Staff and Wire Reports
WASHINGTON -- Oklahoma lawmakers agree something has to be done about the nation's financial crisis, but said they have some concerns about the Bush administration's proposed $700 billion government bailout.
Sen. Jim Inhofe and Representatives Dan Boren and Mary Fallin all want more details on the proposed government bailout before giving it their support.
Lawmakers in both parties are demanding changes to the administration's rescue proposal despite dire warnings from top economic officials of recessions, layoffs and lost homes if Congress doesn't approve it quickly. Both parties' presidential candidates also insist on alterations to the drastic prescription.
"I waited until today, giving them as much time as I felt they needed to come up with specifics and they have not done so and I am opposed to it," Sen. Inhofe said Wednesday. "We're just putting all that power in the hands of people and we don't even know who they are. They're supposedly professional asset managers, but that doesn't give me a high level of comfort."
Rep. Boren said he is concerned about the scope of the bailout.
"I don't think we should give a blank check to anyone and that's what we're really going to look at when the plan comes out over the next few days," Rep. Boren said. "I think it's important that we have proper oversight; I think transparency is important, but I tell you from my constituents, the calls that I'm receiving right now, people are angry. They're angry at these Wall Street executives who've bilked people and taken hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation."
Executives whose companies get a piece of the $700 billion government bailout will have their pay packages strictly limited under proposals that are broadly supported by both Republicans and Democrats in Congress. The Bush administration was resisting the move as it scrambled to overcome widespread misgivings on Capitol Hill and swiftly push through its plan to rescue tottering financial firms by buying up their rotten assets.
"I am not real pleased with the largness of the bailout plan," Rep. Fallin said. "The $700 billion bailout plan which I understand will be about $10,000 of dept per family a year."
For Oklahomans watching this all play out, Rep. Fallin says not to worry.
"I would say don't panic," she said. "America is a great nation. We have overcome financial struggles before."
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke are scheduled to appear before Congress for a second day Wednesday to brief lawmakers on the bailout plan.
Without the bailout plan, Paulson and Bernanke have sketched out a grave scenario for lawmakers: Neither businesses nor consumers would be able to borrow money, and the world's largest economy would grind to a virtual halt.