Congresswoman Mazie K. Hirono held a press conference this morning, with Rep. Betty Sutton (OH-13), Rep Bruce Braley (IA-01), Rep John Yarmuth (KY-03) and Rep Donna Edwards (MD-04).
Hirono said, "The emergency financial rescue package we will be supporting today, while far from perfect, contains noticeable improvements over the proposal we considered Monday. The biggest difference: the package we're voting on today is more balanced in favor of helping everyday people, middle-class families, and small businesses. The bailout package we considered on Monday was simply too geared toward Wall Street and the corporations whose irresponsible practices helped create this crisis in the first place."
This new rescue package raises the cap on FDIC-insured bank accounts from $100,000 to $250,000 - that's good for families and for small businesses, and begins to restore Americans' confidence that their savings are secure.
"The renewable energy tax credits are critical for encouraging investment in the alternative energy projects Hawaii needs to reduce our dependence on imported oil, " said Hirono. "$800 million in new clean renewable energy bonds is funded in the bill, which can be used by municipal power facilities or by electric cooperatives like the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative."
The new package also provides tax relief for middle-class families and tax incentives designed to create new jobs and economic opportunity in places like Hawaii, which has been hard hit by the economic downturn that preceded this financial crisis.
Hirono said, "I'm disappointed that these added provisions have been criticized and mislabeled as "pork." An Alternative Minimum Tax relief provision would prevent 22 million taxpayers from paying a tax meant for the wealthy. The bill provides over 40,000 people in my District with relief from the Alternative Minimum Tax in 2008 (91,254 total in the State of Hawaii)."
"We voted for these energy, business and middle-class tax relief measures earlier in the House, which will help 30 million homeowners, create 500,000 American green jobs and provide tax relief for well over 25 million middle-class families. Including those tax relief proposals as part of the financial rescue package has made the overall proposal more balanced, and more likely to help everyday people get through these difficult economic times."
Yesterday, Congresswoman spoke to Senator Obama about his perspective on the relief plan. Hirono said, "While encouraging members of both parties to support this latest financial rescue package, he was also very clear that - like me- he believes that further measures that stimulate the economy, invest in infrastructure, and provide middle-class tax cuts need to be enacted, because we need more than this relief plan to get our economy back on track for the long term."
"Congresswoman Mazie Hirono has demonstrated impressive leadership and steadfast resolve in a time of unprecedented economic uncertainty. Her commitment to helping working families, small businesses, and communities in Hawaii and across the nation has been essential to ensuring that Main Street, and not Wall Street, is the focus of the economic recovery strategy. Mazie understands that bipartisanship is crucial to passing this recovery package and has worked tirelessly with Republicans and Democrats to strengthen it. I have assured her that our economic recovery policies will be well-managed and that we will get back every taxpayer dollar that we spend. As President, I will work with Mazie to pass an economic stimulus package, which is one of my top priorities, that makes critical investments in our nation's infrastructure and brings badly-needed jobs to communities across Hawaii and the United States," said Senator Barack Obama.
Hirono said, "Senator Obama assured us that as President he and his Treasury Secretary will focus on foreclosure mitigation to provide direct help to homeowners facing foreclosure. He committed to imposing financial service fees to make taxpayers whole. He will work closely with Congress regarding implementation of the relief plan."