Sessions: Deficits hurting economy

Published 9:05 pm Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Nearly $1 trillion in deficits have plagued Congress over the past four years, and Sen. Jeff Sessions believes that pattern must be broken.

In 2008 alone, the country has faced a deficit of $455 billion, which is the largest deficit since World War II. Sessions expects that number could increase to more than $1 trillion depending on just how large President-Elect Barack Obama’s economic stimulus package costs.

“The trade deficit is increasing our debt, and that has had a ballooning effect on our economy,” Sessions said in a teleconference with Alabama newspaper reporters yesterday. “We have to begin to reduce our deficits if we want to help our economy turn around.”

The 111th Congress began on Jan. 3. The Democratic Party has control of both houses. In the Senate, the split is 55-41-2 in favor of Democrats with two vacancies. While Democrats have the majority, they do not have enough to stop filibusters.

Sessions hinted that Republican senators may be forced to use filibusters especially if Democrats do not try to compromise.

He said Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) has requested to get an amendment added to a current bill in the Senate, but the Senate leadership hasn’t recognized Coburn.

“If the majority is going to try to railroad legislation through Congress without ever giving us a chance to offer amendments, then we have to do some [filibustering],” Session said.

One of the main issues coming before Congress will be Obama stimulus package. Sessions doesn’t know right now how he will vote on the package.

“All there has been is vague talks about it. Nothing has been presented right now,” Sessions said.

Session said he will likely support infrastructure upgrades that could create new jobs and reductions in taxes especially corporate taxes.

“We have the highest corporate taxes in the world,” Sessions said. “Our companies can’t compete with companies overseas because our companies have to pay such high taxes. If we can reduce our corporate taxes, our companies can start competing with other countries, and they will have more money to create more jobs.”

However, he wants to make sure that anything in an economic stimulus package will create jobs.

“We found out that giving stimulus checks doesn’t stimulate the economy or create jobs,” Sessions said. “I also don’t think we need to pass a package that is just going to create bigger government. Whatever we pass in a stimulus package must be done to create more jobs not more government.”