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Issue Position: Economy, Jobs and Small Businesses

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Small businesses are the engines of job creation. In this tough economy, we are going to rely on these smaller companies even more to get our economy moving again. As the economy continues to slowly recover from the recession, Congress should make every effort to ensure that the federal government is not impeding the recovery in any way. I am personally taking the lead on this issue as the chairman of the Blue Dog Coalition's Task Force on Oversight and Regulatory Review. The goal of this review is to spur job creation in Central Kentucky by changing federal policies that are burdensome to businesses.

I have always voted against giving Congress a pay raise, especially in light of these tough economic times. Furthermore, I also recently voted in favor of H.Res.22, a resolution that will cut the budget of Congress and save an estimated $35 million in fiscal year 2011.

To create jobs in Central Kentucky, I have supported: tax deductions for start-ups, job training programs, increasing lending opportunities, tax breaks and other incentives when businesses keep and create jobs in Kentucky instead of shipping them overseas, a payroll tax holiday for small businesses hiring unemployed workers and an income tax credit for businesses of up to $1,000 per employee, defended Kentucky companies from unfair trade practices, supported policies to save jobs of teachers, firefighters and policemen, supported legislation to tackle U.S. trade deficit, develop comprehensive plan to strengthen our manufacturing base, promote U.S. exports and create skilled new energy and technology jobs, and support education to help our children compete in the global economies of the future.

I voted against the Wall Street Bailout and believe that we need to break up "too big to fail" Wall Street banks. So with three other colleagues, I introduced the Safe, Accountable, Fair, and Efficient (SAFE) Banking Act of 2010. Our bill would prevent any single bank from controlling more than 10% of our nation's total insured deposits. The legislation would also cap a bank's liability at 2% of the national GDP (3% for non-banks) and create a 6% equity minimum for bank holding companies. In other words, it would clamp down on the six largest banks by shrinking them to a manageable size to regulate, limiting the amount of extreme risk they can take, and eliminating the need for bailouts, all while protecting our small community banks.

Local banks in Kentucky are the ones lending to small businesses that will create jobs. Their role in our economic recovery is very important, and we have to make sure any action we take protects them. Kentucky's small banks did not make the risky investments of Wall Street banks, and the vast majority of them are safe and sound institutions. Community banks did nothing wrong, and they should not be punished for the irresponsibility of Wall Street.

The effects of the ailing economy continue to be felt in the everyday lives of American families and businesses. I believe we must address the root causes of the economic crisis--such as high energy costs and the housing market--while doing all we can to quickly jump start the economy. We must invest in science and technology, while also making advances in clean and renewable energy to keep our energy costs down. As a fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrat, I believe we must be good stewards of taxpayer dollars while making strategic investments in our people and remaining focused on ways to bring down our national debt. Getting our economy moving again is also the best way to get our national debt under control.


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