Remarks as Prepared for Delivery
Sen. John McCain Speaks in Independence, Missouri
Wednesday, October 1, 2008; 11:26 AM
SPEAKER: SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, R-ARIZ.
[*] MCCAIN: Thank you all very much. I appreciate the hospitality of the Harry Truman Library Institute. I'm honored to be here in the town that sent Harry Truman to Washington, and the town that welcomed him back when his work was done.
President Truman was a student of history, and he knew how suddenly a crisis could come about. And while so many things have changed in the 35 years since his passing, Harry Truman would surely recognize the sources of the financial crisis that now threaten the livelihoods of millions and the future of the entire American economy. Only the vast sums of money would surprise him. But the costs of unbridled greed on Wall Street, the foolishness of politicians who fed the problem, and the recklessness of politicians who failed to meet the crisis -- all of these would have a familiar feel to the man from Independence.
We are square in the greatest financial crisis of our lifetimes. And I am pleased to report that today, I will be returning to the floor of the Senate to vote on a bill that marks a decisive step in the right direction. The original proposal was flawed. I urged additions of taxpayer protections, stronger oversight, limitations on executive compensation and more protections for people's bank accounts. I am pleased that these are being added to improve the original bill. It took Congress a while, and there were costs to these delays. But they have awakened to the danger. And today, with the unity that this crisis demands, Congress will once again work to restore confidence and stability to the American economy.
There will be a time to fix the blame for all that has happened -- especially in the case of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the abuses and political deal-making that corrupted those institutions. But our duty right now is to fix the problem, and that is the business that will shortly take me back to Washington. Following September 11th, our national leaders came together at a time of crisis. Now, with this measure, we have another chance to come together to prove that Washington is once again capable of leading this country.
If the financial rescue bill fails in Congress yet again, the present crisis will turn into a disaster. As credit disappears, students will no longer be able to get loans for college, and families looking for a new home will be unable to get a loan. New car sales will come to a halt. Businesses will have difficulty securing credit for operations and may be unable to pay employees. If we fail to act, the gears of our economy will grind to a halt.
This is a moment of great testing. At such moments, there are those on both sides of this debate who will act on principle. Of course, there are always some who think first of their own interests, who calculate their own advantage instead of rushing to the aid of their country. But in the case of this bill, I am confident there are enough people of good will in both parties to help see America through this crisis. And when the last vote is cast, we can be grateful to all of them -- Democrats and Republicans alike -- for helping to solve the crisis instead of merely exploiting it.