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1) TAX POLICY - The Senate Needs to Pass the “Grassley” Economic Stimulus Plan
2) CONGRESSIONAL SPENDING - Now is Not the Time for Pork Barrel Politics
3) TRADE - Trade Promotion Authority – Trade Works for America
4) ENERGY - The Senate Must Act NOW to Restore America’s Energy Security
5) ENERGY - The Senate Must Stop Harmful Regulations That Endanger America's Future Economic Growth
The Senate Needs To Pass
The “Grassley” Economic Security Plan
Key Point: America needs a permanent economic stimulus package that will strengthen our struggling economy by putting tax dollars back into the hands of Americans. The House of Representatives recently passed a bill to help consumers and our economy; and now, the Senate needs to follow the House’s leadership and do the same.
Summary: Key to a strong and prosperous nation is a healthy economy. Even before the events of September 11th, CSE advocated the need for tax reforms including a cut in the capital gains tax and making all aspects of the Bush tax cut permanent. To strengthen our nation’s struggling economy, policymakers should look at speeding up the implementation of the Bush tax cut and making it permanent, and taking other steps to spur new economic growth, such as cutting taxes that discourage new capital investments, and cutting the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). The House of Representatives has taken the first step to help ensure our nation enjoys economic security. The Senate is expected to follow soon with their own bill. We need to make sure that they pass a bill similar to the President’s proposal. It should be a permanent stimulus package that contains pro-growth tax cuts directed at increasing saving and investment in both the short and long term, and should not be a Congressional spending spree.
Call to Action:
Call or write your senators’ offices and let them know that you want a permanent economic stimulus package similar to the Grassley proposal, which accelerates President Bush’s tax cuts, reduces the Alternate Minimum Tax and provides incentives for capital investments.
CSE’s Tax Goals for the Senate
Accelerate the tax cuts and make them permanent. In May, the President signed a pro-growth tax cut. These cuts could have a faster positive impact if we accelerate the implementation schedule. And, equally important, if the tax cuts are made permanent, it would immediately have a positive effect on investment decisions.
Accelerate Depreciation Schedules. The current tax code discourages capital investment by prohibiting businesses from deducting full investment expenses in the year of purchase. Unlike all other expenses, deductions for investments must be made over many years according to complicated depreciation schedules. Congress should streamline these schedules to lessen the disincentive on capital investment and help expand the economy.
Write a letter to your Senator in support of Senator Grassley’s proposed legislation.
CSE Key Vote on the House “Economic Security and Recovery Act of 2001” bill
An Overview of the House of Representatives’ Economic Security Bill
Information on Accelerating Bush’s Tax Cuts and Making them Permanent
Information on Capital Gains Tax Cut
Now is Not the Time for Pork Barrel Politics
Times Have Changed, Priorities Have Changed
Key Point: In this time of crisis, Congress should establish spending priorities and eliminate all pork barrel projects and wasteful spending.
Summary: A war against terrorism is a costly endeavor that will require a significant share of the government’s resources. Because overall spending will almost undoubtedly increase, it is especially important to exercise fiscal discipline and avoid waste. Congress must prioritize America’s needs and avoid excessive spending on wasteful government programs that stymie economic growth.
New resources have already been appropriated by Congress to fund rescue, rebuilding and anti-terrorist efforts. More spending will come soon. But that should not be used as an excuse for Congress to appropriate dollars in areas extraneous to this effort. Spending priorities should be established and traditional pork barrel politics should halt. Reforms in domestic spending programs made good sense before and should still be pursued. Now more than ever, revisiting spending priorities is an economic necessity.
Call to Action:
Call or write your legislator’s office and let them know that although the political environment has changed due to the attack on America, Congress should still pursue fiscal prudence.
CSE’s Spending Goals
CSE Recommends Fiscal Restraint. Our government needs to be prudent in its spending. A war against terrorism is a costly endeavor that will take an increasing share of the government’s resources. Fiscal discipline will be required to ensure that wasteful government programs do not detract from our focus.
Write a letter to your legislator and tell them that now is not the time for pork barrel politics.
CSE Piece on Fiscal Restraint
A Very Small Sampling of Pork Barrel Projects
Information on Fiscal Restraint
Trade Promotion Authority – Trade Works for America
Key Point: Free trade is the lifeblood of economic growth, but current law does not even allow the President to negotiate free trade agreements. Congress must remove this unnecessary barrier to trade through passage of Trade Promotion Authority.
Summary: This legislation would allow the president to submit a finalized trade agreement to both houses of Congress to be decided by majority vote. Without it, the President is powerless to negotiate free trade agreements. Although TPA is just a simple change in parliamentary procedure, it is a first step in the fight to eliminate trade barriers between the U.S. and its trading partners. Trade restrictions protect inefficient domestic industries and insulate consumers from lower prices and better value. Worse, trade barriers deprive the world’s poorest communities of even a glimpse of the lifestyle Americans take for granted.
Call to Action:
We need CSE members to sign petitions or send letters to their legislators asking them to support the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA).
CSE’s Trade Goals
Support Trade Promotion Authority
Without TPA, the President cannot even negotiate free trade agreements.
This authority has been granted to every president for the past 25 years.
If the negotiated trade agreement is unsatisfactory it can be defeated by a simple majority in either house of Congress; this is just about the ability to negotiate a deal.
Of the more than 130 bilateral and regional free trade agreements (FTAs) in force today, only two include the United States.
Oppose legislative attempts to attach environmental, labor, or agricultural standards to free trade agreements:
Side agreements substitute government mandates for private decisions.
Side agreements to mandate labor and wage standards crush opportunity in the world’s poorest communities.
Environmental side agreements are paternalistic and condescending: The leaders of other nations are grown-ups who are better suited to prescribe regulations for their homeland than Washington bureaucrats.
Agricultural standards are unnecessary and protectionist; if foreign produce is inferior, consumers will reject it in the marketplace.
Write a letter to your Representative in support of Trade Promotion Authority
Letter for CSE President Paul Beckner to Members of the House of Representatives on Trade Promotion Authority
Senator Daschle Should Stop Stalling and
Allow the Senate to Restore America’s Energy Security
Key Point: Tell Senator Daschle to STOP Stalling! Pass the Homeland Energy Security Act TODAY!
Summary: America needs to restore its energy security if our economy is to be strengthened and our nation’s security maintained. The terrorist attacks in New York and Washington have brought the need for a strong national energy policy into sharp focus. Strong national energy policy emphasizing new domestic production of energy resources has become an issue of paramount importance for the future of our country.
Unfortunately, Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) decided that a bipartisan majority supporting such legislation should be denied the opportunity to vote! By virtual decree, Daschle literally stopped the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee from working on the bill after he learned that there was bipartisan support to pass provisions to allow for responsible exploration and energy production within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).
Recognizing a need for action on energy policy, the House of Representatives passed a similar energy bill months ago, the Secure America’s Future Energy Act (SAFE)! It is imperative that the Senate immediately consider and pass the Homeland Energy Security Act, so that these vital needs can be met.
CSE’s Energy Facts:
FACT: America is currently facing the most severe energy shortage since the 1970’s oil embargoes.
FACT: Limited energy supplies nationwide are producing higher prices for goods and services and reducing the value of your dollar.
FACT: Despite expanding populations and rising standards of living, not a single major oil refinery has been built in the United States over the last decade.
FACT: America's dependence on foreign energy sources is at an all-time high of 60%.
FACT: Because of America’s reliance on foreign sources of energy, America is vulnerable to foreign governments’ ability to manipulate energy output, placing America’s national interests in tremendous jeopardy.
Write a letter to your Senators letting them know you want to restore America’s Energy Security.
Policy piece on ANWR
Policy piece on Energy
Senate Must Stop Harmful Regulations That
Endanger America’s Future Economic Growth
Key Point: Senator James Jeffords, “Clean Smokestacks Act” (S. 556) – modeled like the Kyoto Protocol – would cut CO2 emission to 1990 levels, effectively threatening America’s future economic growth.
Summary: America’s economic growth is dependant on reliable and affordable energy. We must abandon all hope of an economic rebound if Congress enacts policies that cap the production of energy and ration its use. Sen. Jeffords’ new global warming bill proposes reducing electric utilities emissions of carbon dioxide to 1990 levels. This capping of CO2 emission – exactly the same as the Kyoto Protocol – is based on unsound science and would threaten America’s national security by limiting and rationing energy.
Our country is currently in the midst of an energy emergency. Limiting production and use of energy would surely prolong our crisis. The Jeffords’ global warming bill would cost the US economy nearly $400 billion per year, send hundreds of thousands of jobs overseas, destroy industries and greatly increase the cost of products that Americans use every single day – gasoline, electricity, housing, food – everything.
The Senate needs to pass legislation that will allow more domestic production of new energy sources and increase the amount of domestic energy produced. Now is not the time to enact legislation that will clamp down on energy production for the sake of junk science. The House of Representatives has taken the lead in passing strong bipartisan legislation; the Senate should follow suit and refrain from passing legislation that would hurt America’s economy and security.
Write a Letter to Your Senators on the Sen. Jeffords’ New Global Warming Bill
CSE Critique of the “Four Pollutants Bill