Members of Utah's congressional delegation are undecided about whether to support the Bush administration's proposed $700 billion bailout for failing financial firms.
For example, Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, a member of the Senate Banking Committee, said Tuesday, "Before I support any plan, I will need to be assured that the benefit to the taxpayers is higher than the cost, and I will review the plan very carefully with that in mind."
Bennett added, "I agree with the need for action because a meltdown on Wall Street would have huge repercussions on Main Street and our broader economy for years, but I do not yet know if the plan put forth by (Treasury) Secretary (Henry) Paulson and (Federal Reserve) Chairman (Ben) Bernanke is the right plan."
Similarly, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said, "Before committing my vote to the plan that is moving forward in Congress, I need to become satisfied that this is the best alternative, that it will be effective in pulling our economy from the abyss, and that adequate safeguards are included to prevent taxpayers' funds from being wasted."
He added, "I am not interested in putting present and future taxpayers' money at risk for the sake of bailing out those who have made greedy or foolish decisions. However, with the U.S. financial system teetering and the credit markets effectively frozen, it is clear something must be done in the next few days."
Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, said, "I would like to see a consensus by a lot of people that the proposal would have a positive impact on the markets before I support it."
He added, "Congress has been put in a very awkward position. At the eleventh hour, the treasury secretary has come to us and said we have to act and that we have to act immediately. But I have concerns about turning over $700 billion to be controlled by one person, and real concerns about whether the plans as put on paper will accomplish what we hope."
Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, said, "We still need to wait and see more concrete details of the plan and how the legislation may look, but we are in a serious situation, and something needs to happen. There aren't any good options before us, and I don't like the idea of a bailout, but doing nothing might be the worse option."
Bishop added, "We have to ensure the government can recoup some of this debt and that this is a short-term arrangement. I'm worried about a permanent shift of power and financial responsibility to the federal government. And if there is a bailout, I'd be completely comfortable with some restrictions on the large payouts or so-called 'golden parachutes' to executives of companies getting bailed out."Rep. Chris Cannon, R-Utah, said, "We need a solution to this problem, but it would be a huge mistake to craft this legislation in some backroom. The American people deserve to know what is going on and members of Congress need to demand the opportunity to discuss the bill in an open forum."
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