Al Franken on Corporations
DFL Jr Senator (MN)
After a failed attempt to block the Comcast-NBC-Universal merger, Franken has emerged as the leading congressional opponent of Comcast's $45 billion bid to take over Time-Warner Cable, a merger that would unite the nation's two biggest cable companies. He was the only lawmaker to explicitly say he wanted the merger blocked.
"We've got the biggest cable provider and biggest Internet provider, in Comcast, buying the 2nd-biggest cable provider and 3rd-largest Internet provider, and I'm very worried that will create a company that's too big," Franken said. "They're going to use their position to leverage higher cable prices and to dictate a lot of things that will make for fewer choices, and their service will be even worse."
The ad criticizes Franken for calling on the IRS to impose new rules that could limit certain political activity by "social welfare" non-profit groups. The ad features clips of a Civil Rights-era march, Suffragettes and an antiwar protest. It derides efforts by the IRS and Senate Democrats to impose new rules on these nonprofits, citing complaints by the ACLU. "Tell Sen. Franken to stop attacking free speech," the narrator says.
"This is ridiculous--Sen. Franken is one of the most vigorous defenders of free speech in the Senate," said a Franken spokeswoman. But the homepage of Franken's campaign website asks people to sign a petition endorsing a constitutional amendment that would upend the 2010 Supreme Court ruling that gave corporations more leeway to influence elections.
In early May, Franken put forth his proposal, dubbed the "Restore Integrity to Credit Ratings Amendment", and was, as well, greeted with bipartisan support. The amendment called for, among other things, every asset-backed bond issue to be rated by a government-created board, rather than having the bank choose the agency itself. On May 13, Franken's proposal passed the Senate 64-35.
Supporter's Comments: (by CUNA, a pro-credit union organization)
America's small businesses are the engine of growth of our nation's economy. The effects of the financial crisis of the past few years have spread to all types of lending, resulting in a reduction in the availability of business credit. At a time when banks are withdrawing credit from America's small businesses, credit unions have actually been expanding credit to small businesses, but with more credit unions approaching the cap, this growth is threatened. Congress should enact legislation which increases the credit union member business lending cap from 12.25% of assets to 27.5% for well-capitalized credit unions
Opponent's Comments: (by the Independent Community Banks of America, Nov. 15, 2012)
The tax-subsidized credit union industry is pressing for doubling the statutory cap Congress placed on member business loans. Shifting assets from tax-paying banks to tax-exempt credit unions would reduce tax revenue to the government; the CBO estimates the revenue impact at $354 million over 10 years. We believe that banks are currently meeting the needs of credit-worthy businesses, as substantiated by numerous business surveys.
The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) is North America's Neighborhood Union--1.3 million members with UFCW locals in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Canada. Our members work in supermarkets, drug stores, retail stores, meatpacking and meat processing plants, food processing plants, and manufacturing workers who make everything from fertilizer to shoes. We number over 60,000 strong with 25,000 workers in chemical production and 20,000 who work in garment and textile industries.
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