Olympia Snowe on The Economy

Last Updated : Feb 02, 2011

Summary

In 2005, Senator Snowe supported reforming the bankruptcy laws to reduce abuse in the system. She also contributed legislation to secure the records of bankruptcy proceedings and reduce instances of identity theft.

Although she supported and voted for Sarbanes-Oxley regulations after Enron, by 2007, Senator Snowe was pushing for exemptions to be granted to small businesses noting that the paperwork burden was much greater on those with fewer resources. Senator Snowe introduced the Small Business Regulatory Review Act of 2007 (S. 1153) to require the (SEC) and the (PCAOB) to take into account small businesses burdens before issuing final Sarbanes-Oxley rules.

In early 2008, Senator Snowe supported the Bush stimulus and called for it to: contain an increase in small business expensing to $200,000; lengthen carryback period of net operating losses to five years; extend the research and development tax credit; and expand depreciation expenses.

When the economy began to collapse, Senator Snowe was supportive of the TARP legislation. She stated that the country was at the precipice of a financial crisis, the magnitude of which was already of historic proportions. While not happy that the package was necessary, Senator Snowe stated that the TARP would stabilize the current financial crisis and restore some sense of normalcy to our economic system to revive commercial activity and investor confidence.

As President Obama assumed office and asked for the second half of the program to be authorized, Senator Snowe voiced disapproval of the lack of transparency in the program, but supported the President. She stated that she believed President Obama should be accorded the tools and resources necessary – and that he has requested on the eve of his new presidency – to avert further, serious economic consequences and restore public confidence on a bipartisan basis in government’s ability to mitigate this crisis. To address some of her concerns over the implementation of the TARP, Senator Snowe introduced the Troubled Asset Relief Program Inspector General Improvement Act. The act allocated funding for the Inspector General of the program.

In response to bonuses being paid out by companies receiving TARP, Senator Snowe cosponsored legislation to require financial institutions that received funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to either repay the cash portion of any bonus paid in excess of $100,000 early – within 120 days of the amendment’s enactment – or face an excise tax of 35% on what is not immediately repaid to the treasury.

Senator Snowe was one of three Republicans that voted in favor of the Obama stimulus. She stated that she had consistently voiced a need for a second stimulus and called for weatherization incentives by stating that bold investments in weatherization coupled with long-term tax incentives for energy efficiency will help pave the way for energy security in our nation. She later stated that how much spending is labeled as "tax relief" and how much is labeled as ‘spending was not important, only the merits of the individual measures, and whether the totality of the package can—in the timely, temporary, and targeted fashion we’ve employed on stimulus measures in the past – deliver job creation and assistance to people in need.

Although she voted in favor of the Wall Street Reform Legislation, Senator Snowe stated that she was concerned that the scales of the bill were tipped to protect Wall Street at the potential expense of Main Street, as the legislation established a $50 billion ‘bail-out’ fund that perversely could encourage banks to resume risky behavior rather than eliminate ‘too big to fail’, and contains measures that could unintentionally hinder the legitimate and necessary flow of credit to many of America’s small businesses.

 

Support for Bankruptcy Reform

In March of 2005, Senator Snowe released a press statement noting her support for upcoming legislation to deal with changes to bankruptcy laws. 

 

Wells Fargo Interview

In 2007, Senator Snowe was interviewed by Wells Fargo and spoke about a number of small business issues.

 

Sarbanes-Oxley Exemptions

In March of 2007, Senator Snowe introduced legislation to exempt small businesses from the paperwork.

 

The Bush Stimulus

In January of 2008, Senator Snowe released numerous press statements noting what she hoped to see in any economic stimulus package.

In February of 2008, Senator Snowe released another statement noting the passage of the stimulus through the Senate.

 

TARP

In October of 2008, Senator Snowe released press statements noting the passage of the TARP program through both the Senate and the House

In November of 2008, Senator Snowe released a press statement noting legislation that she was introducing to provide more oversight to the TARP program.

In January of 2009, Senator Snowe released a press statement noting her support for releasing the second installment of the TARP funds to President Obama.

 

Wall Street Bonuses

In October and November of 2008, Senator Snowe released press statements calling for limiting the bonuses made to AIG and other executives.

In February of 2009, Senator Snowe released a press statement noting her support for an amendment to recover funds from companies that received TARP funds and then paid out bonuses.

 

The Stimulus

In early January of 2009, Senator Snowe released a press statement noting a letter she sent to President Obama urging certain items in any stimulus.

In late January of 2009, Senator Snowe released a press statement noting her opinion that a second stimulus was needed, and that she was working with the Obama administration to create a package.

At the end of January of 2009, Senator Snowe released a press statement noting the tax provisions that she was pushing for in the upcoming stimulus package.

In early February of 2009, Senator Snowe released a statement noting her intention to support the stimulus package.

In February of 2009, Senator Snowe released a statement noting her vote to support the stimulus and funds that the state of Maine was set to obtain through the stimulus.

 

Wall Street Reform

In April of 2010, Senator Snowe released a press statement noting her support for Wall Street Reform legislation.

 

Voting Record

Wall Street Reform

In 2010, the Senate passed the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009. The legislation consolidated many financial regulatory agencies, increased transparency in the derivatives market, regulation of credit rating agencies, and a "resolution regime" to resolve insolvent banks. Olympia Snowe voted in favor of the Wall Street Reform Legislation.

Olympia Snowe voted in favor of the Wall Street Reform Legislation.

The Stimulus

After the stimulus passed the House, the conference report was voted on to pass the unified version. Olympia Snowe voted in favor of the Stimulus in the final vote.

Olympia Snowe voted in favor of the Stimulus in the final vote.

The Stimulus

The Obama stimulus package passed through the Senate in January of 2009 and received the support of all Democrats and three Republicans. Olympia Snowe voted in favor of the stimulus in the initial vote.

Olympia Snowe voted in favor of the stimulus in the initial vote.

TARP Funds - Disapproval of Second Installment

In January of 2009, the Senate voted to released the second half of TARP funds to President Obama. Olympia Snowe voted against the resolution and in support of the second installment of TARP funds.

Olympia Snowe voted against the resolution and in support of the second installment of TARP funds.

Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009

The Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009 was a program designed to assist those who may be able to remain in their home with a modest amount of government assistance. The bill got wide bi-partisan support in the Senate and passed 91-5. Olympia Snowe voted in favor of the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009.

Olympia Snowe voted in favor of the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009.

Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP)

The TARP program was designed to prevent the failure of large banks by purchasing their "troubled assets" and allowing them to move them off their records as liabilities. The bill received both bipartisan support and bipartisan opposition and passed 74-25 with the two parties making up about half of each vote. In January of 2009, the Senate voted on granting the second half of the TARP funds to President Obama. Olympia Snowe voted in favor of the TARP program.

Olympia Snowe voted in favor of the TARP program.

The Bush Stimulus

In early 2008, the Recovery Rebates and Economic Stimulus for the American People Act of 2008 was passed in an attempt to stimulate the economy. Also known as the Bush Stimulus, the act consisted largely of checks sent to individuals. The bill received wide bipartisan support and passed the Senate 81-16. Olympia Snowe voted in favor of the Bush Stimulus.

Olympia Snowe voted in favor of the Bush Stimulus.

Bankruptcy Reform

The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 completely redefined bankruptcy in the United States. The bill made it much more '); echo('for people to walk away from unsecured debt, such as credit cards, and permitted the court to award some compensation to creditors in the event that a bankruptcy was awarded. The bill got bipartisan support and passed 74-25. Olympia Snowe voted in favor of the Bankruptcy Reform bill.

Olympia Snowe voted in favor of the Bankruptcy Reform bill.

American Jobs Creation Act

The American Jobs Creation Act was a Republican plan that was signed into law in the summer of 2004. The legislation ending some taxes in the agriculture industry, reduced corporate tax rates from 35% to 32%, reduced taxation on overseas income, and provisions to help companies invest in equipment. It passed the Senate 69-17.

Sarbanes-Oxley

In response to Enron and other accounting scandals, Congress passed a bill which imposed a number of book-keeping and accounting regulations on several industries. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. The bill received almost unanimous support in the Senate and passed in a 99-1 vote. Olympia Snowe voted in favor of Sarbanes-Oxley.

Olympia Snowe voted in favor of Sarbanes-Oxley.

Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999

Also known as GRAMM-LEACH-BLILEY ACT, this legislation ended the Glass-Stegall rule that separated banking institutions from investment institutions. Olympia Snowe voted in favor of the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999.

Olympia Snowe voted in favor of the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999.

 

Sponsored and Cosponsored Legislation

Session-111; Bill Number-S 133; Troubled Asset Relief Program Transparency Reporting Act - Cosponsor

Prohibits the use by a recipient or its subsidiary of Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds under the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 for lobbying expenditures or political contributions. Requires the Secretary of the Treasury, through enhanced internal reporting and oversight requirements, to develop and publish corporate governance principles and ethical guidelines for such recipients, including specified restrictions. Sets forth recipient reporting and certifying requirements governing such TARP funds. Requires the Secretary to make such reports and certifications publicly available online and free of charge. Subjects persons to civil fines for violating such prohibition on the use of TARP funds or failing to file the required report or certification. Bars recipients from future TARP funds for noncompliance with such guidelines unless the Secretary determines that reasonable steps have been taken to bring their actions into compliance with and to prevent future violations of this Act.

Session-111; Bill Number-S 386; Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act of 2009 - Cosponsor

An Act to improve enforcement of mortgage fraud, securities and commodities fraud, financial institution fraud, and other frauds related to Federal assistance and relief programs, for the recovery of funds lost to these frauds, and for other purposes

Session-112; Bill Number-S 18; Small Business Paperwork Mandate Elimination Act - Cosponsor

Amends the Internal Revenue Code to repeal a provision (added by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) that extends to corporations that are not tax-exempt the requirement to report payments of $600 or more. Rescinds $39 billion of appropriated but unobligated discretionary funds. Exempts unobligated funds of the Department of Defense (DOD) or the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Requires the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to determine and identify from which appropriation accounts such rescissions shall apply and report to the Secretary of the Treasury and Congress on such rescissions.

Session-111; Bill Number-S 383; Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program Act of 2009 - Cosponsor

A bill to amend the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 to provide the Special Inspector General with additional authorities and responsibilities, and for other purposes

Session-111; Bill Number-S 386; Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act of 2009 or FERA - Cosponsor

Legislation dealing with the TARP funds and designed to improve enforcement of mortgage fraud, securities and commodities fraud, financial institution fraud, and other frauds related to Federal assistance and relief programs, for the recovery of funds lost to these frauds, and for other purposes.

Session-111; Bill Number-S 2869; Small Business Job Creation and Access to Capital Act of 2009 - Cosponsor

Small Business Job Creation and Access to Capital Act of 2009 - Title I: Next Steps for Main Street Credit Availability - (Sec. 101) Amends the Small Business Act to increase maximum amounts of loans under the following Small Business Administration (SBA) loan programs: (1) the section 7(a) (general small business loans) guaranteed loan program; (2) the section 504 (state and local development company) program; and (3) the Microloan (small-scale loans to start-up, newly-established, and growing small businesses) program. Repeals on January 1, 2011, the percentage increases under the 7(a) guaranteed loan program. (Sec. 104) Amends the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to extend through 2010 SBA authority to reduce or eliminate loan fees on section 7(a) and 504 loans.

Session-111; Bill Number-S 3578; Small Business Paperwork Mandate Elimination Act - Cosponsor

Amends the Internal Revenue Code to repeal a provision (added by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) that extends to corporations that are not tax-exempt the requirement to report payments of $600 or more.

Session-111; Bill Number-S 2787; TARP Sunset Act of 2009 - Cosponsor

Amends the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (EESA) to terminate, on December 31, 2009 (as under current law), the authority of the Secretary of the Treasury to implement the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). Repeals the Secretary's authority to extend the TARP program through October 3, 2010, upon submission of a written certification to Congress.

Session-111; Bill Number-S 651; Compensation Fairness Act of 2009 - Cosponsor

Amends the Internal Revenue Code to impose an excise tax on excessive bonuses paid by federal emergency economic assistance recipients to their employees (including directors or officers). Sets the overall rate of such tax at 70% of the amount of such bonuses, 35% payable by federal emergency economic assistance recipients and 35% payable by the employees of such recipients. Exempts bonus recipients who repay bonus amounts to the federal government. Defines "excessive bonus" as any retention bonus or other bonus that exceeds $50,000 paid by a federal emergency economic assistance recipient after December 31, 2008.

Session-111; Bill Number-S 979; Small Business Health Options Program Act of 2009 or the SHOP Act - Cosponsor

A bill to amend the Public Health Service Act to establish a nationwide health insurance purchasing pool for small businesses and the self-employed that would offer a choice of private health plans and make health coverage more affordable, predictable, and accessible.

References

[1] Website: Wells Fargo Article: Senator Olympia Snowe: Small Business Watchdog Author: NA Accessed on: 02/01/2011

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