Sunday, February 07, 2010

MN-03 : Paulsen Failing Middle Class Grade

"Congress is broken, and I want to help fix it," said Republican Erik Paulsen in his campaign to replace Republican Jim Ramstad.
Voters in Minnesota’s Third District had been accustomed to a Republican that was generally considered to be supportive of the Middle Class, so there was great hope that Paulsen’s words would expand programs that would benefit them.
Sadly, Paulsen’s first Middle Class Report Card grade is 28%. Whereas Ramstad ranked a solid “B” in the previous ranking, Paulsen is looking at a failing grade.

Paulsen’s 28% grade ties him for 65th among House Republicans … that’s right, 64 other Republicans performed better. For the record, Paulsen did grade higher than his fellow Minnesota Republicans … Michele Bachmann (Sixth District) at 13% and John Kline (Second District) at 12% ... but a far cry from Jim Ramstad's ranking that supported Middle Class programs.

Obviously, there are some “hot button” issues like Healthcare Insurance Reform where all the Republicans would vote in lockstep … but that is not the only issue that affects the Middle Class.

One issue that candidate Paulsen addressed during the campaign was Education stating : “Our nation’s continued ability to be the leader of an increasingly competitive global economy depends upon a strong education system. …
College costs are also rising out of control and are a major strain on family budgets. The student loan program is an essential tool for families, as is the Pell Grant program.”

On this issue, Paulsen failed in his vote on the HR 3221 Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act which included increases in Pell Grants while also ending the subsidization program that would save the government $87 BILLON over ten years. The massive $87 BILLON subsidy to private companies that make student loans, did little to promote affordability.

It would be easy to fault Paulsen for failing to achieve other areas cited in his Paulsen Plan for Third District Families such as “more cops on our streets”, “pro-growth policies like lower taxes”, and “new job-creating industry of innovation and technology for the future” if he had supported HR 1 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 … but all House Republicans opposed that legislation even though it did include tax breaks for individuals and businesses while providing funds to Minnesota and other states for police and other essential services … plus promoting renewal energy programs.

What makes Paulsen stand out from his other Republicans is his votes on HR 1664 Pay for Performance Act which addressed the payment of “unreasonable or excessive” compensation for groups that received taxpayer bailouts;
HR 1586 Tax On Bonuses Received From TARP Recipients ; HR 1728 Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act which end the abusive lending practices at the root of the financial crisis, such as ensuring a borrower’s ability to repay a loan and a ban on “steering” high-cost mortgages to minorities; etc.

While "Congress may still be broken,”, Representative Paulsen has done little “to help fix it," … his fix seems to help Wall Street more than the Middle Class families. Looking at these key votes, it begs question : why do 64 other Republicans find ways to help out Middle Class families than Representative Paulsen ?

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