Senator Lee Discusses Progress with Balanced Budget Amendment on Freedom Watch

Mar 18, 2011

Senator Lee discusses the progress Republican senators are making with the Balanced Budget Amendment. He also discusses Senator Rand Paul's plan to balance the budget in 5 years with Judge Napolitano.

Senator Lee Discusses Rising Stakes in Budget Fight with Lou Dobbs

Mar 17, 2011

We need to make it possible but difficult and unusual for Congress to engage in deficit spending.

Lee, McCain Submit Bill to Reduce Ownership of Federal Lands

Mar 17, 2011

WASHINGTON – Today, Senator Mike Lee of Utah and Senator John McCain of Arizona introduced legislation to reduce federal ownership of certain public lands and allow the land to be sold for more productive purposes. The bill directs the Secretary of Interior to dispose of federal lands identified in a 1997 Clinton Administration report deemed suitable for sale. Under this legislation, the amount of land sold would be equal to roughly 1% of all land managed by the Bureau of Land Management, and less than one half of one percent of all federal land. Representative Jason Chaffetz, also of Utah, recently introduced a similar bill in the House.

“It’s been more than a decade since the land was deemed suitable for disposal and there is no critical need for the federal government to hold on to it,” said Senator Lee. “The sale of the land alone could generate more than a $1 billion, and there is further economic benefit of putting the land to good use. That will mean jobs, future growth, and better prosperity for the surrounding areas.”

“It’s good for the state of Utah and I am happy to work with Senator McCain and my fellow Utahn Representative Chaffetz in the House in supporting the move.”

“The federal budget, much like the household budgets of millions of American families, is stretched alarmingly thin in today’s fiscal climate,” said Senator McCain. “Congress must explore all possible avenues for reducing our $1.4 trillion deficit and ballooning $14 trillion national debt. Our legislation aims to reduce the federal estate in a way that’s mindful of how we currently manage our public lands and seeks to dispose land that the federal government simply does not want.”

The bill is titled “The Reducing Federal Ownership of Public Lands Act”.

Bipartisan Coalition of Senators: Stop and Study Proposed Debit Card Rule

Mar 15, 2011

(U.S. SENATE) – Senators Jon Tester (D-MT), Bob Corker (R-TN), Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Ben Nelson (D-NE), Tom Carper (D-DE), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Chris Coons (D-DE), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Pat Toomey (R-PA) today introduced legislation to protect consumers, small businesses and rural and small community banks and credit unions from a proposed rule regarding transaction fees on debit cards.

“Price controls are almost always problematic,” said Lee, who is Ranking Member on the Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights. “If the rule remains in place, retailers, banks and consumers will lose out in the long run through higher costs and limited choices. I believe we can form a better solution that does not unnecessarily burden small businesses and local financial institutions or pass fees on to the customer. The delay in implementing the rule will allow us to find options that benefit everyone.”

The bipartisan coalition of Senators today introduced the Debit Interchange Fee Study Act in response to concerns of the impact of a proposed rule from the Federal Reserve on consumers and small businesses.

The Federal Reserve is proposing a rule that will cap the interchange fee per debit card transaction at 12 cents, regardless of the size of the transaction. Consumer advocacy organizations have raised concerns that this proposed rule will significantly impact consumers because small banks may limit the size of a debit card transaction or end free checking services.

The Debit Interchange Fee Study Act suspends implementation of the proposed rule and calls for a two year study of debit interchange fees.

“The stakes are simply too high to move forward with this rule without a closer look at the impact on consumers, credit unions, community banks, and the small businesses and jobs they sustain” said Tester, a member of the Senate Banking Committee. “That is why we need to make sure we stop and study these proposed rules before implementing anything.”

“The federal government shouldn’t be telling private companies what they can charge for goods and services; that’s price fixing, and that’s exactly what the Durbin amendment does,” said Corker, a member of the Senate Banking Committee. “The hastily passed Durbin amendment will have numerous unintended consequences for debit card users, including reduced access and increased fees. I’m sympathetic to retailers’ concerns and am open to a better solution, but the Durbin amendment isn’t the answer.”

“I’m concerned that the proposed rule dictating debit card interchange fees willhave a harmful effect on consumers, small banks and credit unions,” Carper said. “This legislation will allow Congress and federal regulators to take a thoughtful pause and avoid unintended consequences.”

“The government should not be in the business of setting price controls on any product and implementing this rule would set a precedent for that,” said Roberts. “We need more time to sufficiently review this regulation, because failing to get it right ultimately means it will fall on the backs of consumers, merchants and financial institutions, including our small community banks. And at a time when Americans are watching every penny, we cannot afford to let that happen.”

"The concerns raised by Fed Chairman Bernanke and FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair about the potential harm to credit unions and community banks require further study of the unintended consequences of this rule," Coons said. "Any government regulation of interchange fees should yield some tangible consumer benefit, but the Fed's current cap offers no such guarantee. Further study will help yield a more thoughtful, long-term solution."

A copy of the S. 575 can be found online HERE.

Senator Lee Explains Budget Vote

Mar 15, 2011

Senator Lee talks about his vote against H.R. 1 on March 9, 2011. Government spending is holding back our economy, killing jobs, and mortgaging away our future and that of our children. It is time for Congress and the President to seriously address this problem.

Senator Lee and Senator Paul discuss Japan and Government Spending with Larry Kudlow

Mar 15, 2011

Larry Kudlow asks Senator Mike Lee and Senator Rand Paul about the aftermath of the tsunami in Japan and how they plan to cut government spending in the US

Lee: Support for CR is a ‘Losing Strategy’

Mar 15, 2011

WASHINGTON – Today, Senator Mike Lee of Utah announced he would continue to oppose any continuation of current spending that did not seriously address our deficit and debt, and lacked structural spending reforms. Lee said he plans to vote against the ‘continuing resolution’ that is expected to come to the Senate floor this week because the so-called spending ‘cuts’ in the bill are inadequate and it does not take steps to prevent future overspending.

“It is unfortunate that Members of Congress in both parties are supporting a losing strategy, rather than doing what is right for the country,” said Lee. “The continuing resolution maintains unsustainable spending levels despite widespread agreement that we need meaningful reductions. The question before the Senate is whether we are going to take bold action now to reduce our deficit and control spending, or keep putting it off and drive the country further into debt.

“I am pleased to see a growing number of Members beginning to see the budget debate in these terms and have pledged to oppose additional continuing resolutions. My hope is that we attract enough support to finally put an end to this short-sighted tactic and forge a long-term agreement that is right for the American people.”

We The Interns clip 2 - Senators Rand Paul and MIke Lee Discuss Their Legislative Ambitions

Mar 11, 2011

An intern asks Senator Mike Lee and Senator Rand Paul what legislation they would like to be known for.

We The Interns clip 3 - Senators Rand Paul and Mike Lee discuss opposing viewpoints

Mar 11, 2011

An intern asks Senators Mike Lee and Rand Paul what they think the opposing viewpoints are to their points of view. They are also asked in what ways they agree with President Obama.

We The Interns clip 4 - Senators Mike Lee and Rand Paul discuss Military Spending

Mar 11, 2011

An intern asks Senators Mike Lee and Rand Paul what they think about cutting military spending as part of balancing the budget.