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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Reaction on the bailout from around the Senate

Here are excerpts of some of the statements made by Democratic Senators on the bailout this evening.

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who voted no:
"This bill does not effectively address the issue of what the taxpayers of our country will actually own after they invest hundreds of billions of dollars in toxic assets. This bill does not effectively address the issue of oversight because the oversight board members have all been hand picked by the Bush administration. This bill does not effectively deal with the issue of foreclosures and addressing that very serious issue, which is impacting millions of low- and moderate-income Americans in the aggressive, effective way that we should be. This bill does not effectively deal with the issue of executive compensation and golden parachutes. Under this bill, the CEOs and the Wall Street insiders will still, with a little bit of imagination, continue to make out like bandits.

"This bill does not deal at all with how we got into this crisis in the first place and the need to undo the deregulatory fervor which created trillions of dollars in complicated and unregulated financial instruments such as credit default swaps and hedge funds. This bill does not address the issue that has taken us to where we are today, the concept of too big to fail. In fact, within the last several weeks we have sat idly by and watched gigantic financial institutions like the Bank of America swallow up other gigantic financial institutions like Countrywide and Merrill Lynch. Well, who is going to bail out the Bank of America if it begins to fail? There is not one word about the issue of too big to fail in this legislation at a time when that problem is in fact becoming even more serious.

"This bill does not deal with the absurdity of having the fox guarding the hen house. Maybe I'm the only person in America who thinks so, but I have a hard time understanding why we are giving $700 billion to the Secretary of the Treasury, the former CEO of Goldman Sachs, who along with other financial institutions, actually got us into this problem. Now, maybe I'm the only person in America who thinks that's a little bit weird, but that is what I think.
Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) who voted yes on the bill:
Failure to act would make today’s economic cloud even bigger, and more dangerous.

Failure to act could unleash the lightning bolts of recession and a downpour of unemployment.

Failure to act could turn this cloud into a storm that tears through our entire economy.
The plan in front of us is not perfect. I wish that we did not need it. I know that many Americans do not want it.

But this is the best way to quickly disperse this economic cloud and guard against a bigger storm. Like it or not, we must have a plan big enough to counter our economic woes in a systematic, comprehensive way.

I will vote for this legislation because America is under a cloud — and we cannot linger here. Congress must make sure that this crisis does not get worse.
Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) who voted no:
“In 2004, Congress rushed through the process of authorizing the Iraq war, failed to verify the answers to the questions it received from the Bush administration, and five years later we have spent over $600 billion on the war in Iraq.

“Now, in 2008, we have been rushed into voting on a package that would spend $700 billion in a far shorter period of time to address the credit crisis that threatens our markets. In my judgment, the bill we are considering tonight leaves far too many questions unanswered, and misses the mark in addressing both the causes and potential cures for the current crisis.

“First, the bailout package provides help to large institutional investors who took foolish risks. Rather than extending assistance to get credit flowing at appropriate levels again to shore up confidence in our markets, it is likely that much of this money will go to those who don’t deserve a taxpayer bailout for their miscalculations. Wealthy investors, who ought to know better, shouldn’t be allowed to gamble with taxpayer money.

“Second, the Senate in this package is still failing to address any of the regulatory lapses that created an environment ripe for greed-driven abuses. There should, at a minimum, be a commitment to votes on reigning in the worst abuses that led to this crisis.

“And third, there is not one bit of assistance in this package for homeowners struggling to make ends meet. My constituents don’t understand that, and neither do I.
Senator Joe Lieberman (Party of One) who "voted for and strongly supported" the bailout:
“This evening, the Senate took a meaningful step toward reversing the current economic crisis while protecting the interests of American taxpayers,” said Lieberman. “Restoring confidence in our financial system is critical to all Americans. Workers rely on the markets for their retirement security, and for the financing of their homes, their cars, and their children’s college tuition. Small and large businesses rely on the credit markets to keep their companies running and their employees paid. The Senate’s bipartisan vote sends a clear signal that the time has come to set aside partisanship and act in the nation’s interest by sending this critical legislation to the President as soon as possible.”
And finally, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton who seemed to be waving the white flag as she voted yes on the bailout:
“Tonight we will vote on legislation none of us wish we were considering and none of us can afford to see fail. The costs of inaction are far too great. We are already seeing the consequences of a freezing credit market that will only worsen,” Senator Clinton said. “We failed to tackle a home mortgage crisis, and now we are facing a market crisis. If we fail to tackle the market crisis, we risk an even deeper economic crisis. I don’t think any of us want to see irresponsibility on Wall Street compounded by ineffectiveness in Washington. That’s why we must act, even as we do so with regret and reservations, because we have little choice.”


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