September 30, 2008
By Michael Freeze
Local lawmakers' reactions to Congress' failed economic rescue plan appeared mixed, but all agreed Washington needs to work out an agreement for the best of the country.
U.S. Rep. Ralph Regula, R-Navarre, who backed the bill, said in a statement, that although the nation is in a "very difficult and dangerous situation," something needs to be done to stabilize the financial markets.
"I supported this revised legislation with great reluctance," said Regula, who is retiring from his congressional seat at the end of the year, "in order to protect American families, the taxpayer, the worker, the person with a pension plan, the person who holds savings in a 401(K) retirement account, small business people who need credit to operate their businesses and pay their employees, and homeowners - to stabilize our economy."
The two men who are vying to replace Regula - State Sens. Kirk Schuring, R-Jackson Township, and John Boccieri, D-Alliance, chimed in on the failed House vote as well as the mood in nation's capital.
Schuring, who did not say whether he would have voted for or against the bill, said that its failure demonstrates what is wrong with Congress.
"This is just another example of how Washington is broken," Schuring said. "(Congress) has lost its ability to plan and use common sense to solve problems."
Boccieri said in a prepared statement that Congress made the right move in halting the bailout plan. He said the bill was lacking in a plan to address the mortgage crisis.
"In my judgment, Washington was prepared to commit too much taxpayer money to Wall Street with too few safeguards to prevent this from happening again," he said. "Now it's time for Congress to sit down and hammer out a bill that prioritizes immediate help for homeowners and reform on Wall Street."
Schuring said he was disheartened that lawmakers could not settle on some kind of compromise and would rather go to their partisan corners and point fingers at each other.
"This is a serious issue, he said. "Our stock market is teetering on a downfall. We need Republicans and Democrats to come together to solve the problem, but they decided to come apart."
Boccieri said when Congress returns, it needs to put a quick, sufficient end to this political stalemate.
"We need to act swiftly to keep people in their homes," Boccieri said, "limit excess and greed, put strong new safeguards in place on Wall Street, and find ways to provide short-term financial stability that don't validate or bail out reckless lending behavior."
Schuring said he hopes, until Washington comes to a solution, the nation's grim financial condition will have mercy on those on Main Street.
"I hope and pray that credit markets will remain stable," he said. "And that the stock market will not make a tremendous fall. We'll just have to wait and see. Those who need credit to purchase cars and expand their businesses hopefully won't be adversely affected by this. I pray that people who have retirement plans aren't adversely affected by this."