Economic uncertainty is gripping Americans from coast to coast. The stock market has been volatile and the housing market is undeniably in a serious slow down. After eight years of tremendous trials ranging from a terrorist attack to corporate scandals to natural disasters, our economy has weathered a great deal. While I believe we have a solid economic foundation, it’s imperative that we address the areas that need the most attention to shore things up.
Congress and the President are working together in a bipartisan way to create a temporary economic growth package that will have maximum impact, while avoiding long term tax increases. Because we have seen that targeted tax relief can have a stimulative impact, I believe any package should include such relief. This could mean tax incentives for businesses that would help hire more workers, or temporary rebates that would encourage economic activity.
On the housing front, we need to do what we can to help struggling homeowners, without resorting to a bailout for the lenders who created the problem in the first place. I supported the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007, H.R. 3648, which President Bush signed into law in December. This legislation will help Americans avoid foreclosure by protecting them from higher taxes when they refinance their mortgages. But there is more we can do. We can take steps to modernize the Federal Housing Administration, which will help more Americans qualify for prime-rate federal home loans. We can also advance legislation to reform Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, so that they can be better regulated and more focused on their mission of helping Americans find affordable housing.
These are just some of the steps we can take to help Americans weather the current economic storms. But government alone cannot and should not do the job. We cannot resort to massive spending increases or tax hikes in the name of short-term economic stimulus that has long-term negative consequences. Whatever we pursue, the focus should be on continuing growth and helping American families plan for a brighter economic future.
Member of Congress