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Leaders Voice Support Before Vote

POSTED: September 30, 2008, 12:00 am

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President Bush’s Statement on Bailout Proposal

Good morning. Yesterday, leaders here in Washington reached an extraordinary agreement to deal with an extraordinary problem in our economy. Working closely with my administration, congressional leaders from both parties produced the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act -- a bold bill that will help keep the crisis in our financial system from spreading throughout our economy.

This legislation deals with complex issues, and negotiators were asked to address them in a very short period of time. I appreciate the leadership of members on both sides of the aisle, who came together when our nation was counting on them. Negotiations are sometimes difficult, but their hard work and cooperation paid off.

The bipartisan economic rescue plan addresses the root cause of the financial crisis -- the assets related to home mortgages that have lost value during the housing decline. Under the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, the federal government will be authorized to purchase these assets from banks and other financial institutions, which will help free them to resume lending to businesses and consumers.

The bill also includes other important ideas put forward by members of Congress from both parties. For example, the bill requires the establishment of a guarantee program that will insure assets at no cost to the taxpayer. The bill provides strong, bipartisan oversight so Americans can be certain that their tax dollars are used carefully and wisely. The bill ensures that failed executives do not receive a windfall from your tax dollars.

With this strong and decisive legislation, we will help restart the flow of credit, so American families can meet their daily needs and American businesses can make purchases, ship goods, and meet their payrolls. We'll make clear that the United States is serious about restoring confidence and stability in our financial system.

I know many Americans are worried about the cost of the bill, and I understand their concern. This bill commits up to 700 billion taxpayer dollars, because a large amount of money is necessary to have an impact on our financial system. However, both the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office and the Office of Management and Budget expect that the ultimate cost to the taxpayer will be far less than that. In fact, we expect that over time, much -- if not all -- of the tax dollars we invest will be paid back.
Now that this legislation has been agreed to by leaders of both parties, it must be passed by houses -- both houses of Congress. And I fully understand that this will be a difficult vote. But with the improvements made to this bill, I'm confident that members of both parties will support it. Congress can send a strong signal to markets at home and abroad by passing this bill promptly. Every member of Congress and every American should keep in mind: A vote for this bill is a vote to prevent economic damage to you and your community.

This has been a volatile time for our financial system and our economy. Even with the important steps we're taking to address the current crisis, we will continue to face serious challenges. The impact of the credit crisis and the housing correction will continue to pressure our financial system and impact the growth of our economy for some time. But I'm confident that this rescue plan -- along with other measures taken by the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve -- will begin to restore strength and stability to America's financial system and overall economy. And I'm confident that in the long run, America will overcome these challenges and remain the most dynamic and productive economy in the world.

Thank you.

Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson’s Statement on Bailout Proposal

I thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for their hard work over a very short time period to craft strong legislation that will enable us to strengthen our financial markets and promote the flow of credit to businesses and consumers that is so vital to our economic growth and prosperity. This bill provides the necessary tools to deploy up to $700 billion to address the urgent needs in our financial system, whether that be by purchasing troubled assets broadly, insuring troubled assets, or averting the potential systemic risk from the disorderly failure of a large financial institution. I am confident this legislation gives us the flexibility to unclog our financial markets and increase the ability of our financial institutions to deliver the credit that will help create jobs. We are taking the steps needed to be ready to begin implementing this legislation as soon as it is signed.

Members on both sides were focused on the right things – creating an effective program that can be implemented quickly and effectively, and doing everything possible to protect the taxpayers.

Quick, effective and bipartisan action sends a signal to investors large and small, here and abroad, that we are committed to taking the necessary actions to protect our financial system and our economy. The American people will recognize the leadership you have all shown to protect them – to preserve their access to credit, and preserve jobs.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Floor Statement on Bailout Proposal

“Madam Speaker, when was the last time someone asked you for $700 billion?

“It is a number that is staggering, but tells us only the costs of the Bush Administration’s failed economic policies—policies built on budgetary recklessness, on an anything goes mentality, with no regulation, no supervision, and no discipline in the system.

“Democrats believe in the free market, which can and does create jobs, wealth, and capital, but left to its own devices it has created chaos.

“That chaos is the dismal picture painted by Treasury Secretary Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke a week and a half ago in the Capitol. As they pointed out, we confront a crisis of historic magnitude that has the ability to do serious injury not simply to our economy, but to the American people: not just to Wall Street, but to everyday Americans on Main Street.

“It is our responsibility today, to help avert that catastrophic outcome.

“Let us be clear: This is a crisis caused on Wall Street. But it is a crisis that reaches to Main Street in every city and town of the United States.

“It is a crisis that freezes credit, causes families to lose their homes, cripples small businesses, and makes it harder to find jobs.

“It is a crisis that never had to happen. It is now the duty of every Member of this body to recognize that the failure to act responsibly, with full protections for the American taxpayer, would compound the damage already done to the financial security of millions of American families.

“Over the past several days, we have worked with our Republican colleagues to fashion an alternative to the original plan of the Bush Administration.

“I must recognize the outstanding leadership provided by Chairman Barney Frank, whose enormous intellectual and strategic abilities have never before been so urgently needed, or so widely admired.

“I also want to recognize Rahm Emanuel, who combined his deep knowledge of financial institutions with his pragmatic policy experience, to resolve key disagreements.

“Secretary Paulson deserves credit for working day and night to help reach an agreement and for his flexibility in negotiating changes to his original proposal.

“Democrats insisted that legislation responding to this crisis must protect the American people and Main Street from the meltdown on Wall Street.

“The American people did not decide to dangerously weaken our regulatory and oversight policies. They did not make unwise and risky financial deals. They did not jeopardize the economic security of the nation. And they must not pay the cost of this emergency recovery and stabilization bill.

“So we insisted that this bill contain several key provisions:

“This legislation must contain independent and ongoing oversight to ensure that the recovery program is managed with full transparency and strict accountability.

“The legislation must do everything possible to allow as many people to stay in their homes rather than face foreclosure.

“The corporate CEOs whose companies will benefit from the public’s participation in this recovery must not benefit by exorbitant salaries and golden parachute retirement bonuses.

“Our message to Wall Street is this: the party is over. The era of golden parachutes for high-flying Wall Street operators is over. No longer will the U.S. taxpayer bailout the recklessness of Wall Street.

“The taxpayers who bear the risk in this recovery must share in the upside as the economy recovers.

“And should this program not pay for itself, the financial institutions that benefited, not the taxpayers, must bear responsibility for making up the difference.

“These were the Democratic demands to safeguard the American taxpayer, to help the economy recover, and to impose tough accountability as a central component of this recovery effort.

“This legislation is not the end of congressional activity on this crisis. Over the course of the next few weeks, we will continue to hold investigative and oversight hearings to find out how the crisis developed, where mistakes were made, and how the recovery must be managed to protect the middle class and the American taxpayer.

“With passage of this legislation today, we can begin the difficult job of turning our economy around, of helping those who depend on a growing economy and stable financial institutions for a secure retirement, for the education of their children, for jobs and small business credit.

“Today we must act for those Americans, for Main Street, and we must act now, with the bipartisan spirit of cooperation which allowed us to fashion this legislation.

“This not enough. We are also working to restore our nation’s economic strength by passing a new economic recovery stimulus package—a robust, job creating bill—that will help Americans struggling with high prices, get our economy back on track, and renew the American Dream.

“Today, we will act to avert this crisis, but informed by our experience of the past eight years with the failed economic leadership that has left us left capable of meeting the challenges of the future.

“We choose a different path. In the new year, with a new Congress and a new president, we will break free with a failed past and take America in a New Direction to a better future.”

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