Statement by Senator Mark Pryor Addressing the Financial Crisis
Corporate greed has undercut the health of our economy, and now each one of us is being asked to pay for it. If it were just CEOs and other high-level decision makers on Wall Street who would go down for their greed, I would oppose this incredibly expensive package. I have had multiple candid conversations with individuals such as Treasury Secretary Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke. While the Bush Administration's track record for telling the truth is questionable at best, the risk of doing nothing is too high for Arkansas' citizens, businesses, and farmers. Retirement savings, student loans, and credit cards could dry up in a matter of weeks. Arkansans will not be able to mortgage a home, finance a car, or purchase farm equipment. I believe we could also see jobs lost and wages plummet as businesses lose their access to credit and must cut back.
We have incorporated several important safeguards to protect the American taxpayer. First, CEO's receiving financial assistance will not walk away from this train wreck with a hefty severance or bonus check in hand. Second, an independent oversight board will prevent conflicts of interest, provide more transparency and ensure proper implementation of the plan. Third, taxpayers will share in the rewards, not just the risk. Part of this plan includes essential help for struggling homeowners who face foreclosure. This step not only keeps families in their homes, but it reduces the risk taxpayers are taking with this investment.
We need to enact this plan immediately, but our work does not end here. The Department of Justice must be vigilant in their probe on potential misconduct by companies at the heart of our financial turmoil. Individuals who broke the law must go to jail. Additionally, I plan to continue working with my colleagues to fix the system and prevent a repeat failure.