Coleman and Klobuchar to back bailout package

DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar and GOP Sen. Norm Coleman both say they will vote for the $700 billion rescue package for the financial services industry. Here’s Coleman’s statement on the bill:

“In a time of crisis, leadership and statesmanship are essential. I intend to vote in favor of the bipartisan financial stabilization package. The domino effect of not acting could topple the finances of every Minnesotan. At first sight, this bill may seem to do more for Wall Street than Main Street. But, at the core, this legislation is about the availability of capital – the lifeblood of the economy. When credit freezes, banks stop lending, businesses can’t make payroll, and jobs are lost. Loans to pay for college, cars and homes become nearly impossible to obtain. Savings are jeopardized. We have no choice but to act. This bipartisan plan is crafted in a way that protects the American taxpayers and holds Wall Street accountable. It ensures no blank checks, contains stringent oversight protections to watch where the dollars are going, and limits executive compensation and golden parachutes for Wall Street executives. And, equally important, is we will create no new permanent bureaucracy. We’ve ensured that once we have achieved our goals and objectives, this plan will sunset. In our efforts to create a 21st Century financial system that works, we can’t make the mistake of simply substituting one bureaucracy for another. Once this bill passes the Senate, the House must quickly follow suit to help stabilize the economy and protect the financial future of working moms and dads. Addressing this financial crisis may not be politically popular in the short-term, but for our long-term economic security and stability it is the right thing to do.”

Here’s Klobuchar’s statement on the bill:

“I support this legislation to stabilize our economy with many reservations. I do not support it to rescue Wall Street. I support it to protect Main Street by averting an economic catastrophe that would otherwise force millions of Americans to lose their jobs, their homes and their retirement savings.

“This financial crisis should never have happened. It is an indictment of eight years of failed economic policies in Washington and irresponsible business practices on Wall Street. The administration allowed Wall Street to operate like a Wild West gambling hall awash in funny money. At the 11th hour, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson have had to step in as the house managers to shut the game down.

“Now the American people have to clean up the damage or else suffer even worse economic consequences. In just the last few weeks, we already see the signs of credit problems for average Americans and small businesses.

“I made it clear from the beginning that I opposed the Administration’s 3-page plan and I have long advocated for better regulation of risky business practices, speculation, and price gouging and will continue to do so to protect middle class families. During the past week after we got the initial plan, I worked with my colleagues to strengthen the proposal with more protections for taxpayers and more limits on Wall Street.

“The revised plan addresses many of my concerns. It commits less taxpayer money by releasing funds only in installments; it has stronger oversight and transparency requirements to protect taxpayer money; it limits executive compensation; and provides the opportunity for taxpayers to share in any gains and to make sure that they’re whole before the bondholders, the shareholders, and the executives.

“The legislation also includes a requirement for a Congressional proposal for new financial regulations by January 20th to protect the American people against another financial crisis in the future, by closing the regulatory loopholes on Wall Street. This will be a top priority for me in the coming months.

“I also voted for this legislation because it includes three other provisions that are very important to Minnesota. First, it extends the tax incentives that promote investment in renewable energy. These incentives have been essential to the rapid growth of Minnesota’s homegrown energy, including wind, solar, and biofuels. Second, it revises the tax code to directly benefit the middle class; and finally, the legislation establishes parity in insurance coverage for mental health benefits, a matter of fairness and dignity that Paul Wellstone long fought for.

“I know that people in our state have strong feelings about this economic stabilization plan and I’m looking forward to going home to talk with all of you about it. But for now I felt while this is a sad day for this country that we got to this point, that we must avert an economic crisis and I continue to be humbled to be your Senator.”

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