Alexander Calls on Congress to Approve Amended Financial Rescue Plan for Main Street Without Delay

Says “there is a real risk that credit will freeze and Americans will not be able to get car, student, auto, mortgage, or farm credit loans – or even to cash their paychecks”

Posted on September 29, 2008

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today made the following remarks on the floor of the Senate regarding legislation to address the credit crunch affecting communities across America: • “Congress should approve the amended plan without delay – today. If the House can pass it today, there is no reason why the Senate cannot pass it today and send it to the president. Otherwise, there is a real risk that credit will freeze and Americans will not be able to get car, student, auto, mortgage, or farm credit loans – or even to cash their paychecks.” • “The whole point of the work over the weekend – since last Thursday, in fact – was to do everything we could to protect taxpayers. Under the amended plan, the Secretary of the Treasury will have authority to buy and sell troubled mortgage assets to get the economy moving again. Taxpayers will have authority to provide oversight, minimize losses, and make sure profits go to reduce debt. Most realize that the largest reason for this emergency legislation is mortgage loans that people can’t pay back and securities based upon those mortgages. This has derailed housing and created problems for banks. It has spread uncertainty and caused people with cash to be cautious.” • “This has come so fast and taken such an unexpected turn that it is hard for most Americans to know what to think about it. Think about it as someone who should have known better dumping thousands of bad mortgage loans and other assets in the middle of an eight-lane interstate, threatening to bring to a halt all economic traffic.” • “Vehicles carrying these essential credits that Americans rely on every day have ground to a halt on the economic highway, blocked by a big pile of bad mortgage loans. So we end up with this massive wreck in the middle of the economic highway.” • “Think of the federal government as the salvage crew and Secretary Paulson as the driver of the wrecker. His job is to buy the salvage and get it off the highway as soon as possible so the traffic can start moving again. If he does this, then the lanes will open again, and the vehicles carrying your auto and car and mortgage and farm credit loans and payroll checks will start moving again.” • “And think of yourself, the taxpayer, as the owner of the salvage company – doing everything possible to make sure the driver of the wrecker can get the pile of bad loans off the highway and sell them for at least as much as it cost him to pick them up.” • “Most realize now that we are not spending $700 billion. The Secretary may buy up to $700 billion in troubled mortgage assets – enough to restore confidence – but he may buy much less. Over time, he will then sell these assets. There might even be a profit which, under the plan, would go to reduce the federal debt.” • “This week – today – we need to fix the immediate problem. Clean the wreck off the highway. Next week we need to begin to take steps to remodel our regulatory agencies – most of which were designed to deal with the calamities of the 1930s. And we need to find out if there was fraud or misleading actions so that we can do our best to make sure this doesn’t happen again.” • “Next week can fix the blame. Today we should unclog the economic highway and fix the immediate problem to make sure Americans can buy homes and cars and houses, go to college, get farm credit loans, and cash their payroll checks.”