U.S. Representative John E. Peterson, R-Pleasantville, issued the following statement after voting in support of legislation that extends the Secure Rural Schools program for an additional four years and gives the Department of the Treasury authority to purchase toxic mortgage backed securities that continue to strain the financial and credit markets, in an effort to stabilize the economy:
"As I stated earlier this week and I will say again today, this was one of the toughest votes of my legislative career. The legislation that I supported today, and was adopted by the House of Representatives, is not perfect and by no means will solve the financial crisis over night.
"However, the rescue package will inject much needed capital into the economy, allowing consumers to regain confidence in the market and eventually rebound from the disastrous effects of the subprime mortgage meltdown.
"The option of doing nothing would cause citizens of the Fifth Congressional District to pay the heaviest price. When credit markets are frozen, as they are today, small businesses don't have the ability to access credit to make their payroll and expand their business. College students suffer, homeowners suffer, and hard working American's savings and retirement are in jeopardy.
"While there are provisions in this legislation that I wholeheartedly disagree with, and would not have supported had they have come up under normal circumstances, this legislation does include safeguards for the taxpayer. It increases the limit on federally insured deposits from $100,000 to $250,000, holds Wall Street accountable for any potential loses, and curbs excessive executive compensation.
"Also included in this legislation are much needed tax extensions on renewable energy development for wind, solar, and geothermal - which are necessary to achieve energy independence. While the housing market is largely to blame for the downward spiral in the economy, energy prices have also played a significant role.
"The Secure Rural Schools Program, which provides critical funding for school districts in counties surrounding the Alleghany National Forest and many western states where, the federal government owns a large amount of land, was reauthorized for an additional four years at $3.3 billion. This is a huge victory for rural America, which is being overlooked.
"With the unemployment rate rising, home heating costs doubling, and the housing market under distress, voting to support this legislation may not be popular with many of my constituents, but it was the right thing to do in an effort to salvage our way of life, and get our economy back on track."