Houston Lawmakers Want More from Bailout

Congressional leaders are hard at work this week trying to scrounge up another dozen or so votes to pass the economic bailout package. Laurie Johnson spoke with two Houston Congressmen about what it would take to change their votes.

Democrats Al Green and Gene Green voted “no” on Monday’s economic rescue bill. They, along with just a handful of colleagues, could have the ability to change the outcome of the $700 billion plan.

Congressman Al Green says he thinks the bill should require Wall Street to repay some of that money.

“The American people would like to see Wall Street bail itself out. This can be accomplished. Wall Street can create a .025 percent surcharge on transactions. This would generate more than $100 billion a year. And in doing this, Wall Street can bail itself out.”

He also says a number of democrats want the rescue bill to rescue more than just Wall Street. He supports a bill that would use some of that money to help homeowners caught up in the turmoil of the subprime mortgage mess.

Congressman Gene Green agrees. He says there should be some protections for people who are in danger of losing a home.

“Why are penalizing them if they get in trouble that they can’t go in and have a bankruptcy judge say ‘we’re going to renegotiate; we’re going to set this loan so these folks can stay in their home’. That should be the law, it’s not now, that should be in this bill.”

Both men say they want to be able to tell their constituents that the economic rescue bill does more than simply bail out Wall Street.

“If we understand that it is bigger than Wall Street and we make sure that the people who live on Home Street can see that this is going to have a positive impact on them as well, I think it would make a difference. But if it just appears to be for Wall Street and does not impact Home Street — where people live — people are not going to be very happy about $700 billion as a bailout.”

Congress convenes again on Thursday. Leaders are tweaking the bill in an effort to muster another dozen votes in support of the legislation. Some of the other changes under consideration include raising the FDIC cap from $100,000 to $250,000. Another popular option is to tighten regulations and oversight for Wall Street transactions.

Laurie Johnson. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.



Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Executive Producer for News

Laurie Johnson leads daily news coverage for HPM. She helps reporters craft and sharpen their stories on tight deadlines, with the aim of getting the most relevant and current information into local newscasts. Laurie is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. She is...

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