The Senate Banking Committee heard testimony today on the $700 billion plan to restructure Wall Street’s relationship with Washington. That’s 700 billion taxpayer dollars, in case you haven’t turned on your TV or radio in the last few days. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson says it’s absolutely crucial for Congress to approve his sweeping proposal to save the U.S. economy.
Congressional leaders are scrambling to read through the fine print of Paulson’s proposal in order to vote on it by the end of this week. So far, the strategy has been met with with large helpings of skepticism and criticism. Members of Oregon and Washington’s largely Democratic Congressional delegations have said they want to see a plan that protects vulnerable homeowners and doesn’t let Wall Street executives off too easy. But opposition to Paulson’s plan is not necessarily a partisan issue. Former Republican speaker of the House Newt Gingrich vehemently disapproves of the bailout option. Meanwhile, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has warned that a recession may be imminent if lawmakers fail to pass the plan this week.
What are the key components of Paulson’s plan and how will they affect the average American? Will historic changes to the way Wall Street and Washington interact prevent an economic meltdown? How do you want your representatives to vote on these proposed changes?
And a simple question to get things started: what are your questions about the $700 billion check?
- Eric Dash: Banking reporter for the New York Times
- Patrick Emerson: Associate professor of economics at Oregon State University
- Earl Blumenauer: U.S. Congressman representing Oregon?s 3rd District