Tanner casts 'yes' vote for bailout
Posted: Friday, October 10, 2008 2:32 pm
Rep. John Tanner voted to help Tennessee families, farmers and small businesses being affected by the economic crisis. Tanner said he heard from many Tennessee small businesses struggling to make payroll, families struggling to pay mortgages and fill their gas tanks, and workers worried about dramatic drops in their retirement funds.
He said he recognized that federal inaction could be very risky for Tennessee families, small businesses, farmers and rural banks, he supported the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act that passed the House and Senate on a bipartisan vote.
The final bill includes a provision written by Tanner to recover any federal investment in the rescue plan, shifting the cost burden from the taxpayer to the financial industry.
“When the [Treasury] Secretary came over here with a bill, it was a bailout. It was public risk and private gain,” Tanner said in a speech on the House floor.
“By the wisdom of the body here, we put Section 134 – the ‘recoupment’ clause – in, which now makes it private risk and public gain, which is the way it ought to be. It is now a situation where we’re not talking about bailing out Wall Street or the high-flyers. If, at the end of the day, there is a shortfall to the Treasury of the United States, then [the financial industry] will be assessed that shortfall, and the Treasury will be made whole.
“What the bill does now is it attempts to protect all Americans who have an IRA, a 401(k), or a part of a state or local pension plan.”
Tanner expressed frustration that the Senate acted fiscally and morally irresponsible in adding additional measures to the original bill but refusing to pay for them.
Con. Tanner said he has long supported the provisions added by the Senate – including relief of the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) and sales tax deductibility for Tennessee taxpayers – but has repeatedly voted to pass those measures following the common-sense rule of pay-as-you-go instead of borrowing the money, much of it from foreign investors, and then passing the bill to future generations.
“Some of us in this body are so thoroughly disgusted with the other body right now and the way this bill has been handled,” Tanner said in his speech on the House floor.
“We’ve found that it doesn’t take a lot of political courage to spend other people’s money who can’t vote,” namely our children and grandchildren. The Senate is essentially forcing the House to follow its fiscally irresponsible lead, Tanner said.
Tanner, a founding member of the Blue Dog Coalition of fiscally responsible, conservative-to-moderate Democrats, represents Tennessee’s 8th Congressional district in West and Middle Tennessee.
He serves on the House Ways and Means Committee, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and as chairman of the U.S. delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.