Creating Jobs and Restoring the Economy
When I took office, we faced the steepest and deepest economic downturn in a generation, one that's affected virtually every household in every community.
Hundreds of thousands of Connecticut workers lost jobs, homes, and savings. I immediately began working to restore jobs and economic growth and help give middle-class families and small businesses the stability they need to get back on the road to recovery.
I have taken an aggressive and multi-faceted approach to fixing the economy. We faced three immediate problems: the bleeding of jobs, the disintegration of the housing market, and the near collapse of our banking system.
My highest priority has been job retention and creation. One of my first votes in Congress was to help pass the stimulus package, which has helped stabilize the economy and begun to establish positive job growth once again. To date, the Recovery Act has saved or created over 36,000 jobs in Connecticut and is continuing to invest in our communities in new ways every day.
The Recovery Act extended much needed relief to Americans struggling with unemployment, including assistance to keep affordable health insurance. The Recovery Act also provided the largest middle-class tax cut in history, cutting taxes for 95 percent of Connecticut families and individuals while also giving Social Security and Veterans retirement beneficiaries an extra $250 payment. Expanded child tax credits, home buyer credits, residential energy tax credits and a new college tax credit for families--combined with the middle-class federal income tax cuts -- have produced lower overall tax rates for nearly every American.
Another key part of helping businesses create jobs is comprehensive health care reform. Health care costs are straining family budgets and businesses bottom lines. The health care reform I helped pass will rein in health care costs to reduce expenses for businesses.
I have worked hard to help salvage the housing market and keep Connecticut families in their homes. As the housing market continued to decline, we saw the financial stability of both our neighborhoods and our nation as a whole suffer. The Making Homes Affordable program is helping families stay in their homes and forcing mortgage companies to play fair with consumers. My congressional office has always taken the lead in helping constituents get a fairer shake from mortgage companies, and to date we have achieved hundreds of home loan modifications.
Health Care Costs
Health care costs are straining family budgets and businesses bottom lines. The health care reform I helped pass will rein in health care costs to reduce expenses for businesses.
Perhaps the most important component of restoring our economy will be enacting Wall Street reform. These absolutely critical changes to our financial regulatory structure will help ensure that we never again see the federal government have to choose between bailing out big banks or risking the collapse of our entire financial system. I helped craft this legislation, which will create more transparency and help eliminate financial risk to taxpayers. This reform is absolutely essential to ensure families can borrow to buy homes and send kids to college and to help provide the capital innovators and small businesses need to invest in their companies, hire workers, and succeed.
Rebuilding the Foundation of our Economy
Almost every piece of legislation we have tackled this term in some way related to fixing the economy. Many of our economic problems stem from years of neglect. We must rebuild the foundation of our economy. This requires a balanced approach that invests in education and infrastructure while cutting red tape and improving the efficiency of our government. I am committed to improving education, enacting real energy reform, shepherding the implementation of health care reform, securing access to healthy, affordable housing, and investing in our transportation system.
The path to a sustained recovery has already been long and difficult, and we are far from finished with the task of rebuilding the economy. Millions of hard-working citizens are still suffering the effects of years of mismanagement and neglect. We've started to make progress on turning the economy around, but much work remains. I continue to start work every day thinking about what we can do to turn the economy around so that it works for everyone.