U.S. Representative Tom Allen issued the following statement on the vote taken today by the House of Representatives on the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act.
"The House took necessary action today to address the decline of our financial markets and economy. The jobs report released this morning underscores that our economy is in one of the worst downward spirals in our nation's history. In September alone, 159,000 jobs were lost. That is more than twice as many in July or August and the most significant reduction in the workforce in five years.
"Individuals and families in Maine and across America continue to watch their retirement savings and investments decline. Their ability to obtain loans to buy a house or a car or to send their kids to college may soon disappear or become too expensive. Small businesses can't borrow funds to stock their inventories and meet payrolls, and their customers can't get credit to purchase their products and services. The State of Maine is having difficulty raising $50 million to pay for necessary road repairs, some of which are already underway. Action to stabilize our faltering economy is essential.
"I share Mainers' anger that this bill is necessary at all. Years of lax regulation and lack of oversight allowed this situation to develop. We must change the way that Wall Street has been operating so that Main Street can prosper once again. This bill is just the first step in rebuilding our economy. Congress must continue to evaluate and modernize financial regulations to ensure that a similar situation will not reoccur.
"The plan the House passed today was not perfect, but it was a vast improvement over the blank check President Bush offered. It ensures strong oversight of the financial markets, requires repayment to taxpayers if and when securities recover their value, eliminates golden parachutes for executives, and provides opportunities for struggling homeowners to avoid foreclosure and remain in their homes, protecting local property values and communities.
"Unfortunately, the Senate attached additional provisions to this bill that should have been considered on their own merits. I support and have recently voted for measures to provide alternative minimum tax relief to 25 million middle class families and expand incentives for renewable energy production. However, it was inappropriate for the Senate to add these provisions and other tax breaks targeted to niche industries to this bill. The Senate did not provide sufficient offsets for these measures, increasing the deficit even further. Our national debt has skyrocketed over the past eight years, contributing to the situation we are in today, and it is time to reverse that trend. I am disappointed that these provisions were attached to this bill.
"I believe that Congress acted today in the best manner possible to protect Mainers and all Americans from further financial deterioration. I am proud to have worked with members of Congress from both parties to build consensus and pass this critically important legislation."