Skip to comments.Sen. Jim Inhofe’s December 2008 Newsletter
Posted on 12/11/2008 9:18:29 PM PST by flattorney
This week, Senator Inhofe departed on a congressional delegation trip for Africa, traveling with Congressmen Aderholt (R-AL), Miller (R-FL), and Neugebauer (R-TX).
Today, as we mark the 20th Anniversary of World AIDS Day, we acknowledge how far we still have to go to heal the world of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, Senator Inhofe said. World AIDS Day brings aid and awareness to the issue, and this year specifically encourages leaders to take the lead to stop AIDS from destroying their countries. This week, I will be traveling to several African nations meeting with key African leaders who are on the front lines in fighting HIV/AIDS in their countries.
I will meet with Ugandan President Yoweri Musevini who has worked in combating HIV/AIDS in Uganda by instituting prevention programs particularly concerning mother-to-child transmission, along with recently launching a partnership program that targets at-risk groups such as refugees, internally displaced people, disabled, and those that are hard to reach.
I am going to meet with Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and First Lady Azeb Mesfin who have also been very involved in fighting the disease. First Lady Mesfin is known for her aggressive work to teach rural Ethiopians about the issues of HIV and advocating for more womens rights. She started the organization Ethiopian Coalition of Women against HIV/AIDS and continues to work closely with community leaders to ensure the rights of women and fight against harmful traditional practices and HIV/AIDS.
I look forward to meeting with these leaders who understand that finding a way to stop the spread of HIV and AIDS is essential to bringing stability and development to the region. I will also reaffirm my pledge to carry their stories back to Washington and make sure that the spotlight is not taken off of our obligation to show compassion and aid to those who need it most.
Congressman Robert Aderholt said: The Bush Administration has worked very hard to help people living with HIV/AIDS within the US and abroad. The United States has devoted record-levels of support to AIDS education, treatment and prevention in Africa, and the US is the largest contributor to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria since 2001. I anticipate the opportunity to discuss the progress in the global fight against AIDS with leaders of the African countries we are visiting and I hope that the US continues our support of Africa in the fight against this horrible disease.
Senator Inhofes work in Africa has revolved around his senior position on the Senate Armed Services Committee and building global partnerships through security cooperation efforts, but it has also been a personal mission. His compassion and heart for this extraordinary and often overlooked continent keep him returning to fight for their aid, build relationships between adversaries within and among the nations, and ensure them that they have not been forgotten in America. He has traveled to dozens of African countries developing relationships with people from all walks of life, from Prime Ministers to peasants and everyone in-between. He normally visits 5 or 6 countries on each trip.
In addition to meeting with African leaders on the economic and social challenges that they face, Senator Inhofe will look into the newly launched USAFRICOM. He fully supported and has been instrumental in the formation of the African Brigades, the African Unions regional military standby brigades and the development of USAFRICOM as a way to combat the spread of terrorism in vulnerable regions.
As Senator Inhofe predicted when Congress was in session two weeks ago, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson may very well be on his way to spending the second installment of the $700 billion bailout plan.
As reported in the Wall Street Journal and Politico, as well as many other news outlets, while Congress was in session, Paulson testified that he would likely not need to tap into the second installment. Now, as reported in the Wall Street Journal, Paulson is back to suggesting he may need it. Under current law, with Congress out of session, Secretary Paulson may submit a plan to Congress but does not need the Congress's approval. Senator Inhofe introduced bi-legislation (S.3683), together with Senator Sanders, DeMint, Roberts, Vitter, Enzi, Wicker to ensure that if Paulson asked for the second installment, that Congress would have to vote for it.
As news of Paulson's latest change is being reported, the Government Accountability Office is telling us that the Department of Treasury's bailout is not well planned and could lead to a lot of mismanagement and waste.
The Wall Street Journal: Paulson Debates Second Infusion - Hostile Lawmakers, Competing Bailout Demands and GAO Criticism Pose Dilemma - By DEBORAH SOLOMON and MICHAEL R. CRITTENDEN DECEMBER 3, 2008 WASHINGTON -- U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is debating whether to ask Congress for the second installment of the $700 billion bailout package, concerned about competing demands for the funds and a potentially hostile reaction from lawmakers. Mr. Paulson's dilemma was thrown into relief Tuesday by a report from the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, which criticized the Treasury Department's handling of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. Besides lawmakers threatening to deny a request for the additional money, Mr. Paulson is also grappling with confusion stemming from the transition to a new administration...On Capitol Hill, there is little appetite to grant access to the second $350 billion. The skepticism that almost torpedoed the original legislation in September has turned into full-blown revolt amid distrust over implementation and frequent changes to the program."Paulson is a big part of the problem because they don't have a coherent plan," said Rep. Virginia Foxx (R., N.C.).Rep. Foxx is one of a number of lawmakers who have laid the groundwork to block access to the second half of the bailout funds. Last month, Rep. Foxx and 15 House colleagues introduced a resolution that would be considered if Treasury does make a request. For Mr. Paulson to obtain the funds, the administration must submit a detailed report to Congress outlining how Treasury would use the money. Congress can deny the funds by passing a resolution like the one already introduced, disapproving of Treasury's plan within 15 days. If Congress doesn't act, the funds are released.House Minority Leader John Boehner (R., Ohio) has told Mr. Paulson that there aren't enough votes in favor of releasing the funds, according to people familiar with the matter. Critics in the Senate, where anger is also running high, are also moving to block a potential Treasury request. Perhaps the biggest sticking point is whether to use TARP funds to aid homeowners, a move the administration has been reluctant to take because of the complexity of designing such a program. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D., N.Y.) said "serious consideration" would have to be given to making sure part of the second tranche is used to help homeowners. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122826667852274509.html
Politico: Treasury wants rest of bailout money By: David Rogers November 25, 2008 01:22 PM EST After a rush of new commitments, Treasury is now making preparations to ask Congress for clearance to tap into the second half of the massive $700 billion financial markets rescue fund approved prior to November's elections. A final decision has not been made, but this is a marked change of tone from just a week ago, when Secretary Henry Paulson was giving interviews suggesting he had enough of a cushion that the second $350 billion could be left to the incoming Obama administration in January. Between the Citigroup rescue over the weekend and a $20 billion Treasury contribution Tuesday to a new facility to shore up consumer loans, Paulson appears to be down to his last $15 billion. Under the law enacted in October, Paulson had easy access to the first $350 billion of the $700 billion fund. But asking for the second half triggers an expedited procedure in which Congress must vote up-or-down on a resolution of disapproval - free of any filibuster threat but still requiring a two-thirds majority in both houses to be effective and overcome a veto by President Bush. Given the market turmoil - and the White House transition - few expect that the money will be blocked. But it reopens debate on the future of the rescue fund and could increase the pressure on Paulson to devote more resources to forestall mortgage foreclosures on homeowners - a major priority for Democrats. Link: http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm?uuid=D45C90BC-18FE-70B2-A86E945F0836C759
Treasury's Paulson say no plans to further tap TARP funds: WSJ - Tue Nov 18, 2008 7:57am EST - NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. financial system is stabilizing and the government does not plan to tap the remaining $410 billion of a financial rescue fund unless a further need arises, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson told the Wall Street Journal in an interview published on Tuesday. Paulson said he was unlikely to use the remains of the $700 billion bailout to launch substantial new programs, preferring to keep money in reserve for unforeseen emergencies and to preserve flexibility for the Obama administration. "I'm going to do what we need to do to keep the system strong and to react the ways we need to react during the nine weeks I'm here, but I'm not going to be looking to start up new things unless they're necessary or it's just clear that they need to be done or that they make great sense," the Journal quoted Paulson as saying. "I want to preserve the firepower, the flexibility we have now and those that come after us will have." Paulson could be in for some tough questioning on Capitol Hill later Tuesday after saying last week he no longer planned to buy bad loans from banks and instead would use the congressionally approved bailout to inject capital directly into banks. Citing comments he prepared for the testimony, the Journal said Paulson plans to say that after investing $250 billion in banks, the Treasury "didn't have enough left to make a meaningful impact." He told the Journal that he is working with the Federal Reserve to develop a lending facility that would encourage investors to buy some of these assets. Paulson, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Sheila Bair are scheduled to testify before the U.S. House Financial Services Committee on the Troubled Asset Relief Program at 0930 EDT.. Separately, in an op-ed piece in the New York Times, Paulson wrote: "If we have learned anything throughout this year, we have learned that this financial crisis is unpredictable and difficult to counteract. "We decided it was prudent to reserve our TARP money, maintaining not only our flexibility, but also that of the next administration. Link: http://www.reuters.com/article/ousiv/idUSTRE4AH48P20081118
Paulson Will Keep Reserve to Stay Flexible for Future - By DEBORAH SOLOMON NOVEMBER 18, 2008 - WASHINGTON -- Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is unlikely to use what remains of the $700 billion Wall Street rescue fund to launch substantial new programs, preferring to keep money in reserve for unforeseen emergencies and to preserve flexibility for the Obama administration. In an interview Monday, Mr. Paulson said the financial system is stabilizing, and he is thinking about how the remaining $410 billion could be best utilized, but that he doesn't plan to tap it unless a further need arises. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson defended the Bush Administration's $700-billion bailout plan, telling WSJ's Alan Murray he doesn't think he's doing FDR-like experimentation with liquid assets. (Nov. 17) "I'm going to do what we need to do to keep the system strong and to react the ways we need to react during the nine weeks I'm here, but I'm not going to be looking to start up new things unless they're necessary or it's just clear that they need to be done or [that they] make great sense," Mr. Paulson said. "I want to preserve the firepower, the flexibility we have now and those that come after us will have." Link: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122695439734334685.html
Yet Big Questions Remain on Oversight of Bailout Plan...
New York Times: Bailout Monitor Sees Lack of a Coherent Plan - By DIANA B. HENRIQUES - The head of a new Congressional panel set up to monitor the gigantic federal bailout says the government still does not seem to have a coherent strategy for easing the financial crisis, despite the billions it has already spent in that effort. Elizabeth Warren, the chairwoman of the oversight panel, said in an interview Monday that the government instead seemed to be lurching from one tactic to the next without clarifying how each step fits into an overall plan. "You can't just say, Credit isn't moving through the system,' " she said in her first public comments since being named to the panel. "You have to ask why." If the answer is that banks do not have money to lend, it would make sense to push capital into their hands, as the Treasury has been doing over the last two months, she continued. But if the answer is that their potential borrowers are getting less creditworthy with each passing day, "pouring money into banks isn't going to fix that problem," she said...The new panel has held only a few briefings with Treasury officials so far, and Ms. Warren acknowledged that she and the other panel members were still in the early stages of their research. Treasury Department officials have never described their actions as the sole remedy. A spokesman noted that Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. recently testified that stabilizing the financial system was a necessary first step in any plan to address the financial and economic crisis. "Our objectives in asking Congress for a financial rescue package were to first stabilize a financial system on the verge of collapse, and then to get lending going again to support the American people and businesses."
WashingtonPost: Bailout Not Well Planned: Now the Government Accountability Office is telling us that the Department of Treasury's bailout of the financial system is not well planned and could lead to a lot of mismanagement and waste or, presumably, worse. Is that a surprise? Perhaps not. But Government Inc. thinks its worthy of ongoing discussion. After all, there's a lot of taxpayer money -- $150 billion, as of Nov. 25 -- and the future of our capitalist system at stake. You'll recall that the government is hiring contract auditors and such to run what's been dubbed Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. No puns here, for now, about the symbolic meaning of TARP. (Is that musty already?) "GAO recognizes that TARP has existed for less than 60 days and that a new program of such magnitude faces many challenges, especially in this current uncertain economic climate. However, Treasury has yet to address a number of critical issues, including determining how it will ensure that CPP is achieving its intended goals and monitoring compliance with limitations on executive compensation and dividend payments. Moreover, further actions are needed to formalize transition planning efforts and establish an effective management structure and an essential system of internal control." We can do better people. Right? Here's the full report. Government Inc. likes the title: Additional Actions Needed to Better Ensure Integrity, Accountability, and Transparency. Link: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/government-inc/2008/12/bailout_not_well_planned.html
FDIC head: gov't rescue plan needs 'exit strategy' - By MARCY GORDON - WASHINGTON (AP) - The head of the FDIC said Tuesday the government needs to devise an "exit strategy" for its massive financial rescue plan to avoid artificially propping up banks and other institutions over the long term. Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Sheila Bair made the comments at a conference of corporate executives. Her agency has played a key role in the financial bailout, guaranteeing potentially as much as $1.4 trillion in debt issued by banks and raising the limits on deposit insurance for bank accounts. But Bair has broken with the Bush administration by repeatedly saying more aggressive government action is needed to help millions of struggling home borrowers avoid foreclosure. "I'm a capitalist. I believe in markets," Bair said in response to questions at the conference sponsored by Fortune and Time magazines. The far-reaching government guarantees extended under the rescue program - now including $250 billion set aside for the Treasury to buy stock in U.S. banks, hundreds of billions in aid to giant financial institutions and hundreds more billions in special lending facilities to banks - must be carefully assessed, Bair said. Link: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/government-inc/2008/12/bailout_not_well_planned.html
On Monday, December 01, 2008, the President signed into law H.R. 5714, the United States Army Commemorative Coin Act of 2008, a bill sponsored by Senator Inhofe.
The legislation, which passed the Senate on November 17th, creates a series of three coins - a $5 gold coin, a silver dollar and a copper-nickel clad half-dollar. The coin designs will feature motifs honoring the Army's founding, heritage and its role in American society. These would be the first and only United States coins ever issued to honor and celebrate the United States Army in its entirety. Surcharges from the sale of the coins would be reserved for the Army Historical Foundation, for use in helping to fund the National Museum of the United States Army at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.
The bill, co-sponsored by Senator Inouye (D-HI), authorizes the U.S. Treasury to create a commemorative coin, the proceeds of which will be directed towards building a museum honoring the heritage of the U.S. Army.
To read more, click here.
Oklahomans traveling to Washington, D.C. will now be able to enjoy the brand new U.S. Capitol Visitor Center.
Senator Inhofe commented on the opening of the visitor center this week, saying,
"The opening of the new visitor center will certainly provide constituents with an exciting new way to learn about Congress and our nation's history," Senator Inhofe said. "As Oklahoman's travel to Washington DC, I invite them to contact my office for a staff-led tour and for them to enjoy the brand new visitor center and see the Senate up-close."
As always, Senator Inhofe's staff is here to help obtain tickets and provide tours to Oklahoma constituents. For schedule and booking information for Oklahoma residents visiting D.C. contact Anita Tate in Senator Inhofe's Tulsa office at (918)-748-5111.
The new Capitol Visitor Center enhances the DC visitor's experience, as the CVC website explains:
"Staff led tours will officially begin with a 13minute video chronicling the unique spirit, diversity, and efficacy of America. This incredible video story adds an extra element of structure to staff led tours. Tour participants now have the option of meeting congressional staff in a member's office, or at the "east front" of the U.S. Capitol, the side facing the Supreme Court and Library of Congress. Tour participants who elect to meet at a congressional member's office are asked to arrive 40 minutes in advance to give time to walk over to the Capitol Visitor Center and pass through security.
Once inside the Capitol Visitor Center, tour participants will await the screening time printed on their individual tour tickets. Screening times are rigid to allow the maximum number of visitor's to enjoy the U.S. Capitol experience. It is now imperative that tour participants arrive on time. If a screening time is missed tour participants may not be able to view a later screening, especially during days with heavy traffic.
After the video story participants will be taken on a tour through the U.S. Capitol. Upon return to the Capitol Visitor Center, tour participants now have the option to view the U.S. Senate or House chambers, explore the Exhibition Hall, or take advantage of the new food services.
The Exhibition Hall gives tour participants an opportunity to take a hands-on approach to learning U.S. History, with interactive exhibits, artifacts, and congressional videos."
For general information about public tours of the Capitol, contact the Capitol Guide Service at (202) 225-6827.
Looking for more information? Check out the Capitol Visitor Center's (CVC) Website: http://www.visitthecapitol.gov/
Plane carrying Inhofe makes emergency landing
Link to Article:
An American Eagle regional jet carrying U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe and 52 others was forced to make an emergency landing Monday after one of its tires was damaged upon take off.