Thursday, September 25, 2008

Chambliss Statement on Financial Package

U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., today made the following statement:

As the conversations in Washington continue over how to address our nation’s financial crisis, and as the details of the problems in our financial sector are revealed daily, I am convinced that something must be done and done soon.

But I want to be clear about congressional action: we must act because inaction will do serious harm to American families, farms, and small businesses as well as community banks and other lenders, and we must do our dead level best to make the right decisions, because action for the sake of expediency could put our nation at further risk.

Since last Thursday I have talked to numerous bankers, economists, academicians, as well as business leaders and owners who have told me that doing nothing would lead to irreparable harm to our economy. And I have heard from and talked to hundreds of Georgia taxpayers. Everyone is concerned about doing the right thing. Georgians are furious at the current situation and for good reason.

I am angry and upset that the oversight supposed to be afforded by the regulatory bodies was not provided the way it should have been. The American taxpayers should never find themselves in this situation again, and that is why there must be confidence that what Congress passes will work – not for Wall Street but for Main Street.

Before I give my support and work to pass legislation, it will have to have strong safeguards, accountable oversight, provisions that those who abused the system and the public trust will be punished, salary controls for the managers of the companies the taxpayers assist, and a commitment that any revenue earned by the treasury on this effort will be used 100% to retire the debt and not one penny used to expand government. I will fight any legislation that proposes to use one cent of these funds for pork barrel projects. Furthermore, I want to make sure that if fraud or other illegal acts took place that the people responsible are tried and punished. And while much of the focus has been on assisting larger banks and lenders, I am working to make sure that neighborhood banks and lenders are protected too. I intend to see that every single American has access to his or her money right now and forever and that Americans who need credit have it available to them.

As the Senate debate unfolds, any proposed legislation must protect the citizens and taxpayers of Main Street, their savings, their retirement funds, their small businesses, their careers, their homes, and economic well being. This financial debacle on Wall Street must not be allowed to infect Main Street anymore than it already has.

We have to clean up this mess and keep America on track. We must be certain that those responsible do not profit from this legislation and, where appropriate, necessary compensation policy be instituted. There will be no Golden Parachutes for executives in any plan I support. And civil and criminal penalties should be levied and pursued when and where appropriate.

During these next critical hours and days, I will carefully review the details of whatever package emerges, and I will fight for Georgians in this process. I will have my say. I am prepared to work through the weekend and into October and beyond – I will not vote for just any proposal – I will work for and vote for the proposal that I truly believe is in the best interest of Georgians and Americans, and I pledge to work on this as long as it takes to get the job done right.
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