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Public Statements

Corporate and Financial Institution Compensation Fairness Act of 2009

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


CORPORATE AND FINANCIAL INSTITUTION COMPENSATION FAIRNESS ACT OF 2009 -- (House of Representatives - July 31, 2009)

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Mr. WATT. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of the time.

Mr. Speaker, the fact that we are here today debating this bill with such vociferous opposition, to me, is a commentary on how out of whack our whole system has become.

First of all, this bill is a modest bill which gives shareholders the right to make advisory votes, take advisory votes on compensation. Who are these shareholders? They're the owners of the company. They're the owners of the company, and somehow, the opponents of this bill are trying to convince the public that the owners of a company shouldn't have the right to express their opinion to the board about compensation of the officers of that company.

And the bill specifically says, and I'm reading from the bill, The shareholder vote shall not be binding on the board of directors and shall not be construed as overruling a decision of the board. We're just giving them the explicit right to advise the board about compensation.

One gentleman has said that this applies to manufacturers. It doesn't apply to manufacturers. Section 4 doesn't apply to manufacturers. And even if it did, it would apply only to the extent that they could threaten the safety and soundness of a financial institution--manufacturers are not financial institutions--and only to the extent that they could cause serious adverse effects on economic conditions or financial stability. And that, I would submit, is an appropriate Federal Government role to play, to make sure that we don't get back into the kind of meltdown that we are experiencing and have been experiencing as a result of greed and irresponsibility in the private sector.

This is not the government taking over the corporate sector, either in the financial sector or any other sector of our economy. It is a statement by the American people that it's time for us to straighten up the ship. We should pass this bill today and move on.

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