Contact FreedomWorks

400 North Capitol Street, NW
Suite 765
Washington, DC 20001

  • Toll Free 1.888.564.6273
  • Local 202.783.3870
Groups Press Campaigns Amid Uncertainty
null
http://d7.freedomworks.org.s3.amazonaws.com/styles/thumbnail/s3/te_social_media_share/fw_default_0.jpg?itok=mX_C44GW

Groups Press Campaigns Amid Uncertainty

BY Mark Wegner

Advocates of overhauling Social Security say a pending Senate fight over the Supreme Court might complicate their efforts but has not sidelined the lobbying and grassroots campaign to enact personal accounts in the system. Derrick Max, who heads the Alliance for Worker Retirement Security, said his coalition remains engaged in lobbying and that there is still time for Congress to act this year. "We've always said this is a 10- or 12-month process, and we're still four months inside that window," he said. Max said the Supreme Court fight "can break two ways." He said liberal ideological groups that are intent on defeating President Bush on a major issue might draw opposition away from the Social Security debate. "The downside is [a Supreme Court vacancy] will take a lot of work and member attention," Max said. He noted Senate Finance Chairman Grassley, who is working to craft a proposal that committee Republicans can support, is also a member of the Judiciary Committee, which will review Bush's court nominee. Max described proposals offered by Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., and House Ways and Means Subcommittee Chairman Jim McCrery, R-La., as the kind of "first step" that has helped keep the Social Security debate moving. At least one GOP-allied group has backed away from the Social Security fight. Progress for America spent $7 million to promote the Bush-favored private accounts carved out of payroll taxes before it shifted its focus to the Supreme Court fight. Sources in and outside the group said PFA has not abandoned the Social Security debate and said it is prepared to run broadcast ads nearly immediately when a bill is ready. Other groups remain fully engaged. Club for Growth President Pat Toomey said he detects "a great deal of energy" on Social Security, and is ready to spend money to promote changes. "I think the Club will be running some very powerful ads before the month of July is over," he said. FreedomWorks campaign director Rob Jordan said Social Security remains "first and foremost" on the agenda of his grassroots activist group. Jordan said his members are interested in a Supreme Court vacancy, but have not diverted their attention from Social Security. He said the group plans to lobby lawmakers at home during the August recess and has scheduled a "fly-in" for 200 activists for September. Personal account advocates said House action might ultimately help Grassley and Senate leaders force movement in the Senate later this year. Free Enterprise Fund vice president Lawrence Hunter said the House has no direct role in filling Supreme Court vacancies, and said he thinks House GOP leaders can find the votes to pass McCrery's proposal, as part of whatever retirement package Ways and Means Chairman Thomas might advance. "The action is going to start in the House. The House I don't think will be distracted by what's happening in the Senate," Hunter said. McCrery said Tuesday said his accounts proposal might be introduced this week, but said no decision has been made about when the committee would mark up a retirement package. Among opponents to Bush's Social Security plans, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees legislative director Chuck Loveless said he takes no comfort in the distraction of a Supreme Court fight. "It's not [a distraction] from our point of view. We're focused like a laser beam on a possible markup in the Ways and Means Committee," Loveless said. AFSCME has worked closely with the anti-privatization group Americans United to Protect Social Security. The opposition has relied heavily on grassroots and news stories, but Loveless said AFSCME would consider paid media if a bill got to the House floor. AFL-CIO legislative director Bill Samuel, who has also lobbied against personal accounts, said a protracted Senate debate over a Supreme Court nominee "certainly complicates matters." But he said the continuing deadlock in the Senate Finance Committee might give pause to House Republicans, who he said might resist casting a difficult vote on Social Security if a bill has little chance of reaching the president's desk.

07/13/2005
Regulators, Privacy Interests Debate Credit-Reporting Law
null
http://d7.freedomworks.org.s3.amazonaws.com/styles/thumbnail/s3/te_social_media_share/fw_default_0.jpg?itok=mX_C44GW

Regulators, Privacy Interests Debate Credit-Reporting Law

BY Drew Clark

Congress should not permit a law governing credit reporting to expire at the end of the year because of the law's strong consumer benefits, three federal and state financial-services regulators told a congressional panel on Wednesday. But those regulators -- from the Federal Reserve Bank, National Association of Insurance Commissioners and Conference of State Bank Supervisors -- were challenged by Julie Brill, assistant attorney general of Vermont, who said Congress should let the law lapse. Brill, who is co-chairwoman of the privacy working group of the National Association of Attorneys General, said the current credit-granting system is not uniform and that states like Vermont with stricter pre-existing laws have not suffered because of them. Brill found a receptive ear among Democrats on the House Financial Services Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee in the second of a series of hearings on the Fair Credit Reporting Act. "Sometimes this discussion sounds a little Orwellian to me," said Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee ranking member Bernard Sanders, I-Vt. "The people who say they trust the states to do the best job" change their mind when businesses say federal pre-emption of tougher state laws is necessary. When subcommittee Chairman Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., questioned Brill's stance in light of Federal Reserve Chairman Greenspan's support for the extension, Sanders interjected, "In Vermont, some of us do, occasionally, dispute Chairman Greenspan." The industry and broader business communities are mounting a major lobbying push this year to extend the FCRA pre-emption Congress enacted in 1996. Business groups worry that failure to reauthorize the extensions would lop a full percentage point off the gross domestic product and limit consumers' ability to get quick loan decisions. But privacy and consumer advocates say that states need to fight for stricter privacy laws and that the 1996 act may have spurred an increase in identity theft. Howard Beales, director of the FTC's Consumer Protection Bureau, said on Wednesday that the agency's five commissioners have no official position. But a solid majority of those who testified on Wednesday urged extending the pre-emption. They represented groups such as the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Allstate, the National Multi-Housing Counsel, Citizens for a Sound Economy and the major credit-bureau companies. Opponents included the U.S. Public Research Interest Group and National Fair Housing Alliance, and a trial attorney with the National Association of Consumer Advocates.

06/05/2003
Regulators, Privacy Interests Debate Credit-Reporting Law
null
http://d7.freedomworks.org.s3.amazonaws.com/styles/thumbnail/s3/te_social_media_share/fw_default_0.jpg?itok=mX_C44GW

Regulators, Privacy Interests Debate Credit-Reporting Law

BY Drew Clark

Congress should not permit a law governing credit reporting to expire at the end of the year because of the law's strong consumer benefits, three federal and state financial-services regulators told a congressional panel on Wednesday. But those regulators -- from the Federal Reserve Bank, National Association of Insurance Commissioners and Conference of State Bank Supervisors -- were challenged by Julie Brill, assistant attorney general of Vermont, who said Congress should let the law lapse. Brill, who is co-chairwoman of the privacy working group of the National Association of Attorneys General, said the current credit-granting system is not uniform and that states like Vermont with stricter pre-existing laws have not suffered because of them. Brill found a receptive ear among Democrats on the House Financial Services Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee in the second of a series of hearings on the Fair Credit Reporting Act. "Sometimes this discussion sounds a little Orwellian to me," said Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee ranking member Bernard Sanders, I-Vt. "The people who say they trust the states to do the best job" change their mind when businesses say federal pre-emption of tougher state laws is necessary. When subcommittee Chairman Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., questioned Brill's stance in light of Federal Reserve Chairman Greenspan's support for the extension, Sanders interjected, "In Vermont, some of us do, occasionally, dispute Chairman Greenspan." The industry and broader business communities are mounting a major lobbying push this year to extend the FCRA pre-emption Congress enacted in 1996. Business groups worry that failure to reauthorize the extensions would lop a full percentage point off the gross domestic product and limit consumers' ability to get quick loan decisions. But privacy and consumer advocates say that states need to fight for stricter privacy laws and that the 1996 act may have spurred an increase in identity theft. Howard Beales, director of the FTC's Consumer Protection Bureau, said on Wednesday that the agency's five commissioners have no official position. But a solid majority of those who testified on Wednesday urged extending the pre-emption. They represented groups such as the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Allstate, the National Multi-Housing Counsel, Citizens for a Sound Economy and the major credit-bureau companies. Opponents included the U.S. Public Research Interest Group and National Fair Housing Alliance, and a trial attorney with the National Association of Consumer Advocates. By Drew Clark

06/05/2003