On Friday, October 3, 2008 the House took up the Senate-passed version of The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. As I did on Monday, I voted for this measure because after a great deal of reflection, I concluded that we must take action to stabilize the economy. No one is happy about the circumstances before us and this was a difficult vote for every Member of Congress. It is by far the most difficult vote I have cast as a Member of Congress.
In the final analysis, I supported this package because I am convinced that the risk to our economy is just too great. For me, it came down to balancing the risk of voting yes and saving the economy for all Americans while incurring a potential cost to taxpayers versus the risk of voting no and watching the world economy collapse. I took what I thought was a smaller risk for my average constituent.
As I have reported before, many experts believe that this is the biggest economic crisis our nation has faced in decades. They have warned that we will encounter a major decrease in access to credit and all Americans could be impacted in some way.
Most obviously, private and public pension funds have suffered losses over the last several months. The ability to obtain a mortgage, car loan, home equity loan or student loan has already been severely restricted. Small businesses have already had difficulty obtaining loans to run or expand their business. Just today, the Labor Department reported 160,000 jobs were lost in September alone. In a separate action, the House today also passed legislation providing additional unemployment compensation to help workers impacted by our struggling economy.
I supported this measure because I am just not willing to risk putting the jobs, pensions and 401(K) plans of hard working Americans on the line while we wait for a better bill. There will always be more ideas and courses of action for every issue before the Congress. But at some point, we must take action on the measures before us. If we wait for the perfect bill, we will never cast a vote. I believe that this scenario was clearly illustrated this week. After the House failed to pass a clean bill, the Senate took that as a license to add whatever they could. Many provisions they added are worthwhile and had already passed the House as separate bills, including protecting the middle class from the Alternative Minimum Tax, providing mental health parity in health insurance plans, and extending tax credits to encourage energy conservation. But I believe that some of their other additions are simply not in the best interests of America .
After the House voted down an earlier version of this legislation Monday, the stock market lost more than $1 trillion dollars in value. Those losses were not limited to Wall Street fat cats. Those losses impacted private and public pension funds, college savings plans, college endowments and many others. Even states and municipalities are struggling to finance roads, schools, hospitals and other projects as the economy worsens.
Although the legislation that was before us today could have been much improved, there are a number of important protections in this bill: limits on executive compensation; help for qualified homeowners facing foreclosure; help for tenants living in foreclosed homes; an increase in the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) limit of insurance coverage to $250,000; and deadlines on recommendations for additional necessary regulations on the financial industry.
I want you to know that each and every email and phone call on this issue was important to me. As always, I thank you for sharing your opinions with me. I hope you will continue to do so, on every issue that is important to you. The entire roll call is recorded below:
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