WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today issued the following statement after announcing he would not support the financial bailout legislation scheduled for a Senate vote tonight:
“The proposal being brought to the Senate floor tonight is an improvement from the initial Paulson plan. But at its core, this is still the same plan that calls on taxpayers to go $700 billion further into debt in an attempt to fix this problem, while doing absolutely nothing to prevent it from happening again. I have strong philosophical differences with this approach, and I will not vote to support it.
“I recognize the challenges facing our economy, and agree steps need to be taken to protect the middle class from the credit problems that stemmed from mistakes on Wall Street. However, it is more important for Congress to do this correctly than to do it quickly.
“The SEC’s announcement that it will ease mark-to-market accounting rules is a positive step, but there are a number of other free-market alternatives that I believe deserved more consideration and attention. The mortgage insurance program included in this package is one example. By altering this provision to require that Treasury insure these securities, financial institutions could use their own capital instead of taxpayer dollars to stimulate the stagnant securities market.
“We can also take steps to strengthen our economy and free up capital by empowering investors through a temporary or permanent suspension of the capital gains tax for individuals and corporations. Additionally, we finally need to get serious about changing our nation’s energy policy. We’re currently sitting on enormous amounts of domestic oil and natural gas reserves while sending $700 billion – the price tag of this bailout proposal – overseas to purchase oil. We can keep that money here in the United States by increasing production of our oil and gas reserves, something that will also create tens of thousands of jobs across our country.”