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Political Philosophy for Jackie Speier
Repair and regulate our broken financial system
The American economy is in a recession. We got here because of ineptitude and inaction in Washington and malfeasance and manipulation on Wall Street.
Congress is just now beginning to reassert it's Constitutionally-mandated oversight role. Between now and the start of the next session, I will use my position on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to hold CEOs and other top executives accountable for the financial mess they helped create.
I'll look for what warning signs were missed, who profited, and how did it come to pass that the riskiest investors, buying and selling the most exotic financial instruments, came to control our financial markets?
Where warranted, we must prosecute anyone whose personal greed superseded their fiduciary responsibility.
Here are 10 things we can do to rehab our economy:
1. Congress must re-establish its constitutional oversight role in regulating financial markets and institutions.
2. We must return to the safeguards enacted after the Great Depression (The Glass/Steagall Act) that prohibited banks from selling securities and insurance.
3. Corporate executives who took exorbitant bonuses while running their companies into the ground must come before Congress. Any hint that books have been cooked or losses hidden must be investigated and prosecuted.
5. Criminal penalties must be swift and tough for any trader, broker or banker who circumvented laws or regulations to manipulate the market.
6. Regulations need to be established on what types of exotic financial instruments can be sold. It's time to re-establish the uptick rule and ban "naked short-selling."
7. America must develop sound national defense and energy policies. The president's indefensible policy of pre-emption that leads to unnecessary and costly wars must end. Likewise, the money given to oil companies through tax breaks should be redirected to job-creating investments in alternative, renewable and homegrown sources of energy.
8. The Credit Cardholders Bill of Rights, which I co-sponsored and was passed by the House last week, needs to be signed into law. Among other things, it stops "double cycle" billing, bans the sale of credit cards to minors, regulates when banks can raise interest rates and requires that bills be sent out 25 days before they are due.
9. More Americans go into bankruptcy due to healthcare costs than any other factor. The new president must focus on bringing our country together on this issue to allow working families to keep more of their hard-earned money.
10. Federal regulatory authority over sub-prime loans should be enhanced and predatory lending must be abolished.
Protect Americans' privacy
My entire career, I have fought banks, insurance companies and government agencies to protect consumers' personal and financial privacy and security.
One of my earliest votes in Congress was AGAINST the reauthorization of FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act), which allows the federal government to eavesdrop on our personal communications without a warrant.
In the next Congress, I want to expand on the consumer protection work I did in the California legislature, like restricting what banks can do with your financial information so they can't sell, for example, your shopping habits to a marketing company, unless you opt-in and sign up.
Since being sent to Congress in April, I have had the opportunity to weigh in on some important consumer protection bills. These are a few I voted YES on:
The Credit Card Bill of Rights
The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act - Bans the use of lead and toxic phthalates in toys and other products intended for children. Also provides tougher enforcement tools and increased staff so the Consumer Product Safety Commission can prevent dangerous toys from getting to market, remove products from shelves more quickly and impose fines and penalties on violators of product safety laws.
The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act - Reinstates the 1996 FDA rule that aimed to reduce underage smoking. Grants the Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate the advertising, marketing, and manufacturing of tobacco products.
The Paycheck Fairness Act - Enforces equal pay laws for federal contractors and prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who share salary information. It also allows women to sue for punitive damages under the Equal Pay Act.
End the War in Iraq
The War in Iraq was unnecessary, ill-conceived and badly administered. The arrogant and careless foreign policy of the current administration has damaged the political stability of the Middle East and weakened our security and economy here at home.
It is imperative that we remove American troops as soon as possible. The Iragis will not stand up until we stand down. We must recommit to an aggressive and unflinching diplomatic initiative in the Middle East to encourage stability and isolate Al-Qaeda and other extremists.
It is essential that Congress holds the Administration accountable through hearings and oversight. I will continue to push this and any future administration to be open and honest with Congress and the American people.
There is no graver decision for a Member of Congress to make than the vote to declare war. As a matter of principle, I am opposed to the Bush Doctrine of pre-emptive war and I object to the injection of partisan politics into questions of national security.
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Created from information supplied by the candidate: October 10, 2008 06:30
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