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Public Statements

Wall Street Reform And Consumer Protection Act Of 2009

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. WATT. Madam Chair, I have endured the entire debate this evening, which is now approaching 3 hours, and I've been absolutely fascinated by it. Before I came to the body, I practiced law for 22 years. I've now been in this body 17 years. When I was practicing law, quite often, I had cases in which the facts and the law were on my side, and I would go to court, and I would argue the facts and the law and deal with what was before us.

Sometimes I would have some cases where neither the facts nor the law were on my side. And I would show up in court, and I would argue everything other than what the case was about. Now, that's what my friends on the opposite side of the aisle have been doing tonight, because neither the facts nor the law is on their side this time.

So we've heard about health care. I've been making notes. I was here the whole time. We've heard about socialism. We've heard about supply and demand. We've heard about energy and electricity rates. We've heard that the government intervention caused the economic meltdown, that the Fed ratcheted up the panic and that other government agencies contributed to the panic, and that's how we got into this economic mess.

We've heard almost every speaker talk about the size of the bill. We've heard something about cockroaches. I have no idea what that has to do with this bill. We've heard a lot about czars. We've heard about the 2003 and 2007 Fannie and Freddie purchase of subprime loans, and made it sound like somehow that was our fault rather than your President who was out there pushing home ownership when we were trying to get him to push to provide decent housing for people.

We've heard about credit czars, and we've had our colleagues just pull figures out of the sky. I have no idea where they came from. This bill is going to increase interest rates by a point and a half. I don't know how anybody would ever be able to know that. It's going to decrease jobs by 5 percent. I don't know where that figure came from. It's going to break up Dell. My goodness. I didn't know Dell was a financial entity at all. It's in the computer business, it's not in the financial services business. And we've heard our friends say that they don't want taxpayer bailouts, but they also don't want us to set up a fund that's paid for by the industry to take care of the dissolution of these failing companies.

So what's the solution here? I don't know what their solution is, to be honest with you. The truth of the matter is the private market failed, and we had an economic meltdown. And I think we need some reasonable regulation, which is what this bill does.

We need somebody who is going to show up at work every single morning saying, my primary obligation is to at least think about what is in the interests of consumers. And that's what the consumer financial protection agency's charge and responsibility will be.

And that is what this bill does.

We need to do something about all these predatory loans that were made that are now being foreclosed and have gotten us into the financial mess that we are in, and that's what this bill does. We need to make the derivatives market more transparent and put them on a platform so that the whole world can see what's going on back there in the derivative room, and that's what this bill does.

Now, what do you all want to talk about? You can talk about health care or energy or electricity or cockroaches or whatever you want to talk about. We want to fix this economic system in our financial services industry. That's what this bill does. It is long, it is complex, it is a complex undertaking. Our Chair has done it admirably; he has led this.

What is your proposal? That we just do nothing and let the market take care of itself?

That is not an option, my friend. That is not an option, my friends. That time has passed for a while.

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE ACTING CHAIR

The Acting CHAIR. Members are reminded to direct their remarks to the Chair.

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