By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Congressman Spencer Bachus (R) from Vestavia addressed Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on the state of the U.S. economy. Representative Bachus is the Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.
Chairman Bachus said, “’Who is ultimately responsible for the state of our economy?’ We once had a president who memorably had a sign on his desk in the Oval Office that said ‘the buck stops here.’ I’d amend that and say the buck stops with the president of the United States and Congress, who are the elected leaders of this country. The president and Congress are the ones who have created America’s spending-driven debt crisis by hitting the gas when what was needed was someone stomping on the brakes. Some in the Senate may want to duck responsibility, but the truth is the Federal Reserve cannot rescue Americans from the consequences of failed economic and regulatory policies passed by Congress and signed by the president. The chairman of the Fed cannot save the economy when those elected leaders decide they are prepared to send our country over a ‘fiscal cliff,’ as one of those elected leaders in the Senate declared earlier this week.”
Representative Bachus said, “Chairman Bernanke has warned Congress and the Administration time and time again that without action, growing deficits and debt will erode our prosperity and leave the next generation of Americans with less opportunity. To avoid this fate, we must start taking action now to tame Washington’s appetite for spending and, as Chairman Bernanke has said, tackle the difficult, but necessary, long-term restructuring of entitlements.”
Rep. Bachus continued, “The House, to its credit, has had the courage in this hyper-partisan attack atmosphere to begin this long-term process. The Senate has not. So I’d like to take this opportunity to tell the Senate that it’s time for them to get to work.”Our economy is hobbled not only by our deficits and debt but also by the cumulative weight of Washington over-regulation. This committee hears constantly from private sector witnesses who tell us the regulatory burdens being placed on them are – as one small town bank witness said – ‘slowly but surely strangling’ their ability to do business.”
Rep. Bachus said, “Instead of more and more regulations, Congress and the president need to do more to eliminate the government roadblocks that stand in the way of small business success. The president recently said that entrepreneurs and small businesses aren’t successful on their own. They can succeed only with the help of government. That is akin to saying that Apple Computer is a success because of the person who built Steve Jobs’s garage. Small businesses succeed in this country in spite of the government, not because of it.”
Chairman Bernanke told the Committee, “financial strains associated with the crisis in Europe have increased since earlier in the year, which – as I already noted – are weighing on both global and domestic economic activity. The recovery in the United States continues to be held back by a number of other headwinds, including still-tight borrowing conditions for some businesses and households, and – as I will discuss in more detail shortly – the restraining effects of fiscal policy and fiscal uncertainty. Moreover, although the housing market has shown improvement, the contribution of this sector to the recovery is less than has been typical of previous recoveries.”
Chairman Bernanke also warned of the fiscal cliff that Sen. Murray (D) from Washington was eager to lead the nation over in a speech earlier in the week, “As is well known, US fiscal policies are on an unsustainable path, and the development of a credible medium-term plan for controlling deficits should be a high priority. At the same time, fiscal decisions should take into account the fragility of the recovery. That recovery could be endangered by the confluence of tax increases and spending reductions that will take effect early next year if no legislative action is taken. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that, if the full range of tax increases and spending cuts were allowed to take effect – a scenario widely referred to as the fiscal cliff – a shallow recession would occur early next year and about 1.25m fewer jobs would be created in 2013.3 These estimates do not incorporate the additional negative effects likely to result from public uncertainty about how these matters will be resolved.”
Congressman Spencer Bachus represents Alabama’s Sixth Congressional District. Chairman Bachus is seeking an 11th term representing Jefferson, Blount, Shelby, Chilton, Bibb, and Coosa Counties. His Democratic Party opponent is retired USAF Lieutenant Colonel Penny Huggins Bailey from Leeds.