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Public Statements

Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008

Floor Speech

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Location: Washington, DC


EMERGENCY ECONOMIC STABILIZATION ACT OF 2008 -- (House of Representatives - October 03, 2008)

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Ms. ROYBAL-ALLARD. Madam Speaker, I rise in opposition to H.R.1424, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.

There is little debate that there is a real crisis in our financial markets, and I share the sense of urgency felt by my colleagues as we look to bring stability to the financial sector and ensure the availability of credit to all Americans.

I had hoped that when a new bill came to the House, it would be a comprehensive package that would include greater accountability from Wall Street, greater protections for Americans on the verge of losing their homes, and an economic stimulus package that would create jobs to strengthen our economy.

The Senate did include important and beneficial provisions. I strongly support the addition of an increase in the FDIC's insurance cap to $250,000 and favor many of the included tax provisions such as renewable energy and research and development tax credits. In addition, I have consistently advocated for the mental health parity legislation that was the vehicle for this measure.

However, despite these commendable additions, I must remain opposed to the underlying plan of committing $700 billion of taxpayer dollars to an untested plan with an uncertain outcome and inadequate regulations and oversight.

While the bill begins to address the foreclosure crisis, its provisions are far from what many economists believe is needed to have a consequential impact on the American families who are losing their homes. To truly help stop the bleeding, I believe we must get at the root of the problem by including measures such as lifting the ban on loan modifications for primary residences during bankruptcy proceedings. This would enable homeowners to stay in their homes by renegotiating their loans. Preventing foreclosures will protect families, communities, and our economy.

I am also concerned that while the measure creates a congressional oversight panel, the panel lacks teeth and can only make non-binding recommendations. If the taxpayers are expected to stomach a $700 billion bailout, we have to insist on greater oversight authority.

Finally, this bill is simply a temporary bandage if it does not include economic stimulus provisions that will create the jobs needed to strengthen our economy and improve the financial condition of the average American. While the problems on Wall Street have reached a breaking point, ordinary Americans have been feeling the pain of weakness in the economy for a very long time.

If this legislation passes it is simply a stop gap measure. I am heartened by the comments of Chairman Frank who committed to reforming our financial regulatory and oversight system and by Speaker Pelosi promise that we will come back and consider stimulus proposals that will truly help grow our economy and positively impact those who have been hurt by this crisis.

Madam Speaker, while I agree that inaction is not an option, I also believe we can, and must, do better than this legislation. I urge a no vote.

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