Iowa Senator Charles Grassley, a Republican, voted for the Wall Street bailout bill approved last night in the Senate. Speaking with reporters today, Grassley said he wouldn’t have voted in favor of the bill if it hadn’t included some of the items he wanted included in the package, including an increase in FDIC protection of savings accounts to $250,000, mental health parity, alternative energy and the alternative minimum tax.
Grassley says he felt "compelled" to vote for what he calls a "Rescue package," despite the benefits to corporate executives, because it included a "disaster relief" provision for eastern Iowa flood victims.
Grassley says that’s the same thing he did for the Hurricane Katrina rescue package, and he didn’t want to vote against this disaster relief package, so he voted for the bill.
Grassley says an overwhelming number of his constituents have expressed outrage that the original bill gave Wall Street executives a "Golden parachute" of benefits and compensation, which is why he was opposed to the bill at the start. He offered his own thoughts on how to correct the conditions that created the economic "crisis" to begin with.
Grassley says they need to change the market-to-market rules, put hard caps on executive compensation and extend the FDIC protection longer than two-years, and examine the regulatory bodies that regulate financial institutions. The says hedge-funds should also be registered.
Grassley says those who called the financial package a "Bailout," should look at long-term return it will mean for taxpayers. He says the government will buy up the assets at a discounted rate in a bidding process. Those assets will then gradually be put back on the market to get a return on the investment. Iowa Senator Tom Harkin also supported the financial rescue plan. He says he feared doing nothing would lead to chaos in the financial system.