It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
Dear Ms. XXXX
I reluctantly supported this package because the failure of Congress to act would run the risk of dire consequences, including an economic downturn which could cause more foreclosures, jeopardize retirement accounts, and further restrict credit which is necessary for small businesses to operate. I am philosophically opposed to bailouts. I think that when you have Wall Street entrepreneurs who take big risks to make big profits and they go sour, they ought to sustain the loss themselves and not look to the government for a bailout which ends up in the laps of the taxpayers. However, I supported the plan to avoid economic disaster that would extend well beyond Wall Street.
From the outset, I cautioned against Congress's rushing to judgment. When the initial proposal was made in mid-September, I wrote to Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell by letter dated September 21, 2008 urging we take the time necessary to get the legislation right. By letter dated September 23, 2008, I wrote to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke asking a series of questions which have not yet been answered. Then by letter dated September 27, 2008, accompanied by a Senate floor statement, I made a series of suggestions to the executive and legislative negotiators. Again, there has been insufficient time for a reply. Copies of these letters are available on my website.
Whenever we deviate from regular order which has been developed during more than 200 years of serving our country very well, we are on thin ice. On regular order, the legislative process customarily begins with a bill which members of Congress can study and analyze. After the legislation is in hand, there are hearings with proponents and opponents of the bill and an opportunity for members to examine, really cross examine, to get to the heart of the issues and alternatives. Regular order calls for a markup in the committee of jurisdiction going over the language line by line with an opportunity to make changes with votes on those proposed modifications. Then the committee files a report which is reviewed by members in advance of floor action where amendments can be offered and debate occurs. The action by each house is then subjected to further refinement by a conference committee which makes the presentment to the President for yet another line of review. The process used to finalize this legislation drastically shortcut regular order.
The legislation passed by the Senate is enormously improved over the first Paulson proposal. The $700 billion is not to be authorized immediately, but instead there are installments of $250 billion, $100 billion at the request of the president and $350 billion more subject to congressional objection, although the latter phase may be unconstitutional under INS v. Chadha, which requires following regular legislative process with passage by both houses and Presidential approval to overrule Presidential action and perhaps inferentially legislative conditions. For protection of the taxpayers, the proposal contains a provision that if the government does not regain its money after five years, the President would be required to submit a plan for compensating the Treasury "from entities benefiting from the programs." While that provision is a far way from a guarantee or even assurances that such recovery legislation would be enacted, it gives some important comfort to the taxpayers' position.
(snip a bunch of babble)
The final proposal does provide for debt insurance, as advocated for by House Republicans, but leaves it to the Secretary of the Treasury to utilize that approach so it seems unlikely that it will be implemented in light of the fact that Secretary Paulson has bluntly stated his disagreement with it. Had there been floor amendments, Congress could have structured standards for utilization of debt insurance.
(snip some more babble)
The legislation contains authority for the Treasury Secretary to compensate foreign central banks under some conditions. It provides that troubled assets held by foreign financial authorities and banks are eligible for the Toxic Assets Recover Program (TARP) if the banks hold such assets as a result of having extended financing to financial institutions that have failed or defaulted. Had there been an opportunity for floor debate, that provision might have been sufficiently unpopular to be rejected or at least sharply circumscribed with conditions.