop the brinkmanship and get to work on FY 2012 spending bills:

“While all of us would like to have seen a lower discretionary appropriations ceiling for the upcoming fiscal year, the debt limit agreement did set a level of spending that is a real cut from the current year level,” Cantor, R-Va., said in a memo to House Republicans. “I believe it is in our interest to enact into law full-year appropriations bills at this new lower level.”

Democrats warned Republicans of the uncertainty they were causing by holding our economy hostage to their partisan agenda. But it turns out it only took a couple weeks back in his district for Leader Cantor to realize the uncertainty those tactics created for Americans:

“He cited this as part of a strategy for addressing the uncertainty that is hampering the economy. In the memo, Cantor noted that Americans are concerned about Congress’ recent nail-biting finishes on what in other times were routine budget matters, including providing annual funding for federal agencies through appropriations and raising the nation’s debt ceiling.”

People in Cantor’s own district ‘are talking about the mess in Washington, the constant sense — fueled by those maniacal countdown clocks on cable TV — that we are ‘THIS CLOSE’ to going over the cliff,’ the leader said in his memo. ‘People feel like they have no idea what Washington will or won’t do next.’”

“To restore confidence, Congress must get to work on fiscal 2012 appropriations and the newly created deficit-reduction committee must deliver on its mandate to produce recommendations on savings, Cantor said.”

We hope when House Republicans return to Washington, they’ll abandon their ideological agenda and work with us to fund the government and reduce the deficit in a balanced way.

August 17, 2011

With No Plan Of Their Own, GOP Walks Away From POTUS Job Ideas Before They Even Hear Them Those who don’t have a plan, criticize:

Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor haven’t seen a draft of President Barack Obama’s upcoming jobs speech, but they took a swipe at it Wednesday anyway.

Those who do have a plan, will help put more Americans back to work:

“Meanwhile, news of Obama’s proposal won praise from House Democrats, particularly House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, who has pushed for a jobs initiative focused on the manufacturing sector named ‘Make it in America.’”

“‘I am pleased that President Obama will outline a plan to create jobs and grow our economy,’ the Maryland Democrat said in a statement to POLITICO. ‘This again shows that Democrats continue to be focused on creating jobs, while congressional Republicans still have yet to offer up a plan to get America working again.’”

With no plan of their own, it’s time for Republicans to abandon their partisan agenda and work with us on our Make It In America plan to help create jobs and strengthen our economy.

August 17, 2011

Wanted to be sure you saw this Washington Post article today highlighting the Republicans’ agenda since taking the House majority eight months ago. You’ll notice the article says little about action they’ve taken to support job creation. That’s because Republicans have been focused on passing bills that have more to do with their ideological agenda than creating jobs. While Republicans have made it clear what they are against, it’s not clear what they are for. They haven’t put forward a comprehensive jobs plan, and they haven’t put forward any credible plans to replace the Democratic policies that protect middle class families and seniors and that they have wasted taxpayer money trying to repeal.

Democrats, on the other hand, are focused on our Make It In America plan - a plan to support job creation by providing an environment for businesses to innovate and make products here in the U.S., which will help more middle-class families Make It In America. We hope when Republicans return to Washington, they’ll abandon their ideological agenda and work with us on our plan to grow the economy and help put more Americans back to work.

Key excerpts:

“If the House ran America, what would America look like?”

“It would have no more sweeping health-care law. The House voted to repeal that in January.”

“It would have no more federal limits on greenhouse gases. The House voted to ax them in April.”

“And it would not have three government programs for homeowners in trouble on their mortgages. The House voted to end them all.”

“On major issues such as health care, climate change and bad mortgages, the House has affirmed that some new fix would be needed — if it can ever manage to repeal the old one. It just hasn’t said exactly what those fixes should be..."

August 17, 2011

Today’s op-ed by Speaker Boehner and Leader Cantor is pretty remarkable for several reasons. First, they’re already taking revenues off the table before the Joint Committee has even begun its work. And second, they’re completely incorrect in suggesting that Democrats agree that we should tackle entitlement reform while leaving revenues off the table:

“Over the next few months, as a result of the Budget Control Act, lawmakers of both parties on the newly formed joint select committee will be in a position to make tough choices to rein in the mandatory and entitlement spending that is driving our long-term debt. We believe this work can be done without imposing job-crushing tax increases. We should be able to move forward on the areas in which we agree on the former, without tying them to areas of disagreement — such as the latter.”

Unfortunately for them, Democrats and even some of their own Republicans colleagues disagree with this unbalanced approach. Rather than putting the entire burden of deficit reduction on the middle class and seniors (as their op-ed proposes), Republican leaders should take note of their Joint Committee appointee Rep. Dave Camp’s willingness to consider all options to reduce the deficit:

“‘I don't want to rule anything in or out,’ Camp said. ‘I am willing to discuss all issues that might help us reduce our short and long-term debt and grow our economy… Everything is on the table, until we as a group rule it out,’ he said.”

Perhaps there’s hope yet that we can reduce the deficit in a balanced way, strengthen the solvency of our entitlements, help support job creation and protect the middle class, seniors and the most vulnerable.

August 15, 2011

Wanted to be sure you saw this NY Times article highlighting Republican economists’ support for a balanced approach to deficit reduction that includes both spending cuts and revenues. We hope Republicans will take note, stop “insist[ing] that taxes will not be on the table for the bipartisan Congressional committee,” and work with Democrats on a balanced plan to reduce the deficit, strengthen the solvency of our entitlements and help support job creation.

Key excerpts:

“The boasts of Congressional Republicans about their cost-cutting victories are ringing hollow to some well-known economists, financial analysts and corporate leaders, including some Republicans, who are expressing increasing alarm over Washington’s new austerity and antitax orthodoxy.”

“Their critiques have grown sharper since last week, when President Obama signed his deficit reduction deal with Republicans and, a few days later, when Standard & Poor’s downgraded the credit rating of the United States.”

“But even before that, macroeconomists and private sector forecasters were warning that the direction in which the new House Republican majority had pushed the White House and Congress this year — for immediate spending cuts, no further stimulus measures and no tax increases, ever — was wrong for addressing the nation’s two main ills, a weak economy now and projections of unsustainably high federal debt in coming years.”

“Among those calling for a mix of cuts and revenue are onetime standard-bearers of Republican economic philosophy like Martin Feldstein, an adviser to President Ronald Reagan, and Henry M. Paulson Jr., Treasury secretary to President George W. Bush, underscoring the deepening divide between party establishment figures and the Tea Party-inspired Republicans in Congress and running for the White House.”

August 9, 2011

House Republicans have walked away from deficit reduction talks multiple times, but will they walk away from the Joint Committee before Congressional leaders have even appointed members to the Committee? While Democrats want to work together on a balanced approach to reduce the deficit, GOP leaders are already drawing lines in the sand – suggesting that both revenues and entitlements should be off the table:

“Cantor said Republicans should ‘demand’ the new joint committee focus exclusively on spending cuts. Cantor also predicted fundamental reform of entitlements will have to wait until after the 2012 elections…”

Achieving a majority on the Committee so that we can move forward with a plan to improve our nation’s long term fiscal outlook requires compromise from both Democrats and Republicans. We hope Republicans won’t start taking options off the table before the Committee even sits down to begin its work and will move forward willing to compromise on a balanced deficit reduction plan that includes both spending cuts and revenues and will strengthen the solvency of our entitlements.

From Roll Call:

“House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, meanwhile, criticized the S&P in a Monday memo for citing Republican opposition to revenue as one of the reasons for the downgrade.”

As a result of the downgrade, ‘There will be pressure to compromise on tax increases,’ the Virginia Republican wrote. ‘We will be told that there is no other way forward. I respectfully disagree.’”

Cantor said Republicans should ‘demand’ the new joint committee focus exclusively on spending cuts.”

Cantor also predicted fundamental reform of entitlements will have to wait until after the 2012 elections, and cited Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) comments on Fox News Sunday lowering expectations for the joint committee.”

Speaker John Boehner also reiterated his opposition to tax hikes.”

“‘Just as both parties contributed to our unsustainable debt, both parties must work now to cut spending,’ the Ohio Republican said.”

Posts by Year

2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014