Utah's thrift crisis has surfaced again with new lawsuits seeking to recover money from accounting firms. Page D8Utah's two members of Congress who sit on committees overseeing savings and loans are furious that the House refused Wednesday to provide $30 billion more to close down bankrupt S&Ls to prevent further losses.
"There's a lot of political tail-covering going on," said Rep. Bill Orton, D-Utah, a member of the House Banking Committee. "Nobody wants to vote `yes' on anything that funds the S&L crisis. That's irresponsible. That's politics at its worst."Sen. Jake Garn, R-Utah, the ranking Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, agreed. He successfully helped push similar legislation through the Senate last week, but the House rejected.
"It is so irresponsible that I find it difficult to believe they would take such action," Garn said.
"What the House has guaranteed is that the cost of the savings and loan bailout will be increased by about $7 million to $9 million each and every day, seven days a week until they decide that the bills have to be paid. I am very disappointed that the House would act in this manner," Garn said.
The House voted down four different versions of bills that would have provided the additional $30 billion. The closest vote was a 220-201 loss on a bill similar to what passed the Senate last week. All Utah members of the House voted for it.
Orton said, "People have just gone through an election, they know people are upset about the S&L crisis and they don't want to be tied to it. The problem is we've already guaranteed depositors their money. This $30 billion only allows the government to take over S&Ls that have already gone broke. If we don't take them over, we continue to lose $8 million a day."
To help pick up the pieces after the vote, Orton said he will propose that the House Banking Committee pass a bill to provide the Resolution Trust Corp. the money it needs temporarily for 90 days.
Meanwhile, he proposes that the Banking Committee hold hearings about reforms needed at the RTC. He said that agency, which is overseeing the S&L bailout, has many problems - but they deal mainly with being unable to liquidate assets it acquires by closing failing S&Ls.
"The part of its job that it actually does well is closing bankrupt S&Ls, and ironically the House voted not to give it money to continue that," Orton said.