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Mrs. BIGGERT. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to this conference report and the bill.
In the fall of 2008, our entire financial system and economy were on the verge of collapse. The $750 billion TARP program was hastily proposed. I, for one, would never have backed it were it not for the taxpayer protections--a promise that the taxpayers would be repaid.
This bill flat out breaks that promise to taxpayers. It siphons away unspent money from the TARP program. Instead of returning it to the taxpayers or instead of paying down our $13 trillion debt as promised, it uses the money to pay for new Federal spending.
Contrary to my colleagues' rhetoric, this bill makes bailouts permanent. Look at section 210N(5) and section 210N(6). These provisions authorize bureaucrats to bail out the six largest too-big-to-fail Wall Street firms to the tune of $8 trillion. What you have is taxpayers footing the bill to pay for failed Wall Street firms. That is a bailout.
My colleagues on the other side of the aisle claim that this bill requires that taxpayers be paid back. Yet how in heaven's name can taxpayers believe that when this very bill breaks the earlier promise that taxpayers would be paid back for TARP?
This bill also fails to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two mortgage giants at the center of the housing crisis. Taxpayers have bailed Fannie and Freddie out to the tune of $150 billion and billions more to come, but this bill doesn't reform them. It merely calls for a study, and it fails to include as part of our Federal budget the trillions in liabilities taxpayers now face because the Federal Government owns and operates both Fannie and Freddie.
Finally, let's not forget our hidden costs in this bill. Our Midwest manufacturers had nothing to do with the housing crisis or with the financial meltdown. Yet this bill requires them to divert trillions of dollars of working capital to pay for financial transactions, which may stifle job growth and raise the cost of commodities for American families.
What is the cost to small businesses? It is job growth. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, it is taxpayers, small businesses and consumers as they pick up the tab for new Federal bureaucrats, 355 new rules, 47 studies, and 74 reports.
In the name of financial reform, we must not stifle job creation by saddling our small businesses and manufacturers with additional burdens. We need to get financial reform right so that innovators and entrepreneurs can secure credit and can expand and create desperately needed jobs. We need to get reform right, but this bill doesn't pass the test.
I urge my colleagues to oppose this conference report and bill.
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