America’s families and businesses are facing an economic crisis, and the New Direction Congress is fighting for real solutions to rebuild our economy, create good-paying jobs here at home and making us more competitive in the 21st century global economy, and promote consumer and investor confidence.
CONGRESSIONAL ACTION ON THE ECONOMY THIS WEEK
During a House Democratic Leadership conference call on Monday, leading economists urged Congress to pass an economic recovery package soon to give another boost to the economy, create jobs, and lessen the severity of an economic downturn.
At a Small Business Committee hearing, Rep. Velazquez released a report, entitled "Small Business Economic Outlook: Assessing Current Conditions and Challenges to Growth." The report states; "While current circumstances may be different from those in the past, the blueprint for recovery remains the same. More jobs, and greater economic growth–that’s the formula we need, and that’s the formula small businesses can provide."
At a Ways and Means Committee hearing, governors and experts testified that Congressional action is needed to stave off deep cuts in health care, education and public safety. "States didn’t cause this crisis and we shouldn’t be left to deal with it alone. A rescue package from the federal government will help soften the blow for average Americans," said Gov. Patterson of New York.
At a Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing, experts testified that investing in rebuilding America would create good-paying jobs and make us more competitive in the 21st Century. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials testified that more than 3,000 highway projects that could be under construction within 90 days.
Judiciary Committee Chairman Conyers and others sent a letter to DOJ and FBI raising concerns about delays or lack of federal effort to investigate and prosecute mortgage fraud.
The Joint Economic Committee released a report documenting that the prospect for a consumer-led recovery is highly unlikely and making the case for an economic recovery and job creation package for Main Street.
At a Joint Economic Committee, New York University economist Nouriel Roubin testified "This fiscal stimulus should be voted on and spent as soon as possible, as delay will make the economic contraction even more severe."
Speaker Pelosi and Leader Reid sent a letter calling on Treasury Secretary Paulson to strengthen restrictions on golden parachutes for CEOs and top executives in the newly devised portion of the financial rescue that injects capital into banks.
HEARINGS IN NOVEMBER
Thursday, November 13: The Oversight and Government Reform Committee, under Chairman Waxman, will hold a hearing on the role of hedge funds in the financial markets, and their regulatory and tax status with the five managers who were paid over $1 billion last year.
Tuesday, November 18: The Financial Services Committee, under Chairman Frank, will hold an oversight hearing on the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) program and related initiatives taken by the Federal Reserve Bank and the FDIC in response to the turmoil in domestic and global financial markets.
Thursday, November 20: The Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a hearing on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to examine their financial collapse, their takeover by the federal government, and their role in the ongoing financial crisis.
In the next month, additional committees including the Appropriations Committee are planning on holding hearings.
GROWING CALLS FOR ECONOMIC RECOVERY PACKAGE
A wide-ranging bipartisan coalition of local and state elected and appointed officials has called on Congress to pass an economic recovery package that would include critical investments to create jobs and ensure that Americans’ needs are met. (The coalition includes the National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National League of Cities, the National Association of Counties, the Council of State Governments, and the International City/County Management Association.)
74% of national economists surveyed by USA Today agree that Congress should pass an economic recovery package to boost the economy, create jobs and provide assistance to Americans. [USA Today, 10/28/08]
"The only way to prevent a deepening recession will be a temporary program of increased government spending…" Op-ed in Washington Post by Martin Feldstein, economics professor at Harvard University, an adviser to the McCain campaign, and president emeritus of the National Bureau of Economic Research. [Washington Post, 10/30/08]
The Business Roundtable CEOs announced their public support for an economic recovery and job creation package that would include such elements as expanding "energy efficiency initiatives"; funding "green technology job training programs;" extending unemployment insurance; and investing in rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure. [10/30/08]