CRP Blog

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Highlights of President's News Conference

"I Think Recent Days Have Been A Moment That The Country Can Be Proud Of"

President Bush: "This week Congress passed legislation to protect middle-class families from the burden of the Alternative Minimum Tax, without raising taxes." "Unfortunately, Congress passed this legislation after a lengthy delay. … [T]he delay is going to add time it takes to process tens of billions of dollars in refunds. And so … now that the bill is passed, we will work hard to minimize the impact of the congressional delay so that Americans can get their refund checks as soon as possible." (President George W. Bush, Press Conference, The White House, 12/20/07)

"The legislation I signed yesterday will reduce our country's dependence on foreign oil by increasing the supply of alternative fuel sources and increasing fuel economy standards." "It demonstrates America's leadership in confronting climate change."

"The bill I'm going to sign this afternoon increases the incentive for borrowers and lenders to work together to refinance loans." "It will allow American families to secure lower mortgage payments without facing higher taxes."

"Finally, Congress reached agreement on a spending bill to fund the day-to-day operations of the federal government." "They passed this bill without raising taxes. They eliminated many of the worst policy riders that would have never been approved through the ordinary legislative process. I appreciate that they included a down payment on the funding request for our troops on the front lines in Afghanistan and Iraq without an artificial timetable of withdrawal. These brave men and women are risking their lives to protect us and they deserve the full support of the U.S. government."

"I'm Instructing Budget Director Jim Nussle To Review Options For Dealing With The Wasteful Spending In The Omnibus Bill"

President Bush: "I'm disappointed that Congress resorted to passing all this spending in one massive, more than 1,400-page omnibus bill, rather than considering and passing individual spending bills in the normal process." "The omnibus bill was approved at the last minute, nearly three months after the end of the fiscal year. When Congress wastes so much time and leaves its work to the final days before Christmas it is not a responsible way to run this government."

"Another thing that's not responsible is the number of earmarks that Congress included in a massive spending bill." "The bill they just passed includes about 9,800 earmarks. Together with the previously passed defense spending bill, that means Congress has approved about 11,900 earmarks this year."

"We Have A Great Deal Of Work In The Months Ahead"

President Bush: "The American people did not elect us to govern in odd years, and campaign in even years. They expect us to get things done." "Next year is an election year, but that does not relieve us of our responsibility to carry out the people's business. … That's what we've accomplished over the past few weeks. And we need to carry this momentum into next year. I'm going to do my part, and I call upon the leaders of both parties on Capitol Hill to do their part."

"First priority of Congress when it returns in the new year must be to pass a good [FISA modernization] bill and get it to my desk promptly." "Those of us in public office have no greater responsibility than stopping new attacks on our country. And this summer Congress passed a bill … called the 'Protect America Act,' which strengthened our ability to collect foreign intelligence on terrorists overseas. … Unfortunately, Congress made this law effective until February 1st of 2008, as if the terrorist threat is going to go away on February the 1st, 2008."

"One Of My Priorities … Is To Make Sure [Congress Does Not] Run Up The Taxes On People"

President Bush: "My view is … that given more money, the government will find new ways to spend it." "And my attitude is, if you run them up on one area, it will become a habit that will be hard to break, and then they'll try to run them up on other areas. And the reason I feel strongly about that is I don't want to undermine the economy by raising taxes."

Friday, December 14, 2007

New Fed Website Lets You Follow the Money

Intrested in seeing exactly how your tax dollars are being spent? Visit, the new searchable web-based database of federal government expenditures. The site’s data is sortable by contractor, state, and congressional district.

New Majority Los Angeles Continues Growth

Congratulations to the Los Angeles chapter of the New Majority (John Kilroy, Chair), which just celebrated its third anniversary. Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner and I were among the featured speakers at NMLA's packed signature year-end event in Beverly Hills on Wednesday night. Many of NMLA's members are clearly determined to move the ball forward not just statewide here in California, but specifically in Los Angeles County, which is home to more than 20% of the state's voters.

State Senate candidate Tony Strickland, whose district includes Los Angeles County, drew hefty applause upon his introduction to the donors gathered.

McNerney Votes for Tax Increases Yet Again (AMT)

From the NRCC:

Washington- Rep. Jerry McNerney (CA-11) last night proved once again his commitment to raising taxes, even at the expense of hard-working Americans. Instead of voting for a clean Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) patch without tax increases that actually has a chance of being signed into law, McNerney instead voted for burdening tax increases that will negatively impact the competitiveness of U.S. businesses and the American economy (House Roll Call 1153).

McNerney voted to kill an AMT patch free of tax increases, which passed overwhelmingly in the Senate last week (House Roll Call 1152). McNerney could have broken with his leadership to ensure 20 million middle-class Americans would not get hit by an unnecessary tax increase. Instead, McNerney and the Democrats continue to block this legislation, risking that American families will face, on average, a $2,000 tax increase.

"While McNerney and the Democrats try to rush out of town with nothing to show except for a laundry list of failed accomplishments and broken promises, middle-class Americans will spend their holiday season worrying about how they will pay for even more of the Democrats' tax increases," said NRCC Communications Director Jessica Boulanger. "Jerry McNerney has shirked his responsibility to do the people’s business in Washington, and his constituents in California will certainly register their discontent on Election Day."

When will Jerry McNerney put the hard-working middle-class citizens of California above his Democrat leaders in Washington?

Friday, December 7, 2007

Congressman McCarthy Delivers for Military Families: Photos in Post Office Were Taken Down

Congratulations to Congressman Kevin McCarthy for reversing a symbolic outrage to military families in Paso Robles.

Last month, someone complained that the Post Office in Paso Robles was somehow doing something wrong by posting the photos of locals serving our country in the military. After being posted for three years, the single complaint promoted the removal of the photos.

That didn't go over too well with Congressman McCarthy, who took action to see that the photos were returned, and introduced a resolution in Congress to protect such expressions of support in the future. The group "Supplies for Soliders" recognized the Congressman for his work. (Story)

Thank You, Jeff Miller

Serving as a county Republican Chairman is a big job. While some see the position as a high profile leadership role, in reality most county Republican chairs also spend countless hours behind the scenes giving detailed attention to every aspect of a county Republican committee's political operation.

In Riverside County, Jeff Miller is stepping down as county Republican chairman after two years of effectively moving the ball forward in one of California's fastest growing counties. Riverside is an incredibly diverse county, with the city of Riverside in the west, desert cities in the east, and Palm Springs in between. Nevertheless, the Riverside County Republican Party has contributed significantly to keeping every state Assembly and Senate seat in the county Republican.

Congratulations, Jeff, on a job well done!

McNerney Again Fails Californians: Sets Stage for Tax Hike

Continuing on the path to being a one-term Congressman, Democrat Jerry McNerney again voted against the interests of Californians by opposing bringing legislation to the House floor that would help Californians avoid a big tax increase. (House roll call vote 1136)

The Alternative Minimum Tax is a deeply flawed tax that was originally intended to ensure some high income taxpayers pay their "fair share" of the national tax burden. Yet, as with many other taxes, when Congress enacted the AMT, they did not concurrently repeal the law of unintended consequences. As a result, many middle class families -- especially in California -- are now being hit with the AMT, and if Jerry McNerney and Nancy Pelosi have their way, they're about to be hit with a big tax increase.

As the Wall Street Journal reported, failing to "patch" the AMT will have steep and serious consequences, affecting over 50 million American taxpayers:

"As we look at the upcoming 2007 filing season, the potential exists for us to see a problem of greater magnitude than anything we have faced in the past," said Linda Stiff, the IRS's acting commissioner. In a recent speech, she warned that the processing of as many as 50 million returns would be delayed. About four million people had higher tax bills for 2006 because of the AMT. That number would jump to about 25 million people for the 2007 tax year if Congress doesn't pass a relief bill. (Wall Street Journal, 11/14/07)

If the Democrats fail to patch the AMT, many families will be unnecessarily strapped with heavily burdening tax increases:

It is set to hit people who make as little as $50,000 a year. Those 21 million will be socked by $50.6 billion in taxes next year. (Charleston Daily Mail Editorial, 11/13/07)

The tax-hiking record of Jerry McNerney stands in stark contrast to the tax-fighting record of Republican Dean Andal, who has spent decades fighting taxes in the state legislature, on the state Board of Equalization, and in other key roles.

For the record, on this vote to fix the AMT, not a single Republican voted in opposition. Six Democrats broke ranks and opposed the Pelosi/McNerney position.

Governor Continues to Lead on Subprime Mortgage Crisis

Governor Schwarzenegger continues to lead in helping Californians affected by subprime mortgages to avoid bankruptcy.

From the Governor's communications shop:

Today in Oakland, Governor Schwarzenegger will announce a new fund to help local homeowners who are facing foreclosure keep their homes and highlight the steps that foundations, non-profits and banks statewide can take to help their communities preserve homeownership.

At 10:30 am the Governor's remarks will be webcast live at For more information on the Governor's actions on foreclosure prevention visit:

For more consumer home mortgage information visit: or

Californians must attack the threat of widespread foreclosures on every front. Foundations can play a key role in preserving homeownership across the Golden State.

The OneCalifornia Foundation shows how the private sector can foster real, positive change in the face of the mortgage crisis. The OneCalifornia Foundation Bridge Loan Fund will be administered by the OneCalifornia Foundation. The initial contribution of $1 million for the fund was donated by founders Kat Taylor and Tom Steyer.

The foundation is associated with One California Bank, which is located in and serves Oakland, a community that has the tenth highest foreclosure rate in the nation. The foundation will initially focus on helping Oakland homeowners.

Foundations can help those who don't qualify for other protections. The "fast track" principles negotiated by Governor Schwarzenegger and the freeze on some sub-prime loans arranged by President Bush are two critical steps in the fight to stop the foreclosure spiral threatening America. But many homeowners don't qualify for the rate freeze because, for example, they have a different type of loan, or their loan resets outside of the allowable time period. The OneCalifornia Foundation fund will focus on helping these homeowners.

Clear guidelines and financial literacy help ensure that responsible homeowners succeed. Like the state and federal governments, the OneCalifornia Foundation Bridge Loan Fund has guidelines and standards for participants. Under the foundation's terms, homeowners must reside in Oakland, have a stable income, no bankruptcies and live in their homes in addition to meeting other requirements. They must also attend financial planning classes and develop long-term savings and financial plans in order to qualify for assistance.

Foreclosures hurt more than just homeowners. Our economic strength as a state and nation depend on foundations, non-profits, businesses and government to take action.
U.S. Treasury Secretary - Housing Market Is "Biggest Challenge" To U.S. Economy: "The housing market downturn is the biggest challenge to our economy. When home foreclosures spike, the damage is not limited only to those who lose their homes. Homes in foreclosure can pose costs for whole neighborhoods, as crime goes up and property values decline. Avoiding preventable foreclosures, then, is in the interest of all homeowners." (U.S. Department of Treasury, "Remarks by Secretary Paulson on Actions Taken and Actions Needed in U.S. Mortgage Markets at the Office of Thrift Supervision National Housing Forum," Speech, 12/3/07)

Action is especially critical in California.

Almost one quarter of the nation's foreclosure filings are in California. Seven of the top sixteen metropolitan areas with the highest rates of foreclosures in the nation are in California.
Foreclosure rates in California are skyrocketing. The foreclosure rate in California increased more than 35 percent in the last quarter and increased almost 250 percent from September 2006 to September 2007.

Foreclosures bring property values down across California. A recent U.S. Senate Joint Economic Committee report estimates that more than $23.6 billion will be lost in property value over the next two years because of foreclosures in California.

More foreclosures mean less money for schools, public safety and other key services. Over the next two years, it is estimated that California will lose nearly $111 million in tax revenue from forecasted foreclosures and the spillover effect on neighboring properties.

Governor Schwarzenegger is engaging banks, homeowners and the public and private sectors to prevent a mortgage crisis.

Last month, Governor Schwarzenegger worked with loan servicers from Countrywide, GMAC, Litton and HomEq to agree to streamline "fast-track" procedures to help keep more subprime borrowers in their homes.

Last week, the Governor launched a public awareness campaign to educate homeowners about services that can help them avoid losing their homes to foreclosure.

This year, Governor Schwarzenegger signed legislation to increase protections for Californians who own or plan to purchase homes and to expand affordable housing opportunities. The Governor has also pledged to work with lawmakers in the coming year to take additional steps to protect homebuyers.

Earlier this year, the Governor directed his Cabinet to form the Interdepartmental Task Force on Non-Traditional Mortgages. California was one of the first states in the nation to form a task force to examine the alarming developments in the non-traditional mortgage market.

In September, the Governor made $1.16 million in Community Development Block Grant funds available to counties for consumer counseling and urged Congress to provide more funding for these programs in California.

He will continue to lobby Congress to raise federal loan limits so that more California families can take advantage of these secure products.

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