JUNE 24, 2010, WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a continued effort to bring news and relevant information about our federal government back to his home district in Los Angeles, Representative Xavier Becerra (CA-31), Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus and a senior member of the Ways and Means Committee, brings you “The Becerra Bulletin,” an e-newsletter filled with facts and information meant to stimulate thought and discussion about American economic policy and a host of other issues. Click here to subscribe to the Becerra Bulletin by email.
BY THE NUMBERS
ECONOMIC RECOVERY & JOB CREATION PICK UP STEAM
When President Obama was sworn into office, America was facing the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression. In January 2009, the American economy lost 779,000 jobs in one month and the economy shrank by 6.4 percent in the first quarter of 2009. That was the worst quarterly economic contraction experienced by the United States in the past 50 years. In a swift response to the economic crisis, Congress passed, and the President signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act(Recovery Act) into law in February of 2009. Over the past year, we have witnessed the fastest three-quarter swing in economic growth in almost three decades. Instead of losing hundreds of thousands of jobs, we are beginning to see private sector employers rehire Americans who have lost their jobs. As the chart below shows, the economy created jobs in the last five months:
MOVEMENT ON BECERRA-AUTHORED TAXPAYER BILL OF RIGHTS
SHORT TAKES – WASHINGTON, D.C.
America’s working families deserve to know their rights and be protected from untrained and unscrupulous preparers when it comes time to file their tax returns. In an effort to clarify the rights and responsibilities of all taxpayers and improve taxpayer services and protections, Rep. Becerra re-introduced the Taxpayer Bill of Rights Act. This legislation will enhance oversight of paid tax return preparers and refund anticipation loan products, and increase funding for taxpayer clinics and free sites that assist modest-income Americans prepare and file their taxes. In addition, it would require the IRS to clearly lay out taxpayers’ rights and obligations in one, easy to understand document. The House passed several provisions of Rep. Becerra’s bill on April 14 as part of the Taxpayer Assistance Act of 2010, including an increase in funding for low income tax clinics.
CLOSING WALL STREET LOOPHOLES & PROMOTING JOB GROWTH
On May 28, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 4213, the American Jobs, Closing Tax Loopholes and Preventing Outsourcing Act to promote job creation and restore fairness and accountability to the tax code. This bill ensures that Wall Street pays its fair share by closing loopholes that allow wealthy fund managers to pay a lower tax rate on some of their income than working families do on their salaries. H.R. 4213 also extends the Recovery Act Small Business Administration lending program that has already helped small businesses create or retain over 650,000 jobs. The bill also includes provisions that will help boost investment in infrastructure and help create jobs for individuals with the greatest need. Click here to learn more about the American Jobs, Closing Tax Loopholes and Preventing Outsourcing Act.
FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY COMMISSION BEGINS WORK
For the last 2 months, the President’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform has been working to bring balance and fiscal stability back to the federal budget. Rep. Becerra, who was appointed to the Commission by Speaker Pelosi, continues to emphasize that fiscal responsibility includes making investments to rebuild the middle class and provide economic benefits for generations to come. Learn more about the Commission on Rep. Becerra’s website, leave your comments and ideas on the Becerra Blog, and take this quick survey on your priorities for the Commission.
SHORT TAKES – LOS ANGELES
REP. BECERRA EXPLAINS LOCAL IMPACT OF HEALTH CARE REFORM WITH PROVIDERS
On April 6, Rep. Becerra met with health care providers who serve the people of California’s 31st Congressional District to talk about how the recently enacted health care reforms will impact patients and providers in Los Angeles. Representatives from Arroyo Vista Family Health Center and South Central Family Health Center noted the substantial increase in funding for neighborhood health clinics that will help them treat many more patients and improve their facilities. Both clinics have also received Recovery Act grants to increase the number of exam rooms at their locations. A representative from Childrens Hospital Los Angeles also spoke about the importance of expanding coverage for children and young adults through Medicaid and private insurance that will occur under the new law. All told, the number of people with health insurance in CA-31 will nearly double as a result of the reforms enacted into law in March. Click here to learn more about health care reform and see a video of the press conference held after Rep. Becerra’s meeting with local providers.
WINNER ANNOUNCED IN REP. BECERRA’S STUDENT ART COMPETTION
On May 15, the winners of Congressman Xavier Becerra’s 17th annual Student Art Competition were announced at the Sherry Lansing Theatre at Paramount Studios. This year’s competition drew 125 contestants from high schools throughout California’s 31st Congressional District, reflecting the theme “Looking into the Future.” The first place winner of this year’s competition is Francisca Rodriguez, a senior at Jefferson High School, for her entry “Committed to the Future.” Francisca will receive an all expense paid trip for two to Washington, D.C. to see her work on display in the halls of the United States Capitol, where it will hang for the next year as part of a national exhibit. Click here to learn more about Rep. Becerra’s 2010 Student Art Competition.