As you may know, the Congress is in session this weekend, as all sides continue to debate an economic bailout plan. While we all agree that something needs to be done to stabilize the financial and credit markets, we disagree over the best way forward. That’s why I want to explain my position, and outline the principles that I believe should guide any final agreement.
Over the past week, I have convened daily meetings with members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus to develop a set of principles which will ensure that any recovery effort benefits not only Wall Street investment banks, but working family as well. We have laid out these principles directly to our party’s leadership in face to face meetings, and now I want to share them with you.
Secondly, before we spend a dollar of taxpayer money we must ensure that any final proposal has proper oversight and accountability. In addition to strengthening regulatory oversight, we must phase in this funding, providing an initial investment of around $150 billion to last us until the next President is inaugurated in January. This will allow the next President to be involved in this process, and to help decide how future installments might be allocated. I question why we should give President Bush and Secretary Paulson access to $700 billion up front, when they’ve been wrong from the start.
Finally, while we’re stabilizing Wall Street we can’t take our eye off Main Street, or the millions of American families who are at risk of either losing their homes, or are teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. That’s why we need to invest at least $60 billion in programs that promote economic growth, and help those most at risk. This includes extending unemployment insurance, helping seniors and low income families with low cost home heating oil, and investing in infrastructure projects that will create millions of good paying jobs.
I know that many people have questions and concerns about what’s happening right now. In fact, I’ve already heard for over 3,000 residents of Marin and Sonoma counties, almost all of whom are opposed to a proposal that simply bails out Wall Street at taxpayer’s expense.
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