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SUMMARY: The House and Senate return this week from their two-week recess with a relatively light calendar. The Senate will resume consideration of the energy bill focusing on the issue of tax credits. The House in the meantime will consider several bills under suspension and then plans to take up a taxpayer bill of rights which would make modest, pro-consumer changes to the tax code.
ISSUE IN-DEPTH: -- Economic Growth
This week CSE will have activists from 10 states fly in to talk to their home state Senators about economic growth and barriers to it. With the recent downturn lingering and the War on Terror lying ahead, returning our nation to economic strength is imperative. Yet many roadblocks still exist, prohibiting a timely return to national prosperity. We cannot have an economically strong nation if we don’t have a fully functioning judiciary, or if we have trial lawyers running the country, or if we expend immense resources on frivolous lawsuits. We also cannot have a strong nation if we have to keep fighting tax increase after tax increase.
a The activists flying in from all parts of the country this week understand the need for a strong economy and what it takes to get there. They also understand the need for grassroots activism to make change happen. The Senators and their staff will not listen to CSE staff merely because we have contacts in the States. They listen to you. They worry about you calling them or showing up to a townhall meeting and asking them, “why are you slowing down the judicial nominee process,” or “why are you siding with greedy trial lawyers against the American people?” Only by making sure that these elected officials know that they have to answer to you – can we even consider getting some of these momentous changes.
While in Washington, the CSE activists will be highlighting four major issues.
Tort Reform: We need to save our legal system from exploitation by an elite group of greedy trial lawyers. Trial lawyers are robbing decent honest Americans of their money, trust, freedom and livelihood. We can and should give back our legal system to decent honest Americans with real grievances. The House of Representatives took the first step by passing H.R. 2341, the “Class Action Fairness Act,” which is an important step in restoring fairness, predictability, and transparency to our civil justice system. The Senate needs to follow suit and act on this important legislation.
Frivolous Lawsuits: The President has determined the War on Terror as a national priority. Therefore, we should be focusing all available resources on this battle. However, the federal government’s continued legal action against companies in the pursuit of frivolous lawsuits represents a significant drain of judicial resources in both the Judiciary Committees and the Department of Justice. Despite years and years of litigation and millions and millions of tax dollars, taxpayers have little or nothing to show for these lawsuits other than an unending legal abyss.It’s time for the Justice Department, Congress, and state attorneys general to end the frivolous lawsuits, settle outstanding lawsuits, and allow these companies to produce products for consumers.
Judicial Nominations: America is facing a judicial crisis. We have over 100 openings on the federal bench leaving our judicial system over-worked and vulnerable. Senator Daschle and Senator Leahy, once champions of the judicial system, have decided to play politics with Bush’s judicial nominees. If we expect to successfully fight a war on terror we need to make sure our domestic systems are working efficiently and effectively. The Senate puts our entire judicial system in jeopardy through their political foot dragging. Enough is enough, they need to bring the Bush nominees to the Senate floor for an up or down vote.
Tax Permanence and Budget Frugality: Last year President Bush signed into law the largest tax cut in a generation. This tax cut finally returned some of what hard working Americans deserve to their families. Unfortunately due to arcane budget rules, the tax cuts had to be phased out after only ten years. That means in 2011; the death tax returns, your marginal rates go back up and the marriage penalty increases again. We cannot allow these types of tax increases and must fight now to make the cuts enacted last year permanent.