WASHINGTON – Three Maryland House members voted against the $700 billion financial bailout plan Monday because it failed to protect taxpayers, so Tuesday they introduced plans of their own that would.
Reps. Elijah Cummings, D-Baltimore, and Donna Edwards, D-Fort Washington, introduced the No BAILOUTS Act — Bringing Accounting, Increased Liquidity, Oversight and Upholding Taxpayer Security.
Cummings said he understands the urgency of passing a financial solution, but it has to be one that will benefit everyone.
“What I’m looking for is balance,” he said. “I am worried, I am concerned about Wall Street, and I know that my colleagues are, and we realize that whatever we do for Wall Street hopefully will benefit everybody, but we are also worried about the folks in my neighborhood on Madison Avenue in Baltimore, people who are losing their homes.”
Cummings also wants a proposal with provisions to help Marylanders use their tax dollars to fix the foreclosure crisis, something the bailout did not include.
“We’ve got to have some relief for these people who are facing foreclosure,” he said. “Foreclosure is becoming — as you well know — a big problem in our state, and it affects almost every single person, whether they’re directly involved or they’re in a neighborhood where houses are being foreclosed upon.”
Edwards said she wants a plan that helps people who need it most, not just Wall Street executives.
“Take a deep breath, step back and let’s deal with these issues in a way that is going to make a difference for homeowners, small businesses, working people and for taxpayers,” she said.
Edwards said the plan she and Cummings introduced will use more oversight to protect those people.
“I think we’re looking to stabilize the market, to provide real relief for homeowners and to make sure that however we use taxpayer dollars that there’s real regulation in place and oversight in place so that we’re not just spending the money,” she said. “So we’re going to get to those things, and whether it’s late this week or early next week, we’re going to get to them and we’re going to resolve them in a way that makes sense for Maryland taxpayers.”
The No BAILOUTS Act would increase the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s insured deposit limits from $100,000 to $250,000 and reform the Securities and Exchange Commission’s accounting rules.
Roscoe Bartlett, R-Frederick, also introduced legislation that he said will “provide real protection to the taxpayers.”
The Main Street Protection Act would provide unlimited insurance for accounts under the FDIC and authorize the Secretary of the Treasury to use the exchange stabilization fund to protect insurance payout rates in money market accounts.
Bartlett also cosponsored legislation to allow Wall Street to use private capital to restore faith in the markets.
The Alternative Economic Rescue Plan would create mandatory insurance for Mortgage-Backed Securities paid for by institutions’ risk-based premiums.
“Providing temporary tax relief for private capital invested in these assets will make them more attractive and provide time for our financial system to recover,” Bartlett said.
The rest of Maryland’s House delegation voted in favor of the bailout plan defeated Monday, including outgoing Rep. Wayne Gilchrest, R-Kennedyville.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Mechanicsville, said he has talked to leaders from both parties, and Congress is working hard to pass a bipartisan plan.
“What is absolutely clear is that the threat to our economy and millions of working Americans requires that we act,” he said in a statement. “At this time, the House is scheduled to meet at noon on Thursday. It still remains to be decided when the House will consider new legislation regarding the economic crisis.”