Courtney Sends Letter to Obama, Pelosi Outlining Stimulus "Principles"

Rep. Joe Courtney has sent a letter to the president-elect and Speaker Pelosi today outlining a set of principles he believes will help create jobs and move the country out of recession. You can read the full letter here. Courtney’s principles are below:

  • Put people to work by investing in our nation’s aging infrastructure – roads, bridges, highways, mass transit, wastewater and sewer systems – and deferred municipal priories. We can also spur local jobs by supporting urgent maintenance, repair, environmental remediation and ready-to-go construction improvements to infrastructure at military facilities.
  • While we want speedy investment in projects to create jobs and grow the economy, it is imperative that we do so with a process that is accountable and ensures equitable distribution of the investment across municipalities.
  • Invest in our nation’s education system so our children can stay competitive in the 21st century. A direct investment in public education provides relief to states and localities ensures quality education programs continue provides taxpayer relief and creates jobs. Title I Part A of NCLB has been funded at $54.7 billion below its authorized level and more than 4million students are not getting the extra Title I help they were promised under the program. Increasing IDEA funding will help relieve the financial burden on already struggling local communities. An increase in Pell grants would provide a lifeline to millions of students struggling to find the resources to attend or continue their education. I believe we also have an opportunity to address our unmet school construction needs – K through university – by using green technology for long-term energy savings and job growth. This short-term stimulus in education will have long-term economic and benefits for generations.
  • Investing in alternative energy technologies to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil to create long-term security and financial independence. I support the inclusion of a further extension of a research and development tax credit and a renewable energy production/investment tax credit.
  • Strengthening health care delivery – The U.S. health care system ranks first in the world in cost, but towards the bottom in terms of delivery of care and outcomes. The rise in our nation’s uninsured and underinsured have only exacerbated the problems into the system and created an additional burden for the welfare of our economy. Investment in health information technologies to modernize medical records will prevent medical errors and produce more efficiency in the system that will help reduce overall health care costs. Medicaid is one of the largest expenditures on a state’s budget. As states, including Connecticut, scramble to make up for growing budget shortfalls, the federal government must infuse more money into their Medicaid payments to prevent citizens from loosing these vital health care services.
  • Responsible mortgage foreclosure relief in the courts. The housing crisis is at the center of this economic crisis, and without addressing the foreclosures and excess inventory, the recession will continue. I strongly support the responsible approach of the Durbin-Conyers bill to allow homeowners at risk of foreclosure to alter the terms of their mortgages in bankruptcy court. This will help stop the declining value of real estate so middle class wealth and neighborhood stability will not continue to be damaged.
  • Provide tax relief for small businesses and working families. I support extending bonus depreciation and expanding small business tax credits to allow for these businesses to create new jobs. Tax credits for individuals will help Americans have more cash in their pockets to spend for their needs.

Courtney was in Enfield today visiting the CT Works One-Stop Career Center on Enfield St.

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3 responses to “Courtney Sends Letter to Obama, Pelosi Outlining Stimulus "Principles"

  1. Put people to work by investing in our nation’s aging infrastructure – roads, bridges, highways, mass transit, wastewater and sewer systems – and deferred municipal priories. We can also spur local jobs by supporting urgent maintenance, repair, environmental remediation and ready-to-go construction improvements to infrastructure at military facilities.

    First, I think we need to ask ourselves, is the goal of infrastructure spending to provide jobs, or is it to build infrastructure. These two things are of course not mutually exclusive. However, I still hope the goal of infrastructure spending is building infrastructure. You want to make more jobs, make them build roads or rail without any heavy equipment. That’ll force thousands more to be employed. Next, there’s the issue of environmental impact statements. The advocates have caught onto this and now talk about “shovel ready” projects.

    The big issue with federal spending on infrastructure is going to be figuring out what projects to fund. CCM had a laundry list, where just about anything seemed to qualify. If the project was going to be built anyway, like routine maintenance of the local high school, then federal funds won’t create new jobs. And if the project wasn’t going to be done when times were good and the municipality had more money, why should it be done now? Will the project just benefit the locals, or will it have a broader impact (things like interstate highways don’t just benefit the locals, but building a new gym at the high school really only benefits the locals).

    Strengthening health care delivery – The U.S. health care system ranks first in the world in cost, but towards the bottom in terms of delivery of care and outcomes. .

    Say what? I know we are expensive, but “towards the bottom in terms of delivery of care and outcomes”? He’s probably using the WHO report as his basis. This report uses life expectancies as one of the inputs, but doesn’t adjust for car wrecks or homicides (which are both higher in the United States than many other countries), nor does it take into account diet and exercise, or the fact that we have a high number of immigrants. The WHO study also ranks health care on how fairly it’s distributed, not just on the quality of care. Significant number of people come to the United States to be treated, from Canada and other countries. So while the cost may be higher here, I think it’s a bit of a stretch to say that the US Healthcare system is “towards the bottom” in terms of care offered.

    He also mentioned Electronic Medical Records: easier said than done, unfortunately.

    Responsible mortgage foreclosure relief in the courts. The housing crisis is at the center of this economic crisis, and without addressing the foreclosures and excess inventory, the recession will continue. I strongly support the responsible approach of the Durbin-Conyers bill to allow homeowners at risk of foreclosure to alter the terms of their mortgages in bankruptcy court. This will help stop the declining value of real estate so middle class wealth and neighborhood stability will not continue to be damaged.

    Banks don’t want to foreclose unless they absolutely have to. Especially now when the market is in a slump. But let me ask some other questions: if a court can alter mortgage terms, won’t banks become much more reluctant to loan money to anyone but the best credit risks? Next, if mortgages can be reset by courts, that’s going to also ripple through the economy, as the mortgage securities have been split apart and securitized. So are we going to then need to bail out the holders of these securities again? Finally, what’s the problem with lower housing costs? I mean, really, what’s wrong? It sucks if you already own a house, but if you’re 25 and renting, isn’t it great if home values are low? If you are a homeowner, and you have a fixed rate mortgage, then even if home prices are lower, you are not worse off until you sell the house. And even then, if you are looking to buy another, and it’s cheaper, you’re not really worse off. Now of course, there is the issue of negative equity, so it’s not all and good, but lower home prices aren’t completely negative.

  2. Why do I not get the feeling Barack and Nancy were sitting around waiting for Joe to tell them what to do?

  3. Put people to work by investing in our nation’s aging infrastructure – roads, bridges, highways, mass transit, wastewater and sewer systems – and deferred municipal priories. We can also spur local jobs by supporting urgent maintenance, repair, environmental remediation and ready-to-go construction improvements to infrastructure at military facilities.

    Check out Matt Yglesias’s blog about how Sidley Austin (Michelle Obama’s old law firm) is doing work pro-bono (i.e., for free) to stop the new purple line on the DC Metro. The town of Chevy Chase, MD and the Columbia Country Club don’t want the metro. The woman who heads the anti purple line effort is the wife of a partner at Sidley Austin. They’ve made requests for large quantities of environmental and other information; they can probably keep the purple line at bay for a long time.

    Watch liberals really start to howl about environmental laws, because it’s liberals that want to build stuff now.

    “We have to bulldoze the environment to save it”

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