Jan 152015
 

The stakes are high for today’s aspiring athletes. The rewards for being big, strong, quick and fast entice some kids to “get an edge” on competition. Performance-enhancing drugs (PED) include anabolic steroids which build muscle mass by stimulating protein growth, and human growth hormones which stimulate natural sex steroids such as testosterone and estrogen, also to increase body mass. Recent surveys have documented the use of these illegal and unapproved drugs by American high school athletes. Recent studies have also found these drugs are increasingly being used by this age group to improve appearance. Advocates warn there have not been any studies to determine the safe or long-term consumption levels of PEDs for children. All PEDs have adverse side effects and many advocates believe the use of these drugs will shorten one’s lifespan. Studies have found that up to 12% of boys and 3% of girls are using anabolic steroids in high school. Most of these students began using at 16 and many have done multiple cycles. Studies have also found that nearly 4% of our middle school students, ages 9 to 13, are using steroids. In 1995, our Supreme Court ruled that PED testing for high school athletes is constitutional. Supporters say that testing serves as a deterrent and also offers students a way to say no to these dangerous drugs.

Pending Legislation: None

I oppose reforming current youth sports performance enhancing drug policy

I support identifying a legislator who will sponsor a bill establishing a program to research the use of performance-enhancing drugs by junior high and high school athletes; and funding educational substance abuse prevention and intervention programs, including drug testing, related to the use of PEDs for students in this age group

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

Credit card operations are usually the most profitable business of a bank. About 30% of all profits earned by credit card lenders were from cardholder fees. Most large banks have raised late fees and over-the-credit-limit fees to at least $35. Many lenders will now raise your interest rate from around 16% to 35% or more if you pay late or exceed your credit limit. The amount of interest and fees are so high that consumers often end up paying noting but interest and fees without reducing their principle balance. Industry supporters claim the reason for increased profits is due to the high number of consumer bankruptcies. Opponents claim these industry-wide profit levels and fee increases can only be explained by uncompetitive practices and consumer price gouging.

Pending Legislation:

S.673 – Protecting Consumers from unreasonable Credit Rates Act of 2013

I oppose reforming current credit card fee policy and wish to defeat S.673

I support prohibiting a creditor from extending credit to a consumer under a credit card plan for which the fee and interest rate exceeds 36%, and wish to pass S.673

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

A derivative has no intrinsic value in itself. Derivatives are financial instruments whose value is derived from the value of something else. They usually take the form of contracts under which the parties agree to payments between themselves based upon the value of an underlying asset, index, interest rate, or other data at a particular point in time. Derivative transactions include a variety of financial contracts, including structured debt obligations and deposits, swaps, futures, options, caps, floors, collars, forwards, and various combinations of these. For example: Choose something valuable such as soy beans, petroleum or government bonds, make bets on its future worth, add a contract, and you have a derivative. Derivatives have been called the unregulated global casino for banks. The financial crisis showed that derivatives make the system much more dangerous by encouraging banks and investors to pile up more and more risk. A derivative contract loses or gains value as the price it tracks changes. When it loses enough value, the bank will demand that the owner pays it some money, the dreaded ‘margin call.’ This was exactly what brought down AIG and nearly did the same to our global economy. Advocates say that a small tax on financial transactions would discourage rampant speculation by our financial institutions and help reduce our budget deficit.

Pending Legislation:

H.R.880 – Wall Street Trading and Speculators Tax Act

I oppose reforming current derivatives policy and wish to defeat H.R.880

I support imposing a .03% excise tax on the purchase of a security, including derivatives, stocks, partnership interests, notes, bonds, debentures, or other evidences of indebtedness, if such purchase occurs or is cleared on a trading facility located in the United States, or the purchaser or seller is a U.S. person, and wish to pass H.R.880

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

It has become known that several of our largest banks are trading physical commodities. These big financial institutions own oil tankers and warehouses and have been trading everything from petroleum to metals. It appears they have been using these warehouses and tankers to store, and intentionally delay, the delivery of materials that are critical to industry, producing artificial shortages to drive up prices. Critics say banks should not be engaged in commodity speculation, to say nothing of rigging our markets. Not long ago, metal users such as beer can manufacturers testified that banks had delayed the shipment of copper and aluminum to end users, intentionally causing prices to rise. They say that metal warehouses owned by banks drove brewer’s prices up $3 billion in 2012. After several government agencies began investigating charges of insider trading, JP Morgan promised it would exit the commodities business. In 2013, this firm was sanctioned by the Federal Energy regulatory Commission for manipulating energy prices. Consumer advocates say this shows how far banks will now go to increase revenue, without regard for our economy. They warn of the possibility of other financial institutions manipulating prices of essential consumer commodities.

Pending Legislation: None

I oppose reforming current bank commodity trading policy

I support identifying a legislator who will sponsor a bill to prohibit financial institutions from trading physical commodities

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

The Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) was created during the Great Depression to protect the interests of investors. Its’ 4,000 employees oversee nearly 12,000 investment counselors, 10,000 mutual funds, and 4,500 brokerage firms. Most people think our SEC has not been very effective in doing its job of making rules, preventing fraud and maintaining fair and orderly markets. The SEC has been plagued by problems and mistakes such as conflict-of-interest questions in its general counsel’s office, and its record of almost never taking violators to court. Many believe its problems originate from the ‘revolving door’ policy between government employees and those in the financial institutions the SEC is assigned to police. Currently, former members of Congress must wait one year from the time they leave office until they can personally make lobbying contacts with former colleagues. In defense of its record, the SEC says it annually reviews many thousands of financial statements and corporate disclosures each year, and claims its lawyers go up against corporations that spend more on lawyers’ fees than the SEC’s entire annual budget. Aside from the SEC, there has also been much discussion and disagreement regarding the role that the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act had on the financial crisis. This depression-era regulation separated the actions of Main Street banks from Wall Street investment firms. Consumer advocates say this patrician needs to be rebuilt.

Pending Legislations:

S.286 – Stronger Enforcement of Civil Penalties Act of 2013

S.985 & H.R.129 – Return to Prudent Banking Act of 2013

I oppose reforming current Securities and Exchange Commission policy

I support stronger SEC enforcement measures including increasing the money penalties in administrative and civil actions involving securities laws violations; prescribing a fourth tier penalty of triple monetary penalties for noncompliance with certain enforcement actions if the violator, within the five-year period preceding the prohibited act, was criminally convicted for securities fraud or became subject to a judgment or order imposing monetary, equitable, or administrative relief in any SEC action alleging fraud by such violator, and wish to identify a legislator who will either reintroduce S.286 Stronger Enforcement of Civil Penalties Act of 2013 (113th Congress 2013-2014), or a similar version thereof

I support separating banking activities from investment firm activities; prohibiting an insured depository institution from being an affiliate of any broker or dealer, investment adviser, investment company, or any other person or entity engaged in the issue or distribution of stocks, bonds, debentures, notes, or other securities, and wish to identify a legislator who will either reintroduce H.R.129 – Return to Prudent Banking Act of 2013 (113th Congress 2013-2014), or a similar version thereof

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

In light of the recent financial crisis which decimated our housing market, there have been calls to revamp our mortgage finance system. Currently, the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac process the majority of our nation’s home loans. Many wish to dissolve these corporations to insure their reckless lending policies, and the resulting taxpayer bailouts, are not repeated. They suggest building a new housing finance system that will provide secure home ownership for responsible middle class families and those striving to join them. This new entity, the Federal Mortgage Insurance Corporation (FMIC), would provide government insurance for mortgages just as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) does for savings accounts. Advocates say the FMIC would be prohibited from taking the risks which helped cause our catastrophic housing crisis. They also claim it would spur investment in the rental housing market.

Pending Legislation:
S.1217 – Housing Finance Reform and Taxpayer Protection Act of 2013 (113th Congress 2013-2014)

I oppose reforming current home foreclosure policy and wish to defeat H.R.190 and H.R. 1397

I support either reintroducing S.1217 – Housing Finance Reform and Taxpayer Protection Act of 2013 (113th Congress 2013-2014), or a similar version thereof.

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has enacted a rule which applies to both mortgage lenders and borrowers. Called the “Qualified Mortgage Rule,” it limits both the amount of debt a consumer may carry and the amount of points a lender may charge. Among other things, it also prohibits interest-only and negative amortized loans, and requires lenders to verify all loan application information. In some ways however, this new rule has made it more difficult for home buyers to qualify for a loan. It has been reported that the U.S. home ownership rate is now at a 19 year low due to tight credit and rising home prices. The recent housing market rebound is leaving behind many first-time home buyers, many who are laden with student loans and incomes which are lower than previous generations. It has long been difficult to qualify for home mortgages in small or rural communities. This is because some properties may not be considered residential enough, or may be considered a mixed-use property, or may have problems with appraisal comps.

Pending Legislation:
H.R.858 – Rural Housing Preservation Act of 2013 (113th Congress 2013-2014)

I oppose reforming current home lending policy

I support assisting borrowers in rural communities experiencing a serious lack of mortgage credit for lower and moderate-income families, and wish to identify a legislator who will either reintroduce H.R.858 – Rural Housing Preservation Act of 2013 (113th Congress 2013-2014), or a similar version thereof

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

For some time, mortgage interest rates have been at all-time lows. However, many Americans have been unable to take advantage of this “once in a lifetime” opportunity to refinance their home loan. Tighter loan requirements, lower appraised home values, and the slow economy have all conspired with reluctant lenders to cause widespread frustration, if not panic, among many home-owners. Critics have said that banks are resisting the requests of borrowers who need to replace older high-interest loans with newer, less costly ones. Most believe that if banks had immediately passed on to homeowners the ultra-low interest rates they were receiving from the Fed, the Great Recession would not have been nearly so great.

Pending Legislation:

S.249 or H.R.736 – Responsible Homeowner Refinancing Act of 2013 (113th Congress 2013-2014)

I oppose reforming current homeowner mortgage refinancing policy

I support efforts to assist homeowners to refinance their mortgages including requiring Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to adopt specified criteria pertaining to borrower eligibility, representations and warranties, prohibition on up-front fees, alternative streamlined methods to determine the value of a property, the purchase or guarantee of any new mortgage resulting from the refinancing of an eligible mortgage, to guarantee fees, and wish to identify a legislator who will either reintroduce S.249 or H.R.736 – Responsible Homeowner Refinancing Act of 2013 (113th Congress 2013-2014), or a similar version thereof

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

There is no private organization that administers and regulates the sport of boxing as the NCAA does for college sports or as the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB do for professional sports. For many decades, there has been a wide range of rules and policies governing boxing competition. States, Indian tribes, boxing federations, fight promoters and TV networks have all influenced boxing regulations for their own benefit. This sport has long been associated with the exploitation of boxers, corrupt judges and self-serving unscrupulous promoters. Critics claim the questionable outcomes of many matches and the inexplicable rankings of some contenders, apparently designed to push the careers of certain fighters, are examples of this corruption. Boxing critics say this sport lost credibility with the public long ago. They say boxing is long overdue for regulations which set uniform standards for fight contracts, contender rankings, qualifications of referees and judges, and requiring states to accept each other’s decisions. The also say that more must be done to protect the health of boxers.

Pending Legislation: None

I oppose reforming current boxing policy

I support establishing the U.S. Boxing Administration to protect the general interests of boxers, ensure uniformity, fairness and integrity in professional boxing, oversee all professional boxing matches, ensure that professional boxing laws are enforced, and wish to identify a legislator who will reintroduce H.R.1065 – United States Boxing Commission Act (109th Congress 2005-2006

 Posted by at 12:00 am