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Public Statements

Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act of 2009

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

FRAUD ENFORCEMENT AND RECOVERY ACT OF 2009 -- (House of Representatives - May 06, 2009)


Mr. LARSON of Connecticut. I want to start by thanking Speaker Pelosi, Congressman Frank, and Senator Dodd for their tireless work on this effort, as well as Congressman Conyers, and also thank and point out the work of Congressman Issa and his staff in working in conjunction on this.

The American people have been demanding answers about the collapse of our financial system. Today, this House votes on legislation to finally get to those answers. Shortly after our financial system began to show signs of collapse back in September, like many Members here, I went home to my district. I stopped by Augie and Ray's, which for me is where it begins and ends in my hometown in East Hartford. People simply have one question: How did this happen?

The questions I heard were no doubt similar to what my colleagues heard all across this Nation. Unfortunately, the answer is not so simple. Most Americans do not know what a credit default swap is, what derivatives are, or what naked short selling is all about. I could go on.

But they do know that their savings are dwindling. They have lost their jobs, their homes, and in many cases their health care as well. And they rightly want and demand an explanation as to why. I knew then that we needed a commission to provide answers and a narrative for the American people, and one, frankly, for the Congress as we move ahead with commonsense reforms to make sure this doesn't happen again.

Our economy has suffered through the bursting of three major economic bubbles: the savings and loan debacle of the 1980s, the bubble of the 1990s, and now the real estate bubble. It is time we learned something from these crises.

Our Nation faced a similar challenge after the stock market crash of 1929. Congress formed a panel, the Pecora Commission, that uncovered the fraudulent and unscrupulous activities that brought about the Great Depression and laid the groundwork for the regulation that has served this Nation for decades.

It is time in this century for a new commission to help develop the framework of a modern regulatory structure for the 21st-century global economy.

Americans have lost their homes, their jobs, their life savings. We owe them not only an explanation of how this happened, but a path forward that corrects the circumstances that created the crisis.

We have got to do this by looking back not just conveniently over the last 8 years, but at the last 28 years. And as Pecora said, ``We must shed the fierce light of public scrutiny'' on the dark markets, on the schemes and negligence, and the unintended consequences that have been perpetrated on our financial system. Why? So we can build a regulatory framework for this century that protects the American worker and that protects the American investor.

Mr. ISSA. Mr. Speaker, as I recognize the former chairman of the full Committee on the Judiciary, I would like to thank the gentleman from Connecticut for his bipartisan work on coming to an agreement between our two bills that I believe led to the suspension today on the Senate bill.

With that, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Sensenbrenner).


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