Saturday, July 11, 2009
Rep. McCarthy: fighting Democratic spending and the Obama health care reform package
Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, brings us up to date with what is going on in Washington, in his own words:
"It was a busy week in Congress as we continued work on appropriations bills. We voted on three: Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs. I continue to be concerned with the alarming spending rates initiated by the Democrat controlled Congress given the lack of time and transparency necessary to target waste and abuse of taxpayer dollars. During these tough economic times, we need to be careful how we spend taxpayer dollars and focus our efforts on long term job creation that Californians need.
"Tuesday night, Treasury Secretary Geithner joined a bipartisan group of Members for an informal, off-the-record discussion about the current economy and financial regulatory reform. He provided some insight behind the Administration’s financial regulatory reform plan and we had a spirited discussion.
"I started off the week in the Financial Services Committee reviewing the Section 8 (public-housing) Voucher Reform Act of 2009. I was able to offer an amendment which would have provided Housing and Urban Development (HUD) with the ability to quantify the effectiveness of public housing authorities (PHAs) in deconcentrating poverty. Unfortunately, this attempt at much needed accountability was voted down. Next week the committee will continue reviewing this legislation, and I intend to offer another amendment that would have the Government Accountability Office do a study to provide data on Section 8 vouchers in the Lancaster area. In the future, I hope to work with Housing Subcommittee Chair Maxine Waters (CA-35) to continue to look at ways we can improve accountability in Section 8 programs for our local communities.
"While the Administration is confident of passing health care reform legislation in the near future, House Democrats are not in agreement with one another, or the President on the best path forward. According to a study by the independent Lewin Group, their analysis of the House Democrats’ health “reform” plan will dramatically increase the cost of private health care coverage, and could force 114 million Americans out of their current private health coverage. We need to keep what works for individuals and not increase government involvement and control in the process. That will only limit access and bring down high standards of quality care American families need. I will continue to work for solutions that allow patients to choose what is best, improve on successful prevention methods and bring down costs that come from waste and abuse.
"Chairman Barney Frank and I have a difference of opinion. He has introduced legislation that would take dividends paid by TARP and spend them on new and existing government programs. I believe that any TARP funds repaid should go to pay down our immense public debt, which under the proposed Democrat budget is projected to double in five years and triple in ten years. You probably remember from past blog posts, I introduced legislation to have repaid TARP funds pay down the debt – alleviating the burden that will be put on our children and grandchildren. My colleagues and I have also sent letters to Secretary Geithner and the President asking him to use repaid TARP funds to pay down this debt. The government borrowed money to pay for the TARP program when it began, so we need to repay them first, rather than establishing a revolving line of credit for Washington bureaucrats and politicians. I believe that we should be helping Main Street – through fast-acting tax relief for middle-class Americans and job-creating small businesses.
"Thursday, I joined several of my California colleagues in cosponsoring legislation (H.R. 3105) that allows for the continued operation of the Central Valley Project, regardless of a recent biological opinion that could further restrict water deliveries to our farms, families and businesses. We need to keep the pumps in the Delta on, and this legislation is a common-sense solution that will keep the water flowing to our homes and local businesses to help reverse the jobs losses in our communities and grow the food to feed our nation.
"I concluded my week in a meeting with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke for a general update on the economy and discussion of the Administration’s regulatory reform proposal. As always, Chairman Bernanke provided a frank assessment of the challenges our economy is facing, and I am looking forward to his semi-annual testimony to the committee on monetary policy in a couple of weeks.
"Friday, I started the morning early with Congressmen Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Heath Shuler (D-NC), to meet and work out with the founder of a workout program I have been using to stay in shape, P90X. The founder, Tony Horton, was on Capitol Hill this week and he led a 1-hour workout session with Members that I joined. Horton may not be too far off in his theory that if Members are fit and healthy, Congress may operate more efficiently.
"Thanks for reading, have a good weekend, next week we continue working on more appropriations bills.