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Ferguson Statement On the Economic Rescue Plan

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

"Throughout my service in Congress, I have always worked to defend New Jersey's hard-working families and their hard-earned tax dollars. I've also generally opposed government involvement in our free-market system. Yet today our nation's financial system faces a crisis of historic proportions.

"I voted in the House for the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act because I believed that failure to respond would be nothing short of economic catastrophe. Failure to act could lead to a freeze on credit that could ultimately hurt those on Main Street - families, small businesses and every American who tried to purchase a home, refinance a mortgage, buy or lease a car, take out a student loan or seek access to capital to expand a small business.

"I'm deeply disappointed by the outcome of the House vote - mostly because we were so close to passage of this important legislation. In the last several days, we saw both earnest and honest negotiations between Republicans and Democrats, and lawmakers on both ends of the political spectrum came together to put America's interest first. Unfortunately, that was not enough.

"The cause of the overall financial problem goes back years and is rooted in excess and greed - banks extending credit to consumers who lacked the financial ability meet their obligations, particularly when housing prices fell; consumers who bought houses they couldn't afford but rolled the dice that housing prices would rise before their adjustable rate mortgages reset with higher interest rates; and traders who purchased mortgage-backed securities knowing the risks they posed.

"The last two administrations, lawmakers and government regulators also bear responsibility. While some officials raised concerns about the lack of accountability and too-easy credit dished out by housing giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, others poured gasoline on the smoldering fire. Many lawmakers and ‘housing advocacy groups' routinely opposed tighter federal regulations on Fannie and Freddie, and pushed banks to extend mortgages to consumers who did not have the credit history or income to meet the obligation.

"Much will be written and discussed about how we got here - and should be - but today we have to act for the future, for our economy, for our families and for our job-creating small businesses. And that's why I support this legislation.

"While the Bush Administration and congressional Democrats called on the House and Senate to act quickly, I'm pleased that House Republicans made both considerable improvements to the bill by adding key provisions to protect America's taxpayers and forcing Wall Street to share the burden, and removed detrimental provisions, including Democrat efforts to direct 20 percent of the revenues from the program into a slush fund for their political allies.

"My profound concern now, however, is that these reasonable reforms and safeguards will be jettisoned from a second bill - and that a second bill may be far worse for taxpayers and our economy."

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