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Mike supports a balanced approach to addressing our nation’s budget deficit and growing the economy. That is one of the reasons he voted against the Budget Control Act in 2011. That legislation required negotiators to devise a deficit reduction plan and if they could not reach agreement, automatic budget cuts would go into effect. Those cuts, called sequestration, were implemented in 2013. Those automatic across-the-board cuts of approximately 8% a year were scheduled to be repeated every year for ten years. In 2014 Congress eased those cuts. Mike supported this action because he does not believe that sequestration is a responsible way to reduce the deficit.
In December of 2015 Congress passed the Bipartisan Budget Agreement, which built on the work of 2014 and created important economic stability. It suspended the debt limit for two years and further eased sequestration cuts by $80 billion. That money will be shared equally by defense and nondefense programs over the next two fiscal years.
Mike has worked hard to stabilize the nation’s economy as a member of the House Committee on Financial Services. When America faced its worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, losing $19 trillion in household wealth, 8.7 million jobs bad 4 million homes to foreclosure, Mike worked with his colleagues to create a comprehensive regulatory reform package. The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act became law in 2010. It strengthens our financial markets and protects consumers. It also provides more transparency and oversight so regulators can better monitor systemic threats to our financial system. Mike particularly focused on two areas of this legislation:
A provision requiring hedge funds to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to improve federal oversight and provide more information to investors;
Increased accountability of credit rating agencies which were a major contributor to the financial crisis, to reasonably reflect the credit risk of financial products so that investors can make informed decisions. This provision makes it easier to hold credit rating agencies liable for their actions when they don’t do their job responsibly.
Mike is a long time defender of fair and affordable housing. He has:
Fought to ensure that Massachusetts’ unique double and triple decker houses receive the same benefits as single unit homes
Advocated for federal policies to allow underwater homeowners to refinance their mortgages for lower rates and better terms
Guaranteed that tenants were protected when Congress passed legislation to help homeowners avoid defaulting on their mortgages. His measure required that tenants be given 90 days notice before they must vacate a foreclosed home. Prior to Mike’s proposal, tenants faced immediate eviction.
Mike voted in favor of establishing the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to help stabilize our economy and prevent a deepening financial crisis. At the time he described it as one of the most difficult votes he ever cast.
Mike felt strongly that doing nothing to prevent a recession that would result in massive job losses was simply not an acceptable option. He voted for TARP because he was not willing to risk Americans’ pensions, investments and access to credit. Since passage of TARP, the financial markets have displayed more confidence and much of the funds distributed have been repaid to the federal government.
In 2009 Congress passed the stimulus package, officially known as the America Recovery and Investment Act (ARRA) to create and save millions of American jobs. Although Mike believed the bill relied too heavily on tax cuts, he voted for the overall stimulus package because he felt it would help with job creation and boost the economy. The legislation provided funding for transportation, health care, education, scientific research and housing initiatives.
Mike is a long-time supporter of legislation to protect consumers from exploitative credit card company practices. With Mike’s support, Congress passed this legislation, which prohibits rate increases on pre-existing balances, requires sufficient notification before increasing rates, and prohibits double charging on purchases already paid off. Mike also believes credit card issuers shouldn’t be allowed to arbitrarily raise interest rates on consumers.