John Sununu on Budget & Economy
Republican Senator; previously Representative (NH-1)
“Where has John Sununu been on those issues? He’s been in Washington for 12 years--5 years on the Banking Committee,” she said. “He’s been missing in action when it came to cracking down on those practices that led us to the crisis that we’re in today.” In response, Sununu’s campaign maintained Shaheen is the “last person N.H. needs in an economic crisis” because her “first inclination” is to raise taxes. Shaheen seems to anticipate the tax-and-spend criticism. She said she balanced three budgets when she was governor and when revenues were lagging, she cut spending.
Sununu has been promoting three priorities: protecting taxpayers’ interests, implementing strong oversight of regulatory markets and promoting policies that encourage long-term growth.
Jeanne Shaheen countered that “the lack of oversight and the lack of accountability that George Bush and his allies like John Sununu in the Senate supported have really brought us to where we are today.” She pushed for tighter regulations and liquidity-disclosure requirements as well as a consolidated oversight system.
Sununu parried back aggressively, telling how he had long sought to beef up regulation for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the ailing public-private mortgage finance companies seized by the government this month. “That’s an issue where I’ve led the effort not just in the past year, but going back five years,” Sununu said. He also said taxpayers should be kept off the hook for Wall Street’s failures.
But the parallels aren’t exact. For one, Sununu declined to agree with a McCain line that generated flack earlier this week, proclaiming that the “fundamentals of our economy are strong.” Asked during the conference call, Sununu replied: “I think it’s very difficult to make a statement about the fundamentals,“ he said, citing the pace of change.
To make their case against Sununu, Democrats point to Sununu’s vote as a congressman for the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999. That bill, co-sponsored by Gramm, removed New Deal-era restrictions on mergers between financial institutions. Democrats have circulated a news story saying the law ”helped pave the way for AIG and Lehman Brothers to become behemoths laden with bad loans.“
Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. DAVID OBEY (D, WI-7): Congress has tried to do a number of things that would alleviate the squeeze on the middle class. Meanwhile, this economy is sagging. Jobs, income, sales, and industrial production have all gone down. We have lost 600,000 jobs. We are trying to provide a major increase in investments to modernize our infrastructure and to provide well-paying construction jobs at the same time.
Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. JERRY LEWIS (R, CA-41): Just 2 days ago we were debating an $800 billion continuing resolution. Now in addition to being asked to pay for a bailout for Wall Street, taxpayers are being asked to swallow an additional $60 billion on a laundry list of items I saw for the first time just a few hours ago. The Democratic majority is describing this legislation as a "stimulus package" to help our national economy. But let's not fool ourselves. This is a political document pure and simple. If these priorities are so important, why hasn't this bill gone through the normal legislative process? We should have debated each of the items included in this package.
It doesn't take an economist to tell you that the economy needs our help. But what does this Congress do? It proposes to spend billions more without any offsets in spending. The failure to adhere to PAYGO means that this new spending will be financed through additional borrowing, which will prove a further drag on our struggling economy.
Proponents recommend voting YES because:
My amendment says we are going to take about $18 billion as a strong signal from the Congress that we want to support effective programs and we want the taxpayer dollars spent in a responsible way. My amendment doesn't take all of the $88 billion for the programs found by PART, realizing there may be points in time when another program is not meeting its goals and needs more money. So that flexibility is allowed in this particular amendment. It doesn't target any specific program. Almost worse than being rated ineffective, we have programs out there that have made absolutely no effort at all to measure their results. I believe these are the worst offenders. In the following years, I hope Congress will look at those programs to create accountability.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
The effect of this amendment will simply be to cut domestic discretionary spending $18 billion. Understand the programs that have been identified in the PART program are results not proven. Here are programs affected: Border Patrol, Coast Guard search and rescue, high-intensity drug trafficking areas, LIHEAP, rural education, child abuse prevention, and treatment. If there is a problem in those programs, they ought to be fixed. We ought not to be cutting Border Patrol, Coast Guard search and rescue, high-intensity drug trafficking areas, LIHEAP, rural education, and the rest. I urge a "no" vote.
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Newly elected in 2008 & seated in 2009:
Newly appointed in 2009;
special election in 2010:
Announced retirement as of 2010:
Up for 6-year term in 2010:
(13 Democrats; 15 Republicans)
Senate Votes (analysis)