Reports to the Valley - December 2008
In September, the Bush Administration came to Congress with a plan to use $700 billion in taxpayer funds to purchase the “toxic assets” of Wall Street firms, a proposal that one expert dubbed “cash for trash.” Their Bailout plan included no effective limits on how the money could be spent, no meaningful limits on compensation for the executives of bailed-out firms, and nothing to prevent the funds from being used to buy toxic assets from foreign firms and governments. Congressman Sherman opposed the Bush Administration plan, and proposed a strong alternative. He is working for measures that will stabilize our credit markets, while helping American homeowners struggling to pay their mortgages.
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The Obama Economic Stimulus Plan
President-elect Obama has put forward a plan for economic stimulus in 2009. Congressman Sherman will work with the new administration to pass legislation to implement this plan as soon as possible. We need to ensure that the actions taken in early 2009 work fast, but are also self-reversing --- as economic conditions improve, we must move to pay off the debt the federal government will incur in 2009.
The Obama plan includes a big investment in America’s aging roads, bridges and schools --- expenditures that will create or maintain 1 million jobs. Sherman is focused on making sure that Valley projects, like the Orange Line extension, are among the projects funded.
The Obama plan also provides 95% of American working families with a tax cut of $1,000 to help pump cash back into the economy. Small businesses will receive tax breaks for creating jobs in the U.S., and states such as California facing a budget crunch will receive funds from the federal government to help avoid tax increases and cuts in spending on schools and public safety.
The complete Obama-Biden Administration plan can be viewed at http://change.gov/agenda/ .
“Conforming” loans help middle-class families afford their mortgages because they have interest rates that are usually at least 1%-1.25% less than non-conforming (jumbo) loans. Until recently, the conforming loan limit was $417,000, which is plenty for a home in most parts of the country, but far below the cost of most Valley homes.
Earlier this year, Congressman Sherman successfully fought for an increase in the conforming loan limit and FHA loan limit, to $729,750 for areas like the San Fernando Valley where housing costs are high. However, the $729,750 limit was temporary, and the conforming loan limit declined to $625,500 on January 1, 2009. Sherman is working to increase the limit back to $729,750, permanently.
Congressman Sherman is committed to helping homeowners struggling to make their mortgage payments. Last summer, Congress passed the HOPE for Homeowners Act, but the voluntary loan modification process contained in that Act has not been implemented well. Congressman Sherman will work with the Obama Administration to fix these problems and create an effective mortgage modification program for homeowners who play by the rules.
Congressman Sherman has consistently earned a 100% rating from the Sierra Club for his voting record in Congress. He is committed to working with President-elect Obama to pass policies that will reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. Sherman supports science-based legislation to fight global warming while creating millions of new green jobs and building a clean energy economy. This legislation should ensure 10% of our electricity comes from renewable sources by 2012, and 25% by 2025.
Congressman Sherman is working for policies to protect our oceans, rivers and wetlands and to ensure that the water we drink is clean. Sherman is working locally to expand recreational facilities in the Sepulveda Basin Recreation Area to include more sports fields, picnic areas and walking paths. He has secured nearly $5 million for the improvements being made now in the basin.
This fall, three destructive fires struck the San Fernando Valley, destroying over 750 buildings and burning over 30,000 acres from Chatsworth to Lake View Terrace.
Congressman Sherman saw the devastation firsthand when he toured the burned areas several times.
Congressman Brad Sherman and his staff visited the shelters to inform fire victims of assistance programs administered by FEMA, SBA, and other federal agencies.
Congressman Sherman’s Valley office has helped thousands of constituents with Veterans benefits, Social Security and Medicare, visas, passports, IRS problems, and tours of the Capitol and other Washington attractions. Whether you are seeking assistance for a victim of the fires, or need help with any federal agency, please call us at (818) 501-9200.