This was a very difficult vote for the House. I voted against the bill because it did not go far enough to protect taxpayers and assist homeowners to stay in thier homes. Clearly, we have to get back to work to come up with legislation that will avert a credit freeze, stabilize the financial markets, and more directly help homeowners facing foreclosure, which is the underlying problem.
Secretary Paulson has acknowledged that federal regulators have a tool kit that they can employ, and I ask that they do so to the fullest extent possible, because this crisis was brought on by inadequate regulatory oversight or no oversight at all over these complicated mortgage-backed securities. We need to fast track regulatory reform to prevent this kind of crisis from recurring.
Before this financial situation hit crisis proportions, our economy was already experiencing a slowdown due to the price of oil, the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs in the last eight months, and incomes not keeping pace with rising costs. Hawaii's economy has been hit hard with rising food and fuel costs, rising unemployment, a downturn in tourism, and a growing budget deficit.
We need to focus on growing our economy and creating jobs in Hawaii. Last week, the House passed a second economic stimulus package that spurs investment in our infrastructure and provides immediate relief to struggling families by extending unemployment benefits, supporting job training efforts, and providing Medicaid and food assistance. Hawaii would get $222 million of these stimulus funds to create jobs and help our struggling families. The Senate needs to pass this stimulus package along with a measure that extends renewable energy tax incentives, and the President must sign these bills into law. These are measures that will provide immediate assistance to our families and businesses.
It is important that Congress come up with a strategy to not only address the crisis in financial markets, but to keep families in their homes and invest in our economy, especially in green technology job creation.