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House OK's Financial Legislation

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

The House and Senate have passed the "Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008," Congressman Jim Saxton (NJ-3rd) said today, providing authority to Treasury Secretary to restore liquidity and stability to the U.S. financial system and to ensure the economic well-being of Americans.

Saxton, the Ranking Member of the Joint Economic Committee of the House and Senate, voted for the House-Senate compromise on "The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008," which passed 263-171 in the House.

"The initial plan concerned me very much, and I have been hearing a lot of concerns from my constituents," said Saxton. "The compromise bill isn't perfect, but it's a significant improvement. There are better protections for retirement savings, small community banks and taxpayer's money. Actions must be taken by Congress and the U.S. Treasury Department to get us through this economic emergency. This a bipartisan compromise that takes immediate actions."

The legislation authorizes the Secretary to establish a Troubled Asset Relief Program ("TARP") to purchase troubled assets from financial institutions, and establishes an Office of Financial Stability to implement the TARP in consultation with the Federal Reserve, the FDIC, the Comptroller of the Currency, the Office of Thrift Supervision and the HUD Secretary.

The bill provides Secretary with immediate authority to manage troubled assets, including the ability to determine the terms and conditions associated with later sale. For mortgages and mortgage-backed securities acquired through TARP, the Secretary must implement a plan to mitigate foreclosures and to encourage servicers of mortgages to modify loans through existing federal programs, and use loan guarantees and credit enhancement to avoid foreclosures.

The Act also offers assistance to homeowners by requiring federal entities that hold mortgages and mortgage-backed securities, including the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the FDIC, and Federal Reserve, to develop plans to minimize foreclosures. Congress also requires the Treasury Secretary to issue monthly reports to Congress its activities under TARP, including detailed financial statements.

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