“Historically, it's going to rank as one of the most productive Congresses in recent time,
comparable to LBJ's first two years, and maybe even Franklin Roosevelt's time…”
- James Thurber, Center for Congressional & Presidential Studies at American University
CONFRONTING THE WORST ECONOMIC CRISIS SINCE THE 1930s
The 111th Congress and President Obama inherited an economic meltdown: 8 million jobs lost - including no net new private sector jobs over 8 years; the national debt had nearly doubled; $17.5 trillion in household wealth had evaporated.
Democrats enacted economic recovery initiatives to strengthen the private sector - creating 3.3 million American jobs, swinging the country's economic growth from -6.0% to + 1.6%, slashing taxes for 98% of Americans, and implementing 16 small businesses tax cuts and more access to private lending.
According to economists Mark Zandi, adviser to Sen. John McCain in 2008, and Alan Blinder, former Vice Chair of the Fed, “the government's total policy response” to the Bush Recession “probably averted what could have been called Great Depression 2.0.”
REPUBLICANS VOTED AGAINST RECOVERY LEGISLATION WHILE HYPOCRITICALLY CLAIMING CREDIT FOR RECOVERY JOBS AT HOME.
ENDING RECKLESS BEHAVIOR ON WALL STREET
Democrats enacted the toughest Wall Street reforms in 70 years to rein in reckless practices, end “too-big-to-fail,” protect consumers, and wind down TARP early.
REPUBLICANS VOTED AGAINST WALL STREET REFORM AND ARE VOWING TO REPEAL IT.
HELPING SMALL BUSINESSES AVOID BANKRUPTCY & LOSS OF JOBS
Democrats in Congress have enacted 16 tax cuts to help small businesses create jobs and afford health care. We shut tax loopholes that encourage corporations to ship American jobs overseas.
REPUBLICANS VOTED NO ON 15 OF THE 16 SMALL BUSINESS TAX CUTS AND OPPOSED CLOSING OVERSEAS TAX LOOPHOLES THAT COST AMERICANS JOBS.
PREVENTING JOB LOSSES, AUTO INDUSTRY MELTDOWN
Careful investments in GM and Chrysler and demanding tough reforms to assure global competitiveness turned the auto industry around - saving 1 million American jobs. GM and Chrysler have added back over 76,000 jobs, emerged from bankruptcy - had their strongest growth in 10 years - and for the first time since 2004, all of the Big Three are operating at a profit.
REPUBLICANS WANTED TO LET THE U.S. AUTO INDUSTRY - AND THOUSANDS OF DEALERS AND SUPPLIERS - COLLAPSE, CREATING ECONOMIC CHAOS IN AMERICA'S HEARTLAND.
RESTORING FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY
When Republicans controlled Congress, they repealed tough Pay-As-You-Go (PAYGO) rules, turning historic budget surpluses under President Clinton into record deficits, nearly doubling our national debt, and mortgaging our economic security to foreign powers.
Under Democratic leadership, Congress restored PAYGO rules that produced balanced budgets in the 1990s.
REPUBLICANS VOTED AGAINST RESTORING PAYGO AND FISCAL DISCIPLINE.
REINING IN SKYROCKETING HEALTH COSTS & INSURANCE ABUSES
Health reform makes coverage more affordable for small businesses and families - and creates a Patient's Bill of Rights to stop insurance companies from denying coverage for children with pre-existing conditions or dropping people when they get sick; ends lifetime coverage limits; lets young adults stay on parent's policies until age 26. Health reform reduces the deficit by $143 billion over the next 10 years, and $1.3 trillion over the next 20 years.
REPUBLICANS OPPOSED COST-SAVING REFORMS AND VOW TO REPEAL THESE SAFEGUARDS FOR EVERY PRIVATELY INSURED AMERICAN, INCLUDING MILLIONS OF CHILDREN.
PREVENTING TEACHER LAYOFFS & MAKING COLLEGE AFFORDABLE
Democrats made overdue investments to modernize schools, prevent layoffs of hundreds of thousands of teachers; increased Pell Grants; made college loans more affordable; and strengthened community colleges.
REPUBLICANS VOTED AGAINST EDUCATION - SIDING WITH BIG BANKS WHO WERE MAKING BILLIONS IN TAXPAYER SUBSIDIES FOR STUDENT LOANS.
INVESTING IN OUR TROOPS & VETERANS
Democrats in Congress refocused our fight against the terrorists; gave our troops a pay raise and the body armor and armored vehicles they need; strengthened quality health care for 5 million veterans; expanded VA health care services for women veterans; provided retroactive pay for troops whose service was extended under stop loss orders; and ensured that Vietnam veterans and survivors exposed to Agent Orange will receive long overdue benefits.
We expanded the new GI Bill - providing a college education for veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan passed by Democrats in the last Congress - to all children of fallen troops since September 11, 2001.
REPUBLICANS FAILED TO MAKE NECESSARY INVESTMENTS IN OUR TROOPS, JEOPARDIZED THE ECONOMIC SECURITY OF MILITARY FAMILIES, AND SHORTCHANGED VETERANS' HEALTH CARE.