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Mark Warner on Budget & Economy

Democratic Jr Senator; previously Governor


Sequester was stupidest way to cut; shutdown cost even more

Q: Where do you think the economy is headed, in the wake of the federal shutdown?

WARNER: Well, I think we need to step back a moment and say we just went through an awful period for our country. [The federal shutdown] actually increased the deficit. You can't start and stop the largest enterprise in the world, the federal government, without adding costs. We've actually built in higher interest rates because any time we get close to a potential default, we're going to have higher T-bill pricing. That passes through to mortgage costs, car loans, student loans. We ought to at least first make sure that we actually operate the government for a year going forward with a solid budget and find ways to alleviate some of the damage also being done by sequestration, which is this automatic spending cuts which was the stupidest way possible to go about cutting government. There were really no winners. I mean, our country took an economic hit, and a confidence hit.

Source: CBS Face the Nation 2013 series: 2014 Virginia Senate race , Oct 20, 2013

Banking crisis caused by too many asleep at the switch in DC

When the debate turned to the crisis on Wall Street, Gilmore and Warner both said they would support an increase in regulation, even if it meant bigger government. “We have to have more oversight,” Gilmore said.

Warner said the problems in banking and the mortgage business were caused by “too many people asleep at the switch in Washington. Everyone was looking at the next quarterly profits, and no one had a long-term plan,” he said.

Source: 2008 VA Senate debate reported in Washington Post , Sep 19, 2008

Gilmore’s budgets “full of gimmicks” created $6B deficit

Warner criticized Gilmore for delivering a state budget [when he succeeded Gilmore as Governor, which Warner] described as “full of gimmicks” and accused him of implementing fiscal policy that helped create a $6 billion state shortfall.

Gilmore said there was no deficit when he ended his term and that he delivered a balanced budget. He also noted that Warner promised not to increase taxes when running for governor but later instituted the largest tax increase in state history.

Source: 2008 VA Senate Debate in The Washington Times , Sep 19, 2008

Popularity based on credit for saving state’s finances

Mark Warner is a rare sight in American politics - a popular Southern Democrat. Having left office with an over 70 percent approval rating, Warner can do something no other politician can do: hand the Democrats the Commonwealth of Virginia. Even if the Republicans run Sen. George Allen, it is doubtful Virginians will forget who saved their state’s finances. On top of that, Warner is a very articulate speaker, has business connections available to few if any other Democrats and is not afraid to utilize his personal fortune for his campaign. Since finishing his tenure as governor, Warner has been flying around the country trying to drum up support for his candidacy and elicit campaign donations. However, Warner has no foreign policy experience. With security concerns and the Iraq War topping voters’ priorities in the 2004 elections, it is highly doubtful that a one-term governor can look tough on terror. This makes Warner the ideal vice-presidential candidate.
Source: 2008 speculation: Josh Levy, Cavalier Daily (U.Va) , Apr 28, 2006

Close the largest budget shortfall in Virginia’s history

We have closed the largest budget shortfall in Virginia ‘s history - more than $6 billion. We have reduced state agency spending by 20% on average. We have eliminated more than 50 agencies, boards, and commissions - and thousands of positions in state government. And we are fundamentally changing the way we do business in government to achieve maximum efficiency and savings. After twenty years in business, I understand the importance of low taxes - but also of investing for the future.
Source: 2004 State of the State address to General Assembly , Jan 14, 2004

Must not lose AAA bond ratings

I will not accept a budget that uses inflated revenue estimates or accounting gimmicks, that endangers the Virginia Retirement System or other employee benefit programs, that fails to preserve Virginia ‘s long-term fiscal integrity and protect our AAA bond rating, and that fails to meet Virginia ‘s commitment to education. If we fail to do so, it may be a decade or more before we regain our AAA bond rating - because once you lose it, you can’t get it back for a long time.
Source: 2004 State of the State address to General Assembly , Jan 14, 2004

Fiscal conservatism: taxpayer money is sacred

Source: Campaign web site, MarkWarner2001.org/issues , Nov 6, 2001

Promote traditional businesses; small business, & tourism

Source: Campaign web site, MarkWarner2001.org/issues , Nov 6, 2001

Voted YES on $192B additional anti-recession stimulus spending.

Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. LEWIS (D, GA-5): This bipartisan bill will provide the necessary funds to keep important transportation projects operating in States around the country. The Highway Trust Fund will run out of funding by September. We must act, and we must act now.

Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. CAMP (R, MI-4): [This interim spending is] needed because the Democrats' economic policy has resulted in record job loss, record deficits, and none of the job creation they promised. Democrats predicted unemployment would top out at 8% if the stimulus passed; instead, it's 9.5% and rising. In Michigan, it's above 15%. The Nation's public debt and unemployment, combined, has risen by a shocking 40% [because of] literally trillions of dollars in additional spending under the Democrats' stimulus, energy, and health plans.

We had a choice when it came to the stimulus last February. We could have chosen a better policy of stimulating private-sector growth creating twice the jobs at half the price. That was the Republican plan. Instead, Democrats insisted on their government focus plan, which has produced no jobs and a mountain of debt.

Reference: Omnibus Appropriations Act Amendment; Bill H.R. 3357 ; vote number 2009-S254 on Jul 30, 2009

Voted YES on modifying bankruptcy rules to avoid mortgage foreclosures.

Congressional Summary:Amends federal bankruptcy law to exclude debts secured by the debtor's principal residence that was either sold in foreclosure or surrendered to the creditor.

Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. PETER WELCH (D, VT-0): Citigroup supports this bill. Why? They're a huge lender. They understand that we have to stabilize home values in order to begin the recovery, and they need a tool to accomplish it. Mortgages that have been sliced and diced into 50 different sections make it impossible even for a mortgage company and a borrower to come together to resolve the problem that they share together.

Sen. DICK DURBIN (D, IL): 8.1 million homes face foreclosure in America today. Last year, I offered this amendment to change the bankruptcy law, and the banking community said: Totally unnecessary. In fact, the estimates were of only 2 million homes in foreclosure last year. America is facing a crisis.

Opponent's argument to vote No:

Sen. JON KYL (R, AZ): This amendment would allow bankruptcy judges to modify home mortgages by lowering the principal and interest rate on the loan or extending the term of the loan. The concept in the trade is known as cram-down. It would apply to all borrowers who are 60 days or more delinquent. Many experts believe the cram-down provision would result in higher interest rates for all home mortgages. We could end up exacerbating this situation for all the people who would want to refinance or to take out loans in the future.

Rep. MICHELE BACHMANN (R, MN-6): Of the foundational policies of American exceptionalism, the concepts that have inspired our great Nation are the sanctity of private contracts and upholding the rule of law. This cramdown bill crassly undercuts both of these pillars of American exceptionalism. Why would a lender make a 30-year loan if they fear the powers of the Federal Government will violate the very terms of that loan?

Reference: Helping Families Save Their Homes Act; Bill HR1106&S896 ; vote number 2009-S185 on May 6, 2009

Voted YES on additional $825 billion for economic recovery package.

Congressional Summary:Supplemental appropriations for job preservation and creation, infrastructure investment, energy efficiency and science, assistance to the unemployed, and State and local fiscal stabilization, for fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2009.

Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. DAVID OBEY (D, WI-7): This country is facing what most economists consider to be the most serious and the most dangerous economic situation in our lifetimes. This package today is an $825 billion package that does a variety of things to try to reinflate the economy:

  1. creating or saving at least 4 million jobs
  2. rebuilding our basic infrastructure
  3. providing for job retraining for those workers who need to learn new skills
  4. moving toward energy independence
  5. improving our healthcare system so all Americans can have access to quality treatment
  6. providing tax cuts to lessen the impact of this crisis on America's working families.

Opponent's argument to vote No:

Rep. JERRY LEWIS (R, CA-51): Most of us would agree that the recent $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) is an illustration of how good intentions don't always deliver desired results. When Congress spends too much too quickly, it doesn't think through the details and oversight becomes more difficult. The lesson learned from TARP was this: we cannot manage what we do not measure. We cannot afford to make the same mistake again.

Sen. THAD COCHRAN (R, MS): We are giving the executive branch immense latitude in the disbursement of the spending this bill contains. We are doing so without any documentation of how this spending will stimulate the economy. Normally, this kind of information would be contained in an administration budget. For items that have a short-term stimulative effect, most of us will feel comfortable debating their merits as an emergency measure. But there is a great deal of spending that is not immediately stimulative.

Reference: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act; Bill H.R.1 ; vote number 2009-S061 on Feb 10, 2009

  • Click here for definitions & background information on Budget & Economy.
  • Click here for VoteMatch responses by Mark Warner.
  • Click here for AmericansElect.org quiz by Mark Warner.
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Page last updated: Mar 14, 2014