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Public Statements

Housing And Economic Recovery Act Of 2008

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. ROSKAM. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, listening to the debate, I appreciate the tone and even the urgency with which Congress is wrestling with this, and there is no question as you look into this bill there are some good elements to it. But there are some substantive reforms to GSEs that I think we can all come around. There are some elements that are very distasteful, from my point of view, and they have been articulated well. And as the chairman has said, there is even a time to put aside some of that and to all come together.

But there is, in my opinion, Mr. Speaker, an element to this bill that isn't just slightly distasteful but it's a deal breaker. And that's the blank check within this bill. When the Secretary of the Treasury came in and briefed a number of us, he said that they wanted this authority to move forward, an unprecedented amount of authority, and then almost in the next breath--I don't want to overly characterize what he said--but almost in the next breath he said, ``But don't worry. We'll never use it.''

Well, I think that should give us all a reason to pause. The notion of giving a blank check to anyone for any circumstance is an idea that I think is a deal breaker, and we will rue the day that we gave that kind of authority away. I find it ironic that the other side of the aisle that has pounded on this President for the past 7 years as being an almost imperial President is willing to yield this type of authority to him and literally give him or anyone a blank check.

My predecessor, Henry Hyde, urged a great deal of caution at what he characterized as the greased chute of government. And this is the greased chute of government moving very, very quickly.

I urge us to pause. I urge us not to give a blank check to anyone. We can do much better than this.


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