U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln and U.S. Senator Mark Pryor Addressing the Financial Crisis

U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln released the following statement regarding the Senate’s passage of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act:

“We are no doubt facing serious economic turmoil across the nation. The credit markets have tightened, banks have failed and the stock market is down. We absolutely must implement a strategy to stabilize the markets and bring greater confidence to investors and business.

“The reckless actions of those on Wall Street may have caused this crisis, but it is now Main Street’s problem as well. When Arkansas small businesses can’t make payroll, students cannot get loans to fund their education, and consumers cannot secure home or car loans, it will be too late.

“Time is of the utmost importance. Not taking action will lead us on a downward spiral, and that is why I decided to vote for this legislation.

“Today’s bill is much more practical than the blatant bailout the Administration sent us. It ensures that the investment from taxpayers is minimal, that Americans receive a return on their money, and that executives do not receive outrageous payouts. The legislation also includes important tax incentives that will help bring stability to businesses, a vital link to our economy’s long-term well-being. In addition, the package raises individual FDIC coverage amounts from $100,000 to $250,000, further protecting taxpayers.

“My first priority has been and remains the well-being of Arkansas taxpayers. We did not get into this situation overnight, and we will not get out of it overnight. There is more to be done to ensure long-term stability in our economy. Congress will continue to take steps to put our economy back on track. And I will continue to fight to ensure that Arkansans and all Americans have the opportunities and resources they need to provide for themselves and their families.”

Statement by Senator Mark Pryor Addressing the Financial Crisis:

Corporate greed has undercut the health of our economy, and now each one of us is being asked to pay for it. If it were just CEOs and other high-level decision makers on Wall Street who would go down for their greed, I would oppose this incredibly expensive package. I have had multiple candid conversations with individuals such as Treasury Secretary Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke. While the Bush Administration’s track record for telling the truth is questionable at best, the risk of doing nothing is too high for Arkansas’ citizens, businesses, and farmers. Retirement savings, student loans, and credit cards could dry up in a matter of weeks. Arkansans will not be able to mortgage a home, finance a car, or purchase farm equipment. I believe we could also see jobs lost and wages plummet as businesses lose their access to credit and must cut back.

We have incorporated several important safeguards to protect the American taxpayer. First, CEO’s receiving financial assistance will not walk away from this train wreck with a hefty severance or bonus check in hand. Second, an independent oversight board will prevent conflicts of interest, provide more transparency and ensure proper implementation of the plan. Third, taxpayers will share in the rewards, not just the risk. Part of this plan includes essential help for struggling homeowners who face foreclosure. This step not only keeps families in their homes, but it reduces the risk taxpayers are taking with this investment.

We need to enact this plan immediately, but our work does not end here. The Department of Justice must be vigilant in their probe on potential misconduct by companies at the heart of our financial turmoil. Individuals who broke the law must go to jail. Additionally, I plan to continue working with my colleagues to fix the system and prevent a repeat failure.