In our nation’s history, there have been moments that require us to come together across party lines to address major challenges. This is such a moment. Last night Secretary Paulson and Chairman Bernanke and Chairman Cox met with congressional leaders of both parties, and they had a very good meeting. I appreciate the willingness of congressional leaders to confront this situation head-on.
Today, I fully support the effort of Secretary Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke to work in a bipartisan spirit with Congress to find this kind of solution. What we’re looking at right now is to provide the Treasury and the Federal Reserve with as broad authority as necessary to stabilize markets and maintain credit. We need a more institutional response to create a system that can manage some of the underlying problems with bad mortgages, help homeowners stay in their homes, protect the retirement and savings of working Americans.
You know, my friends, there are certainly plenty of places to point fingers, and it may be hard to pinpoint the original event that set all this in motion, but let me give you an educated guess. The financial crisis that we’re living through today started with the corruption and manipulation of our home mortgage system. At the center of the problem were the lobbyists, politicians and bureaucrats who succeeded in persuading Congress and the administration to ignore the festering problems at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac… Two years ago, I called for reform of this corruption at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Congress did nothing. The administration did nothing. Senator Obama did nothing, and actually profited from this system of abuse and scandal. While Fannie and Freddie were working to keep Congress away from their house of cards, Senator Obama was taking their money. He got more, in fact, than any other member of Congress, except for the Democratic chairman of the committee that oversees them. And while Fannie Mae was betraying the public trust, somehow its former CEO had managed to gain my opponent’s trust to the point where Senator Obama actually put him in charge of his vice presidential search.
This CEO, Mr. Johnson, walked off with tens of millions of dollars in salary and bonuses — guess for what? — for services rendered to Fannie Mae, even after authorities discovered accounting improprieties that padded his compensation. Another CEO for Fannie Mae, Mr. Raines, has been advising Senator Obama on housing policy (chuckles); this even after Fannie Mae was found to have committed, quote, “extensive financial fraud” under his leadership.” Like Mr. Johnson, Mr. Raines walked away with — guess what? — tens of millions of dollars.
Setting aside the outright lie that Raines is advising Obama, is this really the time for finger pointing and partisanship?