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Public Statements

Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC


HOUSING AND ECONOMIC RECOVERY ACT OF 2008 -- (House of Representatives - July 23, 2008)

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Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, we do have a crisis. Action does need to take place. This isn't the solution. This does not address the root cause of why we are in this problem. These companies, which are for-profit companies, have abused their trust of the American taxpayer, and we are not adjusting this.

If we're going to do this, then let's make darn sure we're not putting taxpayers at risk in the future. This makes it worse. This bill says you can continue to go on and make your profits and we'll still bail you out down the road. This bill says you can continue having these big multimillion-dollar bonuses for your executives and go make all of this money, and if you fail, we'll get you.

What this bill says, what Congress is saying today, is if you're big enough, if you're politically corrected enough, then we will privatize your profits and we will socialize your risk. The taxpayer will bail you out.

Mr. Speaker, as a representative of taxpayers, not shareholders, we should reform these institutions so we do have a liquid mortgage market, so we do securitize the secondary mortgage market, so people can get affordable homes. But let's do it so we don't have costly taxpayer bailouts.

This whole issue is about to put more than a trillion dollars of debt on to our books. And yet we're going to let them continue to leverage themselves and kick this can down the road. We should be more responsible with taxpayer dollars. We should address this crisis, reform these institutions, so that we're not down this path 5 years from now.

When I first came to Congress 10 years ago, I criticized these organizations. And everybody told me, you're wrong, they pose no risk. Well, here we are today. I just wonder where are we going to be in 4 years, in 5 years, with the passage of this bill? We're saying, let them continue doing what they're doing. We're going to give them explicit lines of credit from the Treasury. We're going to even buy their stock, and maybe hopefully, maybe just sort of, we'll have a regulator that will contain these institutions.

That is not responsible. We should reform these institutions now, either privatize them or publicize them, bring them into the government and make them government agencies, because, after all, the taxpayer is going to be left holding the books on this bailout. Mark my words.

We've got to fix this. This is irresponsible. This is not the right way to do it. What we ought to do is go back to the drawing board and make sure that this costly bailout isn't magnified down the road.

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