News Releases

“Next week we will inaugurate a new Commander in Chief.  It is a time of hope and opportunity for people across the country.  And while Americans are hopeful today, too many of them are hurting, and they can’t wait another day for the change they have been promised.  

“People in my home state of Washington are really feeling the pain.

“When I held an economic roundtable in Everett, WA in early December, the room was overflowing with people who came out in the middle of the day to express their concerns and listen to business owners and community members talk about the struggles they are facing. 

“Unemployment in my state, like states across the country, is at record highs.  Businesses big and small are struggling to make payroll. And too many families are still wondering how they are going to stay in their homes or get a loan to pay for school.

“We stood here on this floor almost three months ago debating whether to approve the President’s request for economic rescue funds.

“At that time, communities across my state were hurting.  Families were struggling to pay for groceries, to afford health care and wondering how they would pay for college. 

“My constituents were angry that they were being asked to fork over their tax dollars to cover the consequences of years of reckless abandon on Wall Street and the failure of this Administration to regulate or reign in their folly.

“And, here we are today, three months later, and my communities are still hurting.  Washington’s families are still struggling with health care and education and foreclosures.

“Just this week Washington residents heard Boeing announce plans to lay off thousands of workers in our state.  The Seattle P-I – a newspaper that thousands have welcomed into their homes every day – is being put up for sale.  And today we learned that foreclosures in our most populated county have spiked by 88 percent over last year.

“My constituents 2,500 miles away are listening to our debate here today and asking why on earth Congress would approve billions more after the way the last chunk was handled.

“The rescue funds we approved in October prevented economic collapse, but regular people are still struggling.

“They say they haven’t felt the impact of these funds on their job security, their incomes, or their ability to stay in their homes. 

“And, I have to say, I understand their frustration and share their concerns.

“I am angry too.  I am angry about the lack of transparency into how banks are using these dollars.  I picked up the phone and called Secretary Paulson to express my outrage when I read stories of lavish parties held by companies that received rescue dollars.

“There hasn’t been enough accountability or transparency.  That must change.

“There hasn’t been enough benefit to families, small business owners or homeowners.  That must change.

“When I voted in favor of these funds in October I said that it wasn’t a cure-all, but an attempt to keep an already bad situation from getting much worse.  

“It takes both investment and honesty to get our economy back on track.

“And unfortunately, we haven’t had much of either. 

“The disbursement of these funds was the current Administration’s entire plan to improve the economy.  But their philosophy was like using a Band-Aid when the economy needed surgery.

“The Administrations will change next week but the challenges facing our nation will not. 

“I spoke with President-elect Obama earlier this week and expressed my concerns about how economic rescue funds had been used up to this point. 

“And, he agreed.

“Today, I met with Timothy Geithner, the president-elect’s nominee to head the Treasury Department.  He gave me his assurances that transparency and accountability will be improved and that more will be done to help responsible homeowners avoid foreclosure.

“With these assurances, I believe the American people are finally going to get the investment and honesty they deserve.

“President-elect Obama is inheriting our economic crisis.  That’s a tough place to start out. 

“But he told me that in order to move ahead and focus on America’s families and businesses, we have to ensure the stability of our financial markets.

“The President-elect has assured me that while he believes these funds are important, that they are only one part of his plan to get us back on track.

“So, I am saying ‘YES’ to these funds today because I believe we ‘CAN’ move forward and I want our new President to have the ability to focus on our economic recovery.

“The President-elect and members of Congress are committed to ensuring a full and accurate accounting of how the Treasury Department has allocated the funds spent to date and going forward. 

“And we will ensure that assistance doesn’t just flow to large financial institutions, but will be available to community banks and small businesses as well.

“We will take a hard look at the factors that brought us to this point and address them.

“Our new President has promised to work with Congress to pass and implement new regulatory measures to better protect consumers, businesses and investors.  And to ensure taxpayers are never again put in this terrible position.

“We will work with the new Administration to quickly implement aggressive policies to reduce preventable foreclosures for responsible homeowners. 

“This crisis started in the housing market and we will not dig ourselves out without overhauling the system.

“And I won’t be done with this process until Americans who have lost their jobs and their homes are back on their feet. 

“Residents of my state know what it will take to get Americans working again, and so do I. 

“We have to value our workforce and find a way to make health care affordable and accessible.

“We have to invest in research and development and reward American innovation. 

“We have to implement a smart, forward-looking energy policy that ends our addiction to foreign oil once and for all. 

“We have to invest in roads, bridges and highways and the projects that will pave the way for further economic growth. 

“And we need to recognize that education is a priority.  We can’t fill the jobs of the future without an educated and skilled workforce.

“It’s time to put America’s families first and restore their faith that government works for, not against, them. 

“Americans who are hurting today won’t see a change overnight.  There is a long hard path ahead of us.  

“But the American dream of owning a home, or running a business, or going to college is still alive in communities across our country.

“To pull back now and allow credit markets to freeze would tie the hands of an incoming Administration with plans to invest in America again – and potentially cause lasting economic harm. 

“This is just one step in the process.  We will provide these rescue funds to stabilize our financial markets, but we will also implement strict regulatory reforms and pass an economic recovery package that invests in local communities and puts Americans back to work.

“I grew up knowing that my country was there for my family in hard times.  When my own father got sick and could no longer work, there were Pell grants and student loans and even food stamps when we needed them. 

“I will always remember that. 

“And that’s why I will always work to make sure our country is there for America’s families. 

“I will support this rescue package today because we have to keep our country moving forward and our incoming President deserves the support of Congress to make that happen.”