Friday, August 15, 2008

Roll Call, Part Deux

Another Roll Call. The below senator information was taken directly from each senator's website. Please remember your hard-won freedoms when selecting a candidate in the voting booth.

Saxby Chambliss (R) Georgia

Education – As the husband of a teacher who worked for more than 30 years in the classroom, Senator Chambliss knows there is no more important job than educating America’s young people. A supporter of the landmark education reform law, No Child Left Behind, which seeks to ensure America’s children are reaching their learning potential, Senator Chambliss has held a series of listening sessions across Georgia. Chambliss’ events are designed to bring federal education officials together with Georgia educators so that Georgia education professionals can have their voices heard about how to improve the program and how the program is being implemented in Georgia.

Housing - Owning a home is part of the American dream, but unfortunately, the downturn in the housing industry has had a ripple effect across all sectors of the financial market and the economy as a whole. Georgians have certainly felt the impact of this crisis. In an effort to reinvigorate the housing market, I am an original co-sponsor of S. 2566, legislation sponsored by Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) to provide a federal income tax credit for the purchase of certain new and foreclosed upon homes. This legislation passed as an amendment to the Foreclosure Prevention Act, which will help prevent declining property values for homeowners=2 0and hopefully bring the market back to an even keel. A similar tax credit was invoked by Congress in the mid-1970s, when the housing market was in a similar crisis. I will also continue to work to ensure that the free-flow of information between the borrower, broker, and lender is open and fair.

Border Security - In 2007, during the immigration bill debate, we listened and heard overwhelmingly from Georgians that they do not trust the federal government to enforce our immigration laws. Taking immediate action to secure our borders is what Georgians demand and deserve, and it is the best way to restore credibility with the American people. We must secure the borders first and foremost, because that is where the problem originates and where it must be stopped. I voted against the final immigration reform bill because it was not good enough for Georgia and Senators were not given ample time to debate amendments to strengthen the bill. I have rejected proposals to provide amnesty for illegal immigrants and I have called for the creation of a tamper-proof biometric ID card for foreign workers.

This year I also joined a group of Republican Senators in forming the Senate Border Security and Enforcement First Caucus. The Caucus is a platform to let Americans know that some members of the Senate are continuing to push for enforcement of immigration laws that are already on the books, to act as the voice of those concerned citizens who have expressed their opinions time and time again for better interior enforcement and border security, to push for stronger border security and interior enforcement legislation and to work together in the Senate to defeat possible future legislation that offers amnesty.

Taxes - Throughout Senator Chambliss’ career in Congress, he has worked hard to deliver tax relief. In the spring of 2003, Senator Chambliss supported, Congress passed, and President Bush signed into law the “Economic Jobs and Growth Package,” one of the most historic economic growth and tax relief measures in a generation. By putting money back into the pockets of working American families, there will be more money to spend on school supplies, school clothes, needed home improvements, or other important family necessities. Allowing working men and women to keep more of their hard-earned money means families will buy more products—hopefully Georgia products – that will in turn help create jobs and boost the economy. Congress must also continue working to eliminate the marriage penalty, the capital gains tax on investments, the death tax, and further lower marginal tax rates across the board for working men and women.

Health Care - Americans need greater access to health insurance, and we must ensure that families are able to choose the best plan suited for them. I do not believe a Washington-run, big government health care system is the answer. I am an original cosponsor of S. 1019, the “Universal Health Care Choice and Access Act,” legislation to provide individuals and families with tax incentives to allow them to afford to purchase their own health insurance. This tax break would put people on the same playing field as corporations, and employees would no longer have to pay more for the same coverage provided through work and could take their coverage with them if they decided to change jobs. Private insurance companies would have to cater to individuals’ needs, and individuals will have the power to choose the plan best suited for them. As the Senate debates this issue further, I will continue to work to see that Americans are provided with quality, affordable health care. This is a critical issue that faces every single American family and we must get it right.

Second Amendment Rights - As an avid sportsman, Senator Chambliss has been and will always be a staunch supporter of 2nd Amendment rights. Throughout his career in Congress, he always defended the rights of law abiding Americans to bear arms for not only recreation, but also protection.

Tom Harkin (D) Iowa

Education - Ensuring that every person in Iowa and America has a quality education requires federal leadership at three levels. (Blogger comment: Why?) We must properly fund the No Child Left Behind law so that we have a realistic chance to close the achievement gap and modernize our schools, and make changes to the law to give states the flexibility they need to properly educate our children. We must do more to make a college degree and the greater skills, higher salary and better employment opportunities that it brings, more affordable. (Blogger comment: Good goal. That can only be achieved if the government gets out of our way.) And we must make new investments in maintaining and improving our edge in math and science education and other initiatives that will help keep the American economy strong.

Creating a Wellness Society - My aim is to recreate America as a "wellness society" focused on fitness, good nutrition, and disease prevention - keeping people out of the hospital in the first place. (Blogger comment: Another good goal. As long as the federal government stays out of it and encourages private enterprises, who actually know what they are doing in this area, to take the lead and be involved. Also, a "wellness society" cannot be mandated; it has to be voluntary.) At the same time, I am working to maintain America’s standing as the world leader in biomedical research. This means generously funding (Blogger comment: Sure hope that "generously funding" means his own personal money and not taxpayers money.) the search for cures at the National Institutes of Health, and removing arbitrary restrictions on embryonic stem cell research at the federal level.

The Healthier Lifestyles and Prevention (HeLP) America Act - The journey to a wellness society begins with a giant step forward, and that is why I have introduced the Healthier Lifestyles and Prevention America Act, also known as the HeLP America Act (Blogger comment: Seriously? This is what our Congress spends their time working on? Sounds like they need a cut in pay and more time at home with their families). This legislation takes a truly comprehensive approach to wellness and disease prevention. It provides tools and incentives to schools, employers, and communities. It aims to create better nutrition, physical activity and mental health opportunities for kids in schools. It gives the Federal Trade Commission authority to regulate unfair marketing to children (Blogger comment: Certainly we agree that there are some poor marketing choices being channeled to children. However, parents have to be responsible for teaching their children healthy choices and limiting TV watching. It doesn't matter how well-intentioned the program, it's not the government's role). It provides incentives to build bike paths and safe sidewalks. And it requires nutrition labeling on menus in chain restaurants.

Addressing the Home Foreclosure Crisis - While individual buyers should be held accountable for buying a home they simply could not afford, financial institutions also need to be held accountable for questionable lending practices and risky packaging of sub-prime mortgages into untested financial products (Blogger comment: the accountability for financial institutions comes when they have customers who can't pay their loans. Running out of money and negative word-of-mouth comments from disgruntled customers is the consequence for risky lending. Consumers need to be responsible with their buying.)

To prevent these abuses in the future, I have cosponsored the Foreclosure Prevention Act. This legislation seeks to help struggling families remain in their homes by expanding refinancing opportunities and allowing for the modification of mortgages on primary residences in bankruptcy in some cases. Of the two million homeowners facing foreclosure, an estimated 600,000 would receive relief under this bill.

The bill would also provide funding for agencies like the Iowa Finance Authority so they can provide direct assistance to people who need to refinance their mortgages (Blogger comment: as long as the taxpayers aren't picking up the tab. This is a community problem, not the federal government's. We are not opposed to helping others -and we do help whenever we can-, even those who made bad choices and brought the consequences on themselves. We are opposed to the government being involved in any way. It's not their role and when they do get involved, they make a complete mess of it. Anyone remember Hurricane Katrina and FEMA?) It allows distressed borrowers to renegotiate the mortgages on their homes during bankruptcy proceedings - an option that is currently allowable on vacation homes and family farms.

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