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Oct. 2, 2008  

Congress Should Reject Bailout Bill; Package Is Loaded With Corporate Pork, Not Enough Protections for Consumers, Homeowners

Statement of Joan Claybrook, President of Public Citizen

The U.S. Senate had the opportunity this week to listen to the American people and craft a financial bailout package that would have provided meaningful relief, not only to our ailing financial institutions, but to taxpayers and homeowners who are suffering, in a large part, because of the greed of those very same institutions. Unfortunately, senators didn’t seem to get the message.

As it stands, the bill that the Senate approved Wednesday night is deeply flawed. Instead of holding Wall Street accountable, it is bloated with unnecessary corporate handouts that have very little to do with fixing the U.S. economy and everything to do with garnering votes from reluctant legislators.

Why are hardworking Americans being called to dig even further into their pockets to pay for the mistakes of ultra-wealthy financiers and the lawmakers who enabled them by loosening oversight and regulations? As Sen. Bernie Sanders said on the floor of the Senate, “Let the rich bail out the rich.” Let the billionaires who have profited at the expense of working-class Americans pay the piper.

We strongly urge Congress to reject the bailout bill and return to the drawing board. Members of Congress who support the bill should at a minimum commit to return to this issue as soon as possible – to provide consumer protections and re-regulate the financial services industry. If Congress wants to solve this country’s problems, it must start with a plan that addresses the needs of voters.

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