Below is the Oct. 1st edition of This Week in Washington, Congressman Sam Graves weekly recap of the actions of congress. In it Congressman Graves provides us some humbling statistics about the debt. Bush overspent and it was unacceptable, Obama’s overspending is an affront on rational thinking. Nothing to concerning passed last week in the house. Not sure how I feel about the aid to Pakistan, can’t say I am a huge fan but considering the situation in the region it probably is necessary. The only thing to worry about is the expiring tax incentives in 2010 for Small Business. Our economy is in bad enough shape the last thing we need to do is start punishing Small Business next year.

This Week in Washington- October 1, 2009

The 2009 fiscal year ended yesterday. A couple on scary facts I thought I might pass on to you.

The federal government will borrow 43 cents for every dollar that it spends in FY 2009. The national debt now stands at $11.77 trillion. This is a $3.1 trillion or 35.8% increase since January 2007. A figure for the total FY 2009 deficit will soon be available, but the most recent estimate available for that figure comes to $1.58 trillion—$1.12 trillion or 244.2% more than last year, which was at that time the highest deficit in U.S. history.

Yet, no one in Washington is talking about fiscal responsibility. Instead of talking about saving money and reducing government, the conversation is about spending money and growing government.

Washington has the wrong priorities and they are out of step with the American people.

Legislation

Conference Report on H.R. 3183 – Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act, 2010 – The Conference report totals over $33.465 billion for the fiscal year 2010, which is $928 million below the President’s budget request, and $55 million above the amount appropriated in fiscal year 2009. I opposed this bill, though I support funding for the projects in my district. It passed 308-114.

S. 1707 – Authorizing appropriations for fiscal years 2010 through 2014 to promote an enhanced strategic partnership with Pakistan and its people – S. 1707 is a multi-year aid package for Pakistan. The bill would authorize $1.5 billion annually for five years in non-military assistance, which triples the current level. The bill calls for the Administration to produce a comprehensive regional strategy report for Pakistan. In sum, compared to the previous House bill to aid Pakistan, this legislation provides substantially greater flexibility to the Executive Branch and U.S. commanders in the field. There was no recorded voted, instead it passed on a voice vote.

H.R. 2442 – Bay Area Regional Water Recycling Program Expansion Act – This bill, sponsored by Rep. George Miller and cosponsored by 8 other Bay area members, would make six additional Bay area water projects eligible for federal funding at a time when 40,000 people don’t have jobs in the San Joaquin Valley due to a lack of water.

The Federal government’s decision to protect the delta smelt, a 2-inch bait fish, required blocking the water flow through the San Joaquin Valley. This area of California was rich in farming land until water was cut off.  Now, some towns in the San Joaquin Valley have unemployment as high as 40%. I voted against this bill, which failed because it needed a 2/3 vote to pass. It will be back for a vote under regular rules next week.

Small Business

This week, the House Small Business Committee examined an assortment of expiring tax incentives and their impact on small businesses.

Without Congressional action, tax relief would expire starting in 2010. The very worst thing we can do in a recession is raise taxes. What I heard during the hearing is that tax incentives help small businesses grow their business and that our tax policy shouldn’t be uncertain. We should provide permanent tax relief so our small businesses can make sound business decisions.

I have sponsored legislation, H.R. 664, to make the 2001 and 2003 tax relief permanent. I support temporary tax relief.  But making the 2001 and 2003 tax relief permanent would give small firms the confidence to purchase new equipment and hire more workers.

Congress is again in session next week. Have a great weekend.

Sincerely,

Sam Graves

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