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Senate Proceeding on May 4th, 2010 :: 0:46:20 to 0:57:20
Total video length: 2 hours 27 minutes Stream Tools: Stream Overview | Edit Time

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Lamar Alexander

0:46:13 to 0:46:35( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: morning business? the presiding officer: yes. mr. alexander: thank you. madam president, the business before thenited states senate this week is financial regulation. it's hard to pick about what the business should be this week; there's so much going on that's of great concern to many of us. we have a briefing this afternoon on the dimensions of

Lamar Alexander

0:46:20 to 0:57:20( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Lamar Alexander

Lamar Alexander

0:46:36 to 0:46:58( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: the oil spill in the gulf of mexico. those of us in tennessee are deeply concerned about the 1,000-year rain, an event that only happens every thousand years according to to some of the engineers in the army corps that has wreaked havoc on middle tennessee and is beginning now to hurt west tennessee.

Lamar Alexander

0:46:59 to 0:47:19( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: we have the arizona immigration debate, which the distinguished senator from illinois was discussing a little earlier. we have a new start treaty that the president has asked us to consider. just around the corner we have a nomination coming for a vacancy on the supreme court of the united states which will dominate, as it should, the

Lamar Alexander

0:47:20 to 0:47:40( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: attention of this body for two or three months or so until it's thoroughly considered. and of course the american people would like for us to focus on jobs. i have a great respect for the democratic governor of tennessee who was quoted in the "wall street journal" yesterday saying

Lamar Alexander

0:47:41 to 0:48:02( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: the following: "if i have 100 conversatis with people, 95 of them will be about jobs, and none of them will be about cap-and-trade, and none of them will be about bank reform," said governor phil bredesen, a conservative democratic in an interview.

Lamar Alexander

0:48:03 to 0:48:24( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: but financial regulation is the topic and financial regulation is important. the importance of it is this is a country that produces year in and year out about 25% of all the money in the world. we sometimes forget how prileged we are in terms of of our standard of living. we're just about 5% of the people of the world but 25% of the wealth of the world is created here. it is because entrepreneurs have a great advantage here.

Lamar Alexander

0:48:25 to 0:48:45( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: they can create new jobs, one right after the other. our well-being is not measured by the number of jobs we lose. it's by the difference of the number of jobs we create a the number of jobs we lose. and the problem we have right now is we're not creating enough new jobs in the united states of america, and we need to focus on doing that. one aspect of that the kind

Lamar Alexander

0:48:46 to 0:49:06( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: of system of financial regulation we have. l of us were appalled by some of the high jinx on wall street that helped lead us to the great recession in which we find ourselves and for which we had to take extraordinary action. so the purpose of the financial regulation bill is to minimize

Lamar Alexander

0:49:07 to 0:49:27( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: the possibility of those high jinx occurring again, but at the same time leave an environment in the united stes where we can create the largest number of good new jobs. and when i say "we," i don't mean the government. we've had too much attention on creating government jobs. the one place the stimulus has worked is washington, d.c. salaries are up here. there are more jobs here.

Lamar Alexander

0:49:28 to 0:49:49( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: the place where it's not working is out across the country where if we continue with the economy over the next year it the rate of growth that it had in the first quarter, which was 3.2%, we're told that the unemployment rate at the end of the year will still be about 9% or 10%. why? because we're not creating enough good new jobs in the private sector.

Lamar Alexander

0:49:50 to 0:50:10( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: so as we dl with financial regulation, we must be careful to leave an environment in which we can continue to create jobs, which is why there are five major issues that have come toward us. i heard someone on television say this morning there go the the republicans. they want to slow down the financial regulation bill. they can't agree on it in the senate.

Lamar Alexander

0:50:11 to 0:50:32( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: well, what we want to do especially after the health care debate is provide some check and balance to make sure we have a good bill. and these are the issues that are before the american people on this bill. is there a washington takeover of main street lending? community banks, credit unions, plumbers, dentists say there may be.

Lamar Alexander

0:50:33 to 0:50:54( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: we need to make sure that there's not. the last thing we need to do is to make it harder to get a loan in nashville or manchester or knoxville or san antonio, because if you can't get a loan, you can't hire a person, you can't invest in something, and you can't create a job, and the economy doesn't move. so that's the first issue.

Lamar Alexander

0:50:55 to 0:51:15( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: is there a washington takeover main street lending? the second issue, what about this czarina or czar? what about this person that the person would appoint to be in charge of millions of financial transactions in the consumer bureau, but unlike our other independent agency, this person,

Lamar Alexander

0:51:16 to 0:51:36( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: this man or woman, would not be then accountable to the president, would not be then accountable to the cgress, and doesn't that lead to the possibility that this person could write some rules and regulations the czar or czarina that might make the same sort of mistake we made when we encouraged people to buy houses who couldn't

Lamar Alexander

0:51:37 to 0:51:57( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: afford to pay for them, which most agree is the principal event that led us into the great recession that we now have and nearly led us into another depression, which brings us to the third issue: why are we not dealing with the big housing agencies? fannie mae and freddie mac have

Lamar Alexander

0:51:58 to 0:52:18( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: about as much debt as the united states does, and -- and -- we taxpayers implicitly guarantee their debt. in the health care debate it was said we don't add to the national debt, but we didn't include doctors. we didn't include paying doctors in the health care bill. that would be about like my going to the congressional

Lamar Alexander

0:52:19 to 0:52:40( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: budget office and saying tell me how much it will cost to run the university of tennessee for the next ten years, and the congressional budget office might say to me with the professors or without the professors. if i wanted a lowball number i'd say give me the number without the professors. that's what we got in the health care bill, so we left out $200 billion or $300 billion.

Lamar Alexander

0:52:41 to 0:53:02( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: the president said it's $371 billion over the next few years because we assumed we wouldn't pay doctors who provide medicare, at least there would be a 21% cut and at least for them those medicare patients, it begins to create a health care bridge to nowhere pwhraus there are no doctors -- because there are no doctors who will see them

Lamar Alexander

0:53:03 to 0:53:23( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: if they are not properly reimbursed. we're doing the same thing in the financial regulation if we leave out if any and freddie mac. why did we leave it out? we're leaving it out because if we put it in, we'd have to deal with the two or three or $400 billion number in the current year. the congressional budget office says, i believe, about $291 billion.

Lamar Alexander

0:53:24 to 0:53:45( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: so we're going to put it in the drawer or put it under the table or act like it's not there and say to the american people, hooray, we fixed financial regulation, not dealing with housing. when we fix financial regulation is not paying doctors when we pass a comprehensive health care bill. so that's a third issue.

Lamar Alexander

0:53:46 to 0:54:06( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: and there are a couple more. one is the so-called derivatives issue. that's a complicated issue for many people. but the head of the federal deposit insurance corporation says the bill before us may actually create less regulation for these complicated transactions rather than more. and this is an area that we want

Lamar Alexander

0:54:07 to 0:54:28( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: to make sure we don't make a mistake in. and then there's the so-called bank -- big bank bailout provision. most americans don't want a provision in the law that allows, or encourages big banks to take risks to cause them to fail and take the rest of us down with them.

Lamar Alexander

0:54:29 to 0:54:52( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: so the point of our debate ought to be can we make sure in our financial regulation that we don't provide incentives for big banks to take imprudent risks that will cause them to fail and hurt us because they're so big. now, how are we making progress on this? well, as the republican leader

Lamar Alexander

0:54:53 to 0:55:14( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: has said, we have goldman sachs and citibank who have said they like the bill. what i would say, there are a number of people worried about the bill. i'm hearing from community banks, credit unions, dentists, credit unions, plumbers. in "the new york times" there is an article that says "senate financial bill misguided." some academicsay.

Lamar Alexander

0:55:15 to 0:55:35( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: a professor at m.i.t. says we need to proceed about this in a much more deliberate and rational and thoughtful way. at's what we would like to do. a professor says leaving out fannie mae and freddie mac from the discussion is outrageous. the fdic chairman, sheila bair warns against new curbs on bank

Lamar Alexander

0:55:36 to 0:55:57( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: trading that i just mentioned. so, madam president, my point is that this is an opportunity for us on the republican side and those on the democratic side to take an important piece of legislation -- not such a visible piece of legislation today because we have issues from immigration to the oil spill to the flooding in tennessee, but vastly important for our country, and work

Lamar Alexander

0:55:58 to 0:56:19( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: together to make it better. some progress, i understand, is being made on one of the five provisions. that is the too-big-to-fail provision. we'll see what senator shelby has to say. but that still leaves the question of whether we ought to have an independent czarina or czar. that still leaves the question of whether we're dealing properly with derivatives. that still leaves the question

Lamar Alexander

0:56:20 to 0:56:40( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: of whether we ought to leave out of a financial reform bill the two great housing agencies that front of us like a sore thumb reminding us we haven't done our job if we do that. and of great importance is why can't we simply have a provision in the bill that eliminates any

Lamar Alexander

0:56:41 to 0:57:01( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: possibility that we have a washington takeover of main street? it's not the business of this bill to make it harder to extend and get credit up and down main street of america. madam president, i thank the president. i yield the floor. and i ask unanimous consent to include, following my remarks, a

Lamar Alexander

0:57:02 to 0:57:21( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: series of articles which i'll bring to the desk. the presiding officer: without objection. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. lemieux: madam president, i come to the floor of the senate today to talk about the not only environmental but economic disaster that's happened in the gulf of mexico. yesterday i hadhe the

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