Thank you for contacting me regarding the financial rescue legislation (H.R.1424). I appreciate hearing from you on this critical issue.
The fundamentals of our economy have been shaken, and Americans are deeply concerned. When Secretary Paulson and Chairman Bernanke placed an urgent phone call a few weeks ago to Congress to say we needed emergency action to prevent a major financial meltdown, I expected they would come forward with a plan that was targeted and reasonable, with appropriate oversight and taxpayer protections.
Unfortunately, what they brought us was a $700 billion blank check, which they asked us to sign with no questions asked. This plan contained no oversight, no taxpayer equity, and no control over CEO pay. I strongly opposed this proposal - and thanks to your phone calls, e-mails, and letters, Congress stopped it in its tracks.
The Senate made major improvements designed to strengthen our economy and protect our taxpayers. Instead of a blank check, the Senate plan included significant Congressional oversight, equity for taxpayers, curbs on executive compensation, an increase in FDIC insurance protection for bank depositors, middle-class tax relief, and job-creating tax incentives for renewable energy. The bill passed the Senate by an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 74-25 and the House by a vote of 263-171.
These were very important changes. But let me be honest: There were still aspects of this package that I didn't like. I preferred the government acquiring more equity instead of toxic assets. I wanted the package to be put forward in smaller installments and to include more checks and balances to make sure it would work.
For me, the deciding factor in my Yes vote was information I received from the State of California. I was told by the Treasurer's office that without access to credit, which is the goal of this legislation, California wouldn't be able to sell voter-approved highway, school, and water bonds that are desperately needed for our economy and the creation of good-paying new jobs. In addition, I was told by the Governor's office, that without action, our state might be forced to withhold funds for law enforcement, schools, and other needed services. This would bring our state to its knees and many middle-class families would be in deep trouble. Small businesses are beginning to tell me they cannot get lines of credit to meet payroll, as well.
Rest assured, I will continue to speak out forcefully about the failures that led us to this place and keep working with my colleagues to strengthen confidence in our markets, protect the American taxpayers, and enact regulatory reform to ensure that we don't end up in this mess again.
Again, thank you for writing to me about this very important matter. Even though you may feel frustrated with the outcome of the legislation that passed, your voice absolutely resulted in the enactment of a better bill. Feel free to contact me again about any issue of importance to you.
United States Senator
Saturday, October 04, 2008
Palinism Is Contagious
Senator Boxer "replies":