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Republican Whip Roy Blunt: A Main Street Life-Line, Not a Wall Street Bail-Out
By Alejandra Owens, October 3, 2008 10:37 AM
Hardworking Americans watching the activities of the House Monday afternoon couldn't have liked what they saw. That's because the chamber rejected a bill aimed at stabilizing our financial markets and ensuring that credit would be available in the future to those who need it, want it, and have proven they deserve it.
Of course, the parameters within which we began to debate this rescue package were set askew from the very start. That's because it was introduced to the American people as a bill to manage "illiquid assets," a plan to help "Wall Street fat-cats," and, worst of all: A "bailout." While none of that is true, the attachment of that last word very nearly preordained the bill's outcome. It hardened opposition and prevented many from actually giving the bill a second (or, in some cases, first) look.
Now, I'll admit: The concept introduced by Secretary Paulson last week was not one I was comfortable with. But having been tapped by Leader Boehner to take up that plan, restructure it, and negotiate a good deal on behalf of the American people, I took a second look at the bill and started talking to people with a much broader understanding of the consequences of inaction. It didn't take long to arrive at the realization that our economy had a real problem on its hands.
The economic stability package the House is set to consider this week would achieve a couple of key objectives. For one, it'll allow the Treasury to bring some stability to the market by providing time for assets of currently uncertain value to reach their true level of valuation. When that happens, the American taxpayer will be first in line to collect that value - and if Treasury is able to achieve what experts believe it will, it may actually make a profit on those investments and help pay down our national debt.
In the meantime, the challenges we face are significant - and the window of action available to us is closing rapidly. I hope when the House brings this bill up for a second time this week, members will have benefited from taking a second, maybe third, look at this bill. And if they do, I'm confident we'll be able to pass it.
Republican Whip Roy Blunt