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Senate Proceeding 02-24-09 on Feb 24th, 2009 :: 1:46:55 to 2:02:00
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Johnny Isakson

1:46:52 to 1:47:12( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: i want to thank my friend from georgia. i know he's been waiting for the and i yield the floor. mr. isakson: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from georgia. mr. isakson: mr. president, i rise for a moment to discuss the nomination of hilda solis as the secretary of labor. and i do so as the senator whose responsibility it is constitutionally to advise and

Johnny Isakson

1:46:55 to 2:02:00( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Johnny Isakson

Johnny Isakson

1:47:13 to 1:47:34( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: consent on the appointments of the senate. but also do so as the rank member on the subcommittee of the health, education, labor and pensions committee dealing with occupational safety. and i will vote to confirm miss solis this afternoon after a great deal of of interaction, and a lot of direct conversations over issues

Johnny Isakson

1:47:35 to 1:47:56( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: about which miss solis and i have different points of view. but the president elects -- president obama was elected. it is his right to appoint a cabinet. it is the senate's responsibility to give advice and give consent those nominees. after the due diligence that mike enzi caused this nominee to go through to make sure that she

Johnny Isakson

1:47:57 to 1:48:18( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: was properly vetted, it is my belief that she is worthy of the appointment to secretary of labor of the united states of america. and so i'm going to cast that vote because i'm going to expect as ranking member of the occupational safety subcommittee the same type of consideration from the secretary as we deal with some of the contentious issues that we both know lie

Johnny Isakson

1:48:19 to 1:48:39( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: before us in the months and years ahead. one is card check. i'm adamantly opposed to check. i believe the right to a secret ballot is fundamentally basic to the people of the united states of america, not only at the ballot box in november but as to the question of wheer or not

Johnny Isakson

1:48:40 to 1:49:00( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: you are organized and unionized in work. in fact, i know that when labor unions were formed and labor legislation was originally passed, it was movement that sought to ensure a secret ballot on behalf of the workers to make sure there was no intimidation from the company. that has served us well in this country for over 90 years and

Johnny Isakson

1:49:01 to 1:49:21( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: will continue to serve us for many years ahead. i know miss solis differs on that, but i hope when the issue comes before us, she will be as respectful of the arguments and the debates that we will bring forward as she will of her own opinion in that regard. secondly, as a senator from the south and from the great state

Johnny Isakson

1:49:22 to 1:49:45( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: of georgia, i am very proud of the right-to-work statute of our state. it has served us well, and a number of states in this country are right-to-work states. those, by the way, are states where an awful lot of manufacturing has come and been borne. and even in difficult times today, new manufacturing enties are coming to states like the kia plant coming to legrange, georgia.

Johnny Isakson

1:49:46 to 1:50:07( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: i know miss solis was at leasty giequivocal in her responses as to whether or not she supported right-to-work statusor states. well, i want to stand on this floor today and say unequivocally i support them, and i will support my state of georgia and the right to work of all of its but with both of those points made, miss solis' reputation and

Johnny Isakson

1:50:08 to 1:50:28( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: her record and the handling of her personal responsibilities from her taxes to her responsibilities as a member of the house have passed all muster in terms of the health, education, labor and pensions committee and i will vote in favor of her confirmation when the vote comes before us and, mr. president, i'd like to ask unanimous consent that those remarks be separated from the remaing remarks i'm about to make in the record.

Johnny Isakson

1:50:29 to 1:50:49( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: the presiding officer: without objection. mr. isakson: mr. president, we are in difficult times tonight the president of the united states will speak to all of us and i -- i look forward to those remarks with great anticipation. i told the president when he appeared before our caucus just three weeks ago for lunch that every night i prafor his success.

Johnny Isakson

1:50:50 to 1:51:10( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: and i do. our people are in difficult times. we have difficult econo circumstances. and it's imperative that we move forward together, as members of the house and senate, the executive branch to find the solutions to the challenges before us. and like most members of the united states senate, i have a few offer four of them here today as

Johnny Isakson

1:51:11 to 1:51:31( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: we lead up to the discussion night and the follow. some of the economic difficulties in the united states of america today are self-inflicted by our own regulatory agencies. in particular, there are two areas i want to discuss for a second. first is the s.e.c.

Johnny Isakson

1:51:32 to 1:51:53( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: you know, last fall when the markets began to cascade down on wall street and when the financial stocks took their initial hits and their subsequent tumbles, it was because of short sellers rushing to the market shorting financial stocks and accelerating the decline of those values. i called chris cox, then the s.e.c. commissioner, and begged

Johnny Isakson

1:51:54 to 1:52:15( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: him to please implement the uptick rule, which would stop the short selling on the downside and protect the value of those fortunately, they did declare a moratorium for 27 days and stopped the short selling and things stabilized. unfortunately, when that 27 days was over, they reinstituted the

Johnny Isakson

1:52:16 to 1:52:36( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: normal rule, short selling aclerated and the financial stocks deteriorated to now, where they're 85% to 90% below their value of 18 to 24 months ago. it is imperative, in my judgment, that the s.e.c. reinstall the uptick rule to ensure that we don't have people coming into the marketplace

Johnny Isakson

1:52:37 to 1:53:01( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: taking advantage of difficul difficulties and expressing values of equity even greater than the market might otherwise dictate. now, secondly, there have been a lot of speeches made on the floor about mark to market and i'm going to make one right now, and in so doing, i'm going to use some specific examples to show you how the imposition of mark to market is hurting our financial institutions

Johnny Isakson

1:53:02 to 1:53:22( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: desperately and it is sis disproportionately penalizing the people that we ser. mark to market basically takes the position that on any given day use, going to mark your assets based on their value of that day. given the declines that we've seen in mortgage-backed security security, in real estate, marking to market has caused tremendous declines in the asset

Johnny Isakson

1:53:23 to 1:53:45( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: side of the ledger sleeve while liabilities have continued to grow, which has caused the capital problems in the banking system and exacerbated the financial problems that we have toad. when, fact, mark to market should not be an arbitrary and capricious writedown to zero, but it should, rather, be a recognition of the transition of values in a down market or in an

Johnny Isakson

1:53:46 to 1:54:06( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: up market. mr. president, the united states senate just in 2005, in dealing with the pension crisis, the defid benefit programs of the united states of america, determined that asking businesses to come in one yea and replenish retirement funds because of a decline in the- because of the stocks was unrealistic. and so we passed thradges

Johnny Isakson

1:54:07 to 1:54:27( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: provided for a smooth -- legislation that provided for a smooth, meaning we amortized for years, three, four, five, or six, the amount of money a pension fund was short giving the company the ability to restore it but tonight deplete all the capital the company had about wl, today, what's happening in our financial

Johnny Isakson

1:54:28 to 1:54:48( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: institutions, when the comes in and says you're going to mark ma to have markets and this real estate asset that might have been worth $20 million two years ago is worth $6 million today, you're going to take a $14 million hit on the asset side when, in fact, over time that asset might he brought $16 million, $17 million,

Johnny Isakson

1:54:49 to 1:55:10( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: $18 million, or maybe even the original $20 billion, because most real estate is absorbed over time and not in one fell swoop. it is very important that our fincial institutions be able to recognize value in a realistic environment. now, there are going to be some who are going to tell you we don't to want do with japan did and we don't. japan in the 1990's bought a lot of real estate, put it on their books what they paid for it,

Johnny Isakson

1:55:11 to 1:55:31( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: even as values declined, they didn't change those values in their books and finally when they recnized them, they were underwater. well, that was an unrealistic appropriate. but equally as unrealistic as the approach of taking today's economy and saying well, but because you can't sell it for x today, that as its value went over time, we should smooth or

Johnny Isakson

1:55:32 to 1:55:53( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: amortize or approach it realistically. ly what is happening over andwhat is happening over and opening again and mark to market is doing things that are compounding the things that we are facing in the united states senate, the united states house, and in our country. last december, this body passed a ability for banks to carry

Johnny Isakson

1:55:54 to 1:56:14( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: back losses back against profitable years to pull back some of the money they paid in taxes and help provide themselves with some lic liquidity. because of those advantas, which we did for a 23406 different reasons, there are a number of banks that took assets last year and wrote them off, even though they were performing, so they could take

Johnny Isakson

1:56:15 to 1:56:35( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: the loss carry-intak against those in back years but now they're performing against those process a azerbaijan as a nonperformance assets. the mark to market and loss carryback that passed have made it almost impossible for the commercial

Johnny Isakson

1:56:36 to 1:56:58( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: real estate industry and the development industry and the single-family real estate industry to compete in the united states of america today. so my second suggestion, first, is install the uptick rule. second, it's stop the ridiculous nature of mark to mket from absolute to absolute. and instead, put in a mechanism of amortization or smoothing so

Johnny Isakson

1:56:59 to 1:57:21( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: the absorption of those assets over time are more reflective of reality and the dire straits that we find ourselves in today. now, third, and i appreciate very much the distinguished senator from california mentioning the housing tax credit, and i -- i'm very pleased that in the stimulus bill that did pass, the credit is now $8,000 rather than $7,500.

Johnny Isakson

1:57:22 to 1:57:43( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: i'm glad it's not repayable now but in fact it's an actual credit. i'm sorry it was means tested, limited to incomes of $57,000 or $150,000, and i'm sorry it was only for first-time ho homebuyers. because, mr. president, i believe before we fix housing, we can fix nothing else. and we must fix housing first. and we must have an incentive

Johnny Isakson

1:57:44 to 1:58:05( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: and a reaso who return to the marketplace to begin to absorb the houses that are vacant because of foreclosure, or because of transfer, or because of default. and so i hope we'll continue to work inspire the consumers to come back to the marketplace and by. that's essential and i think the tax credit of $15,000 for the purchase of any home by a family that occupies that home for

Johnny Isakson

1:58:06 to 1:58:26( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: three years is good for america, it's good for a business, and it's a small price to pay for what it will bring. c.b.o. estimates its cost at $34.8 billion. they also estimate it would create $700,000 sales and --

Johnny Isakson

1:58:27 to 1:58:48( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: 700,000 sales and 576,000 in one day. that's no spay back when you consider we've thrown billions after billions at the banking system and the stimulus system. and lastly -- and i know the president's going to talk about mortgages tonight, and i listened to his remarks last week and i'm encouraged by some of the things because i think there are some things we can do financing that can help us with

Johnny Isakson

1:58:49 to 1:59:09( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: our problem. number one, we do have to get back to sound underwriting. and i think the president's proposal of a threshold of 30% 3, 1% debt service to gross monthly income he will straight that the president sees to it that we need to have some fundamentals of qualification and underwriting under loans that are made, and i commend him

Johnny Isakson

1:59:10 to 1:59:32( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: for that. suggestion secondly, i recognize the fact that we can refinance loans that are in today at lower interest rates, amortize them for 40 years and save them from foreclosure. some we can save. some we can't. we have to rember as one in 10 houses in america is in default,

Johnny Isakson

1:59:33 to 1:59:53( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: nine out to thoseeople who are performing, who are making their payments who are living by the rules, who are doing what's right, the same type of refinance opportunities ought to be available home to as are available to someone who's in trouble. i fully believe that if we would direct fannie mae to issue debt with a full faith and credit of

Johnny Isakson

1:59:54 to 2:00:16( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: the united states of america behind it, we could generate a pool of resources to make loans for l basis in the united states of america. loans that many people who were in trouble could find that they would work their way through because it would lessen their monthly payments. those who are paying their

Johnny Isakson

2:00:17 to 2:00:38( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: payments, but have payments of 5%, 5.5%, give them the opportunity to reduce their debt service. just because they're performing, doesn't mean they should be penalized in a time that we have 10% nonperformance. mr. president, i stand here on the floor of the united states senate willing and able any time, any place, anywhere to work with the president and the members of this congress to

Johnny Isakson

2:00:39 to 2:00:59( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: address the fundamentals of our economy and the fundamental problems that we face. it is my sincere hope that the f.c. will take another look at the uptick rule and establish it. i think that it will be add van taijus to the market and -- advantageus to the market and

Johnny Isakson

2:01:00 to 2:01:20( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: stop a bad process. second, on mark to market, i don't want us to go the route of japan. i want us to go the route that we went in 2005 on pensions and smooth and amortize this without writedowns of assets which only cause difficulties in the financial community. third, let's do fix housing

Johnny Isakson

2:01:21 to 2:01:42( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: first and do make sure that we have a tax credit that is meaningful, available across the board, fosters homeownership and creates the 780 sales we need andhe 58 -- 5,087 jobs. and have creative financing an

Johnny Isakson

2:01:43 to 2:02:01( Edit History Discussion )

Johnny Isakson: inexpensive financin financing for those in trouble to work their way out of a difficult mortgage. let's not forget those playing by the rules, those making the payments, let's make sure that we make the same thing available to them so the rates they can finance out is equally as beneficial. mr. president, i yield back the

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