(Host) Congressman Peter Welch is weighing in on the $700 billion Wall Street bail out package.
He says it will be difficult for him to support, unless he’s convinced that the proposal protects middle class Vermonters.
VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports.
(Kinzel) Congressional leaders and the Bush Administration hope to reach an agreement on the specific details of the bail out package by the end of this week.
Before he can make a commitment to support the package, Welch says he wants to be certain that middle class taxpayers aren’t being asked to bail out large Wall Street financial companies that made a lot of bad business decisions.
(Welch) “Why in the world would we want innocent people, taxpayers who didn’t benefit, who have been acting responsibly, to bail out the reckless executives and companies that ran their companies into the ground? There’s no justification for that except that the failure to act, if we don’t do anything, could actually harm innocent people."
(Kinzel) Welch says he needs to balance the need to protect the financial stability of middle class Vermonters with the need to hold companies accountable for making some very poor decisions.
(Welch) “The dilemma that we have, and this is my concern, is I don’t want innocent Vermonters to get caught up in the undertow. And there are a lot of Vermonters who’ve worked hard to play by the rules. They’ve saved money for college. They’ve got 401ks and IRAs for retirement. And basically my question is how much in jeopardy are those savings?"
(Kinzel) Welch says any bailout proposal must also include new government oversight provisions and a limitation on compensation packages for the top executives of the failed companies:
(Welch) “We have to put conditions about restoring consumer protection and financial integrity. We have to do that. If we fail to do it, it basically means we’re giving Wall Street a license to rip us off again.”
(Kinzel) Welch is a member of the House Oversight Committee. The panel plans to hold hearings early next month to examine how the deregulation of the financial services industry has contributed to the current crisis.
For VPR News, I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.