In an interview with ThinkProgress today, Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) said he had concerns with the way Congress rushed through the bailout package. “There should have been more deliberation,” he said. “It would have been better if there been hearings…and had a somewhat more open process.”
Holt noted that voting down the proposal on Monday didn’t actually improve the substance of the bill. But like his Democratic colleague Rep. Chet Edwards (D-TX), Holt voted for the bailout package despite his reservations:
It will do some good. It will not be the cure-all. It’s not the bill I hoped for and have worked for and am still working for. But it has some merits.
He added that the bailout plan is “more good than bad,” but said the new law is “not the most efficient way” to deal with the financial crisis. Holt took issue with critics who say the bill expands the scope of executive power. “I actually don’t see it as a major transfer of power. It’s a transfer of $700 billion,” he argued. Listen here:
“if you were trying to help ordinary Americans,” Holt explained, “then why don’t we actually go to the heart of the problem that we’re trying to solve here.” The “root” of cause, he said, is people who are “saddled with bad mortgages.” “By doing that, we would not only be draining the poison from Wall Street…but we would be actually helping the home owners, helping the neighborhoods, helping the towns.”
Holt is pushing a proposal backed by the Center for American Progress to enact a program like FDR’s Great Depression program, the Home Owners Loan Corporation (HOLC). Holt noted that the government put up today’s equivalent of $70 billion. “It stemmed the mortgage crisis of that day,” he said, and it “actually ended up in the black — it ended up in a net return to taxpayers.”