Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), on Wednesday voted in favor of the over $700 billion bailout bill after he "emphasized that the bill is about Main Street, not Wall Street."
The bill was approved in the Senate 74-25 with Sen. Lamar Alexander also voting in favor. The bill now goes back to the House.
Sen. Corker said, “If this were about Wall Street it would be a very different debate, but this is about trying to prevent a catastrophe on Main Street."
Sen. Corker, who said he has been heavily involved in discussions over the past two weeks, said, “I’m supporting this rescue plan to try to avoid an economic calamity that would affect every Tennessean’s and every American’s ability to get a car loan, a home loan, a student loan, use a credit card or even cash a paycheck.
“We have spent a great deal of time trying to improve the original proposal by Treasury Secretary Paulson, and after numerous conversations with Paulson, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, SEC Chairman Chris Cox, and FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair and intense negotiations, I believe we have produced a strengthened bill that protects taxpayers, provides accountability and oversight, limits exorbitant executive pay. It will actually strengthen the banking system in Tennessee by allowing the FDIC to insure deposits up to $250,000 for one year, a significant increase from the current $100,000.
"No piece of legislation is perfect and this plan will have flaws, but I believe it will pass because this unprecedented time in our nation’s economic history leaves us little choice but to adopt it as soon as possible.
“As many Tennesseans will recall, I strongly opposed the $168 billion so-called economic stimulus package last spring and likened it to throwing cash in a mud puddle, but there’s a stark difference between that giveaway and this investment plan. Through this rescue plan, we will purchase assets that will hopefully produce gains, and 100 percent of any income made will go toward paying down the debt. If our resources are invested properly, the federal government will get all of its money back and taxpayers may even see a return on the investment.
“Americans are angry, and they should be. I share their anger. Wall Street, regulatory agencies, and policy makers in Washington failed America – and let’s face it, too many Americans borrowed money for houses they simply could not afford. The reckless way Wall Street has taken risks and made choices that have pushed our credit markets to a breaking point is reflective of the way Washington has run up the federal deficit and refused to control spending. I am hopeful that passage of this plan will be the beginning of a strong focus on cleaning up the mess in Washington and on Wall Street.”
Sen. Alexander said he voted in favor of "a bipartisan economic rescue plan to stabilize credit markets and ensure that Tennesseans have access to loans and are able to cash their paychecks."
He said the legislation also gives nearly 600,000 Tennesseans an average of $400 in tax relief.
“The Senate’s action will allow the Treasury Secretary to begin cleaning up the wreck on the economic highway caused by bad mortgage loans,” Sen. Alexander said. “This should get economic traffic moving again and restore confidence so that Americans can get auto, student, mortgage, business, and farm credit loans at reasonable prices. Since the Secretary will be buying troubled mortgage assets and then selling them, the cost to taxpayers should be limited, and any profits will go to reduce the federal debt.”
Alexander also saidthat the bill contains tax relief for Tennesseans: “Of special importance to our state, the legislation includes a two-year deduction of state and local sales taxes from federal income. The deduction will mean an average of $400 in tax relief for nearly 600,000 Tennesseans each year. While this bill extends the deduction for two years, we still need a permanent fix, and I will continue pushing for legislation to do just that. I hope the House of Representatives acts quickly to send this legislation to the President.”
Other provisions included the bill were measures from the Renewable Energy and Job Creation Act of 2008 (S. 6049), which passed the Senate by a vote of 93-2 on September 23rd, that would:
Extend the research and development tax credit for two years to encourage job creation.
Expand eligibility for the Child Tax Credit ($1,000 per child under 17) to more families.
Encourage the development of alternative energy:
Extends the Solar Tax Credit for eight years.
Provides a $2,500 to $15,000 tax credit for plug-in cars and trucks.
Encourages the development of cellulosic ethanol, made from “crops we don’t eat.”
Encourages energy-efficient appliances and “green buildings.”
Provide a one-year fix to prevent over 20 million middle-income Americans from having their federal income taxes increased by the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT).