Rebuilding our economy and putting Sacramentans back to work is my number one priority. In light of State and local budget cuts, ensuring the federal government is responsive to our region's needs has never been more important to me. My commitment is reflected in the legislation my colleagues in the House of Representatives and I have considered and continue to work towards enacting a long-term economic strategy in order to move America in a New Direction. Democrats moved quickly but deliberatively at the beginning of the 111th Congress to pass a bold plan to jumpstart our economy and provide short-term help to those hurt most by the economic recession while providing long-term solutions that will build a new foundation for our economy for years to come.
But the set of economic conditions before us are greater than anything since the Great Depression, and the road to recovery is long. We need to create jobs and ensure that proper financial oversight is conducted so that the abuses that severely damaged our economy are never repeated. Our economic troubles did not come about overnight and we will not be able to fix them overnight. Each day I serve as your Representative, I am working to make progress to put Americans back to work and push our economy forward for American families, and making targeted investments in the areas that will grow our economy like clean energy, education, health care and infrastructure.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, enacted in the first month of President Obama's term, has jumpstarted our economy. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates more than 1.6 million jobs have been created or saved. Another 2-3 million are estimated to come. It gave 95% of American workers a tax cut, and begin to rebuild America's road, rail, and water infrastructure, with unprecedented accountability.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 863,000 private sector jobs were created in 2010 alone, thanks in part to the Recovery Act. During the 8 years of the Bush Administration, 673,000 private sector jobs were lost. I am working every day to pass legislation that reverses the failed policies of the past and gets Americans back to work.
Council of Economic Advisors Chairman Austan Goolsbee lays out the private sector gains.
Additionally, as part of our commitment to fiscal responsibility, Democrats voted to reinstate Statutory PAYGO -- the same policy that brought us from deficit to surplus under the Clinton Administration but was tossed out when Republicans took control. By enacting PAYGO, we can ensure that each piece of new legislation we pass is fully-paid for in offsets by other cuts or increases in revenue.
Wall Street Reform
Democrats are also taking steps to protect American consumers and restore economic fairness by reforming our outdated regulatory system to fit the needs of a modern global marketplace. We have already passed legislation to help rein in risky executive compensation schemes, fight mortgage and corporate fraud and protect credit cardholders.
On June 30, 2010, I voted in favor of the Restoring American Financial Stability Act, which addresses a myriad of causes that led to the economic meltdown we saw in 2008. The comprehensive set of measures contained in this legislation will modernize America's financial regulations and hold Wall Street accountable for their actions.
The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act Protects American Families and Small Businesses By:
* Creating a new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to protect families and small businesses by ensuring that bank loans, mortgages, and credit cards are fair, affordable, understandable, and transparent.
* Ending abusive predatory lending practices that occurred during the subprime lending frenzy.
* Shutting down "too big to fail" financial firms before risky and irresponsible behavior threatens to bring down the entire economy.
* Ending costly taxpayer bailouts with new procedures to unwind failing companies that pose the greatest risk -- paid for by the financial industry and not the taxpayers. It also eliminates the TARP program as of July 1.
* Creating tough new rules on the riskiest financial practices that gambled with your money and caused the financial crash, like the credit default swaps that devastated AIG, and common sense regulation of derivatives and other complex financial products. Includes a strong "Volcker rule" that generally restricts large financial firms with commercial banking operations from trading in speculative investments.
* Providing tough enforcement and oversight with more enforcement power and funding for the Securities and Exchange Commission, including requiring registration of hedge funds and private equity funds. Also ensures enhanced oversight and transparency for credit rating agencies, whose seal of approval gave way to excessively risky practices that led to the financial collapse.
* Reining in egregious executive compensation and retirement plans by allowing a "say on pay' for shareholders, requiring independent directors on compensation committees, and limiting bank executive risky pay practices that jeopardize banks' safety and soundness.
* Implementing new protections for grocers, retailers and other small businesses facing out-of-control "swipe fees" that banks and other credit and debit card issuers charge these businesses for debit or prepaid-card purchases. In turn, this will save American consumers billions.
* Auditing the Federal Reserve's emergency lending programs from the financial crisis and limits the Fed's emergency lending authority.
Additionally, included in the final bill as it passed through Congress was my amendment that will ensure the mortgage industry is accountable for helping responsible homeowners stay in their homes. Since the inception of the Making Home Affordable Program more than a year ago, the mortgage industry has only modified a small number of mortgages nationwide into permanent, affordable modifications. The mortgage industry has not lived up to its commitment to responsible homeowners. This amendment requires mortgage servicers or lenders participating in the Making Home Affordable Program to publicly report their progress in helping responsible homeowners stay in their homes. Put simply -- these reforms will hold Wall Street accountable and ensure that Sacramentans get the honest deal they deserve.
As we strive to rebuild and strengthen our economy, I am committed to continue fighting to keep Sacramento a wonderful place to work, live and play.