On November 15th, the Virginia Tea Party Patriots sent a letter to the Virginia Congressional Delegation condemning the “Quantitative Easing” (i.e., printing money and causing inflation) strategy the Federal Reserve is pursing. We want to provide you with the responses we received.
Rep. Eric Cantor—who is a co-sponsor of the Audit the Fed bill—provided a copy of a letter he co-signed for Fed Chairman Bernanke, urging him to halt the reckless fiscal policy of inflating our money supply. Here is a copy of the letter (also signed by Rep. John Boehner and Senators Mitch McConnell and John Kyl).
Rep. Rob Whitman responded with the following e-mail:
Thanks for your e-mail. I have co sponsored Rep. Paul’s bill to audit the Fed and was one of the early co sponsors. With the current QE2 effort of quantitative easing we should all be concerned about the actions of the Fed. We will continue to work on this issue in the 112th Congress. Thanks for all of your hard work on behalf of the great Patriots across our great state.
Rep. Scott Rigell responded with the following e-mail:
Thank you for contacting us. I apologize for the delayed response. Our spam filters sometimes catch non-spam emails, and I really need to check that folder more frequently. Again, I humbly apologize.
Regarding your email, I’m sure that Karen has told you that Scott Rigell has already pledged to audit the Fed as part of his Pledge to the people of the Second District, which was negotiated – in part – by the Hampton Roads Tea Party, among other groups. In addition, Scott has already agreed to co-sponsor Ron Paul’s bill on the matter.
Thank you again for writing.
Joy E. Weber
Scott Rigell for Congress
Jim Webb responded with the following e-mail:
Thank you for contacting my office regarding the Federal Reserve’s plan for a second round of quantitative easing. I appreciate your taking the time to share your concerns with me.
As you know, the Federal Open Market Committee announced its plans to continue the quantitative easing strategy it began in December 2008 by purchasing an additional $600 billion of longer-term Treasury securities. Proponents argue that purchasing additional securities will lower long-term interest rates, thereby encouraging greater lending and investment, lower the risk of deflation, and provide a boost to U.S. exports.
Opponents argue that even with additional liquidity there is nothing to ensure that lending will increase, and that encouraging investment in some assets may increase the probability of creating asset price bubbles. Some observers fear future inflation. Also, several countries have raised concerns about the impact of the Federal Reserve’s actions on the value of their currencies.
As the U.S. Senate debates matters pertaining to the economy, please be assured that your views are helpful to me and my staff. I hope you continue to share your thoughts with us in the years ahead.
I would also invite you to visit my website at www.webb.senate.gov for regular updates about my activities and positions on matters that are important to Virginia and our nation.
Thank you once again for contacting my office.
United States Senator
Mark Warner responded with the following e-mail:
Thank you for contacting me about the Federal Reserve’s decision to implement a quantitative easing plan. I appreciate hearing from you on this important manner.
The Federal Reserve is an independent government agency charged with carrying out monetary policy for the United States. On November 3rd, it announced a new $600 billion quantitative easing plan to be executed over the next 8 months with the goals of driving economic growth and reducing unemployment.
Quantitative easing is a tool that can be used by central banks when the interest rates and inflation are low. By buying a large amount of government bonds, the Federal Reserve aims to minimize the increase in market interest rates versus the federal funds interest rate, thereby encouraging companies and individuals to invest to stimulate economic growth.
There are risks to quantitative easing, however. Because it can cause consumer prices to increase, consumers are encouraged to spend now rather than later, spurring short-term growth. Low consumer confidence and growing international doubts that the US can repay our national debt are real risks to our economy, though, and can marginalize the benefits of quantitative easing. The Federal Reserve would not have used this tool if they didn’t feel it was necessary now, but that does not leave us off the hook – we need to do a better job controlling federal spending and get the national deficit under control.
This is why I co-sponsored bipartisan legislation (S.2853) proposed by Senators Kent Conrad (D-ND) and Judd Gregg (R-NH) to create an 18-member task force to address our nation’s long-term budget crisis. The task force would be charged with making sweeping budget and revenue recommendations to be presented to Congress for a simple up-or-down vote, with no amendments allowed. On January 26, 2010, the Senate voted this amendment down by a count of 53-46. It is regrettable that a number of Senators who traditionally had co-sponsored this legislation suddenly reversed their original position and voted against the bipartisan proposal. Currently, we expect the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform to release their report in early December. It is my hope that the Commission’s report includes recommendations that unite Members of Congress in order to pass a bipartisan package to reduce the federal deficit.
On September 28, 2010, I was proud to sponsor the Government Performance and Results Modernization Act of 2010 (S.3853). This bipartisan legislation seeks to make government work more efficiently by requiring every federal agency to set clear performance goals that can be accurately measured and publicly recorded. S.3852 establishes a clear framework to identify overlapping federal programs, and requires more focused efforts to identify potential taxpayer savings. On September 29, 2010, the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee passed this legislation and it now awaits debate before the full Senate.
In addition to the Government Performance and Modernization Act, I also filed an amendment to the Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2010 (H.R.4213) that would have eliminated 17 outdated, ineffective, or duplicative programs that each year cost taxpayers approximately $806 million. These 17 programs have been targeted for elimination by the Office of Management and Budget under both Presidents Bush and Obama. While unfortunately this amendment did not receive a vote, and thus was not a part of the final legislation, I believe that these are the steps we must take in order to restore fiscal sanity to our federal budget.
Thank you again for contacting me. Please continue to share your views and concerns.
MARK R. WARNER
United States Senator
That’s all for now. If we receive any more responses, we will post them.
UPDATE: Rep. Randy Forbes responded with this letter.