Financial Crisis Must Be Probed, Pelosi Says

By Paul Kane
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 17, 2009

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has endorsed a proposal to create a special congressional committee to investigate the causes of the financial sector meltdown, giving the idea bipartisan momentum in Congress.

Pelosi, speaking Wednesday in San Francisco, likened the proposal to the bipartisan Senate panel created in 1932 to examine the stock market crash of 1929. Other lawmakers, including Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), have cited as models similar investigative bodies, such as the 1940s Truman committee that studied wartime spending.

"We're going to have a commission . . . even if it is only in the House of Representatives," Pelosi said at the Commonwealth Club, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Because trillions of federal dollars have been spent to contain the financial crisis, Pelosi said, there needs to be "a clearer understanding of how we got here -- and the risk that's been taken by the taxpayers in all this."

Pelosi's proposal comes six weeks after McCain and Sen. Byron L. Dorgan (D-N.D.) offered a resolution to create a select Senate committee that would have subpoena power to investigate the causes of the crisis and issue a report with suggestions for legislation, if necessary, to prevent similar calamities in the future.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), ranking member of the House oversight committee, has proposed creating an independent commission with 10 members who would be drawn from outside Congress, along the lines of the 9/11 Commission, but who would report to Congress. Issa has been a leading opponent of the $700 billion financial system bailout. Aides said it was possible the proposals could be melded, creating a House-Senate committee to conduct one investigation.

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