Colleen Hanabusa on Budget & Economy
Opponent's Argument for voting No:Rep. MAFFEI: The American people want us to work together--Republicans and Democrats--to reduce our debt, pay our bills, and avoid an economic catastrophe, which would result from default. This legislation presumes it will happen and maps out not if but what happens when the United States defaults. Their plan ensures that foreign creditors such as China, Japan, and OPEC countries Iran and Saudi Arabia would continue to get paid while we halt other payments to groups of Americans who have earned those benefits. This bill prioritizes Chinese lenders ahead of American seniors and veterans and college students. That's why it's called the Pay China First Act.
White House statement in opposition:American families do not get to choose which bills to pay and which ones not to pay, and the United States Congress cannot either without putting the nation into default for the first time in its history. This bill would threaten the full faith and credit of the United States, cost American jobs, hurt businesses of all sizes and do damage to the economy. It would cause the nation to default on payments for Medicare, veterans, national security and many other critical priorities. This legislation is unwise, unworkable, and unacceptably risky."
Proponent's Argument for voting Yes:
[Rep. Biggert, R-IL]: The HAMP Termination Act would put an end to the poster child for failed Federal foreclosure programs. The program has languished for 2 years, hurt hundreds of thousands of homeowners, and must come to an end. This bill would save $1.4 billion over 10 years. To date, the HAMP program has already consumed $840 million of the more than $30 billion of TARP funds that were set aside for the program. For this extraordinary investment, the administration predicted that 3 to 4 million homeowners would receive help. HAMP has hurt more homeowners than it has helped. The program has completed about 540,000 mortgage modifications. Another 740,000 unlucky homeowners had their modifications cancelled.
Opponent's Argument for voting No:
[Rep. Capuano, D-MA]: This is a program that I'm the first to admit has not lived up to what our hopes were. This program we had hoped would help several million people. Thus far we've only helped about 550,000 people. But to simply repeal all of these programs is to walk away from individual homeowners, walk away from neighborhoods. I'm not going to defend every single aspect of this program, and I am happy to work with anyone to make it better, to help more people to keep their homes, & keep their families together. To simply walk away without offering an alternative means we don't care; this Congress doesn't care if you lose your home, period. Now, I understand if that makes me a bleeding-heart liberal according to some people, so be it.
A bill to increase the debt limit from $14.3 trillion to $16.7 trillion.
[Explanatory note from Wikipedia.com "Debt Ceiling Crisis"]:
The US debt-ceiling crisis was a financial crisis in 2011 that started as a debate in the Congress about increasing the debt ceiling. The immediate crisis ended when a complex deal was reached that raised the debt ceiling and reduced future government spending. However, similar debates are anticipated for the 2012 and 2013 budget. President Barack Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner announced on July 31 that an agreement had been achieved. After the legislation was passed by both the House and Senate, President Obama signed the Budget Control Act. On August 5, the credit-rating agency Standard & Poor's downgraded the credit rating of US government bond for the first time in the country's history.
Under US law, an administration can spend only if it has sufficient funds to pay for it. These funds can come either from tax receipts or from borrowing. Congress has set a debt ceiling, beyond which Treasury cannot borrow. The Obama administration stated that, without this increase, the federal government would shut down and the US would enter sovereign default, thereby creating an international crisis in the financial markets. Alternatively, default could be averted if the government were to promptly reduce its other spending by about half.
An increase in the debt ceiling requires the approval of both houses of Congress. A large majority of Democratic legislators (who held a majority in the Senate) favored tax increases along with smaller spending cuts. Supporters of the Tea Party movement pushed their fellow Republicans to reject any agreement that failed to incorporate large and immediate spending cuts or a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget.