10/01/2008: "An Open Letter to Rick Larsen"
Dear Congressman Larsen,
I simply cannot understand your September 29 statement on the financial rescue package that failed to pass that day in the House of Representatives.
You write the current crisis has been caused by “regulation and oversight the Bush administration has failed to provide.”
Yet in 2003, President Bush asked Congress to create a new agency to assume supervision of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two government-sponsored agencies whose catastrophic practices triggered the current crisis. Two years later, the Bush administration asked Congress to enact the Federal Housing Enterprise Reform Act of 2005. Both these steps were taken by the President precisely to avoid what’s now happened -and both were defeated in Congress by members of your Democratic party.
When your busy schedule permits, will you please provide documentation of the positions you took on both these legislative initiatives.
And, in a broader sense, will you please explain the total, thoroughly documented contradiction between your September 29 statement and the facts.
Rick Larsen Statement follows:
"Our nation faces an economic crisis that has the potential to impact every family in the country. The Bush Administration responded to this crisis by requesting a $700 billion blank check with no oversight, no protections for taxpayers, no returns on taxpayer investment, and no help for homeowners.
"Democrats in Congress said no way, no how, no blank check.
"Democrats and Republicans in Congress worked together to make improvements to the Administration's plan. We included the oversight, accountability and return on our investment American taxpayers need and deserve.
"This improved financial rescue package would have cut the $700 billion payment in half and conditioned any future payments on Congressional review. It would have banned golden parachutes and exorbitant bonuses for Wall Street executives who participate. It would have provided help for families who have been hit hard by the foreclosure crisis. It would have ensured that taxpayers get a fair return on our investment and benefit from any future profit, and it would have provided strong oversight and prohibited any conflicts of interest.
"I am disappointed that this critical legislation failed to pass the House today.
"Let me be absolutely clear -- the economic rescue package I voted for today is not about helping banks or Wall Street. It’s about protecting all of us -- American families in Washington state and across the country who need our economy to recover and grow.
"Without emergency intervention, Americans who play by the rules, Americans who pay their bills on time every month, Americans with good credit will suffer due to Wall Street’s mistakes and the Bush administration’s refusal to provide the appropriate regulation our economy needs.
"The stakes we face are serious. This crisis has the potential to impact every family in the country. If you own a small business and need a loan, you could be hurt. If you are planning to buy a home, you could be hurt. If your son or daughter wants to go to college, you could be hurt. If you are planning for retirement, you could be hurt.
"Due to the credit crunch we already face, banks in Washington state and around the country have tightened lending, and families and business are finding it more difficult to get the loans they need in their everyday lives.
"Under the financial rescue package, the federal government would buy bad debt from troubled banks to unclog our financial system, allowing banks to once again provide the capital our economy needs to recover and grow.
"In the coming days, it is critical that Members of Congress come to an agreement and pass a financial rescue package as soon as possible. Our economy depends on it.
"In the coming weeks, Congress must also act to deliver the appropriate regulation and oversight our economy needs for the long-term -regulation and oversight the Bush administration has failed to provide."