Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) submits his weekly report from Capitol Hill. In his words:
"The House adjourned this week for the year and I am looking forward to spending time with family and friends in Bakersfield for Christmas. As we celebrate, let’s not forget our brave service members who are away from their families during the holiday season. I know that local families now have loved ones getting ready to deploy to Afghanistan, and my thoughts and prayers are with them. Also let us remember those less fortunate, and if you can, volunteer some time to those organizations that help families during the holidays.
"Unfortunately, this week Democratic leaders left a lump of coal in the stockings of American families and businesses. First, they voted to increase our national debt limit -currently at $12.1 trillion - by another $290 billion. Last week, I told you about a new bill that I cosponsored, the “CAP the DEBT Act” to stop Congress from out of control borrowing and spending. While the Speaker did not allow this bill to the floor, the very introduction helped pressure Democratic leadership to hold an up or down vote on raising the debt limit. However, there is still a need for a formal transparent procedure to keep Members accountable when raising our country’s credit limit because of our reckless spending. We cannot continue down this path and as I indicated before, a first step towards a different direction would be to end TARP and pay down our debt.
"Hours after increasing the public debt limit so Washington can borrow more money, House Democratic leaders proceeded to pass another huge spending bill. Democrats rerouted $75 billion in unspent and repaid Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds (from the $700 billion Wall Street bailout in October 2008) in their second attempt to stimulate the economy. I don’t think America needs a second helping of stimulus after Democrats failed to fulfill their promise that the first stimulus would keep unemployment below 8.5%. Going into the holiday season, Congress should be providing America with an environment that will create jobs as our communities continue to deal with double-digit unemployment. Common sense tells us that Washington should not be spending more taxpayer dollars on proposals that Americans oppose and strategies that have failed to work. Come 2010, I will continue to make our country’s fiscal health a priority, so we do not saddle our children and grandchildren with debt.
"I also was able to visit with Bakersfield orthopedic surgeon Dr. Steven Shopler and his wife Robin, who happened to be in DC this week. We talked about the ongoing health care reform debate and the need for lower costs and increased access for American families. On Capitol Hill, the Senate continues to try to push a proposal that Harry Reid refuses to share with anyone else, which currently lacks the votes to pass. Rumor has it that the Senate may drop the public option but not the major tax increases. We will have to wait and see if anything comes out of the Senate this year.