Read the Bills Act Coalition

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Principle over Power - McCain shows resolve for doing the right thing

In his prepared remarks at the Clinton Global Initiative, John McCain Shows his resolve to do what is right for America:

"It has become clear that no consensus has developed to support the Administration's proposal to meet the crisis. I do not believe that the plan on the table will pass as it currently stands, and we are running out of time. So I am returning to Washington to seek five fundamental improvements to this critical legislation. I have laid out these principles over the past week:

First, there must be greater accountability included in the bill. I have suggested a bipartisan board to provide oversight for the rescue. We will not solve a problem caused by poor oversight with a plan that has no oversight. Never before in the history of our nation has so much power and money been concentrated in the hands of one person, and there must be protections and oversight in place.

Second, as a part of that oversight, there must be a path for taxpayers to recover the money that is put into this fund. When we're talking about 700 billion taxpayer dollars, that money cannot simply go into a black hole of bad debt with no means of recovering any of the funds.

Third, there must be complete transparency in the review of this legislation and in the implementation of any legislation. This cannot be thrown together behind closed doors. The American people have the right to know which businesses will be helped, what that selection will be based on and how much that help will cost. All the details should all be made available online and elsewhere for open public scrutiny.

Fourth, it is completely unacceptable for any kind of earmarks to be included in this bill. It would be outrageous for legislators and lobbyists to pack this rescue plan with even more taxpayer money for favored companies. And frankly, members of Congress who would attempt such a thing are scarcely better than the most reckless operators on Wall Street.

Fifth and finally, no Wall Street executives should profit from taxpayer dollars. Let me put it this way: I would rather build a bridge to nowhere -- and put it square in the middle of Sedona, Arizona -- than take money from teachers and farmers and small business owners to line the pockets of the Wall Street crowd that got us here in the first place. And I can assure you: if I have anything to say about the matter, it's not going to happen.

It is difficult to act both quickly and wisely, but that is what is required of us right now. Time is short, and doing nothing is not an option. I am confident that before the markets open on Monday we can achieve consensus on legislation that will stabilize our financial markets, protect taxpayers and homeowners, and earn the confidence of the American people.

I have seen Republicans and Democrats achieve great things together. When the stakes were high and it mattered most, I've seen them work together in common purpose, as we did in the weeks after September 11th. This kind of cooperation has made all the difference at crucial turns in our history. It has given us hope in difficult times. It has moved America forward, through all adversity. And now, in this crisis, we must work together again and put our country first."

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