EMERGENCY ECONOMIC STABILIZATION ACT OF 2008 -- (House of Representatives - September 29, 2008)
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Mr. HARE. Madam Speaker, I rise in support of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, and commend Speaker Pelosi, Chairman Frank, and all Members and staff of the House leadership and Financial Services Committee who worked tirelessly, spending untold hours negotiating this bill with their Senate counterparts, the President, Treasury, and the Federal Reserve.
Madam Speaker, we as a nation find ourselves in an alarming financial crisis. But this crisis is bigger than a few failing banks or a stock market in disarray. It's more about family budgets than corporate balance sheets. Americans are losing their homes. Many are concerned about the future of their retirement savings. Some fear they won't have enough money to send their kids to college. The unwise and purely ideological decision to deregulate Wall Street has threatened our very way of life. It is with the best interests of working families in mind that I rise today to support this comprehensive rescue package. It is not a decision I made lightly.
Madam Speaker, the original plan which President Bush proposed to Congress was completely unacceptable. It was nothing more than a $700 billion handout to Wall Street. It gave unregulated authority to one person--the Secretary of the Treasury--to spend 700 billion of taxpayers' hard-earned dollars without any accountability. The President's plan did virtually nothing to prevent more Americans from losing their homes, and provided no return to the taxpayers responsible for funding it. Finally, the Bush Plan did nothing to limit executive compensation--known as golden parachutes--for top executives who made the disastrous decisions that helped lead to this crisis. At a time when we need to more closely regulate Wall Street, the President's package actually rewarded it.
Under the leadership of Chairman Frank, a new bill was crafted to authorize, with strict independent oversight, limited funding to the Treasury to transparently buy the debts of troubled firms. This is not a gift. It is not a blank check. It is a loan. Any financial recovery that results from our action must be shared with the taxpayers. We are loaning these banks money so they can resume lending to ordinary people--families who need help with their homes, cars and college tuition; farmers to continue to buy equipment, seed and fertilizer; and small town banks to deduct losses from investments in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
This bill also gives the government a financial stake in some of these firms, which means not only will taxpayers get their money back, but they will also have the opportunity to turn a profit. Additionally, this bill limits pay for the executives of the firms to which the Treasury loans. Unlike the Bush proposal, it does not reward corporate greed.
Madam Speaker, this bill is certainly not perfect. While it does give the government some ability to protect homeowners facing foreclosure, I feel much more work needs to be done. My family lost its home growing up. It broke our hearts. Congress must continue its efforts to address the housing crisis, a large contributor to our current economic woes.
In the final review of this bill, I believe the good outweighs the bad. It is a necessary step to protect Main Street from Wall Street. I urge all my colleagues to support it.
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