Majority Democrats in Congress are maintaining their sharp criticism of
President Bush and Republican presidential nominee John McCain, amid
continuing nervousness in U.S. and global financial markets. VOA's Dan
Robinson reports from Capitol Hill on steps being taken in the House of
Representatives and the Senate to deal with the economic crisis.
two news conferences within 24 hours, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and
other Democrats unleashed a torrent of criticism, deriding what they
call presidential mismanagement of economic and financial affairs
during George Bush's two terms in office.
President Bush on Wednesday, Pelosi did the same on Thursday, and
criticized Senator John McCain. "These failed policies are the policies
of George Bush and they are subscribed to by John McCain. The failure
of the Republicans to responsibly regulate and provide adequate
oversight, that has allowed for this 'anything goes' system on Wall
Street," he said.
At the White House, President Bush said he
recognizes American's concerns and that he is closely monitoring the
situation. "As our recent actions demonstrate, my administration is
focused on meeting these challenges. The American people can be sure
we will continue to act to strengthen and stabilize our financial
market sand improve investor confidence," Mr. Bush said.
Speaker Pelosi responded by saying the president had, in her words,
"come out of hiding" to say very little. She suggested that the
president should apologize to Americans for the financial turmoil.
and Republicans have complained about not being informed in advance of
government interventions in the economic crisis. And they have
expressed concerns about the extent of federal actions, such as the $85
billion central bank rescue of the American International Group [AIG]
"I frankly was somewhat disappointed that I
hadn't heard from anybody. They had been working on this for several
days. I hadn't heard a word from anyone," said Senate Democratic
Leader, Harry Reid.
"You can talk to [Treasury] Secretary
Paulson or [Federal Reserve Chairman Ben] Bernake about why they
proceeded in this direction. But I am concerned about taxpayer's funds
being put at risk. It is something that should concern all of us,"
said House Republican Leader, John Boehner.
intend to adjourn Congress next week so lawmakers can prepare for the
November general elections, U.S. financial officials are scheduled to
testify before at least five House and Senate panels.
committee is going to hold hearings on how we got to this position,
what kind of regulations were we supposed to have had to keep the
markets working, to make sure we didn't allow the financial excesses
that have brought us to this point?," said Henry Waxman, Chariman of
the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
fundamental issue is we have got to put an end to this situation in
which there is no sensible regulation, and irresponsible individuals in
the private market, or unwise individuals in the private market can
incur the kind of risks that put us in a threatening situation," said
House Financial Services Committee Chairman, Barney Frank.
the Senate floor Thursday, New York's Charles Schumer unveiled what he
called a "comprehensive proposal" aimed at calming Wall Street
financial markets -- this as the Dow Jones industrial average recovered
400 points, after major losses earlier in the week.
whether the financial crisis might force Democrats to revise their
plans to adjourn Congress next week, House Speaker Pelosi pointed to
the hearings, saying lawmakers can always be called back into session,
if there is a need.
Senate Democratic leader Reid took the same
approach. He said he intends to hold the Senate in a standby pro forma
session mode in coming months to deal with any actions that might be