Mr RYAN of Wisconsin. I thank the gentleman for yielding. I want to thank our distinguished ranking member of the Financial Services Committee for all the work he has done this week. A lot of us have lost a lot of sleep, a lot of us who have looked at this situation.
When Secretary Paulson came to us about a week ago, he gave us a three-page bill that said give me a blank checkbook and put $700 billion in it. I was offended at that time.
So what happened since then? We added 107 pages of taxpayer protection to that bill. We understand the gravity of this situation, and we worked with our colleagues on the other side to make this bill a better bill.
We made sure that there is an upside for the taxpayer so that when this happens, when profits come to these companies, we get their stock warrants, so the first person in line to get those profits is the American taxpayers so they can get their money back. We made sure that there is an insurance program that makes sure that Wall Street shares in the cost of this recovery plan. And we also made sure that the executives of these companies that made these bad bets don't profit from this rescue recovery plan. We cut the initial cost in half of this bill. Congress will have to approve the second half of this next year.
Why did we do all of this? Because this Wall Street crisis is quickly becoming a Main Street crisis. It is quickly becoming a banking crisis.
What does that mean? Why does that matter to us? Why does that matter to Janesville, Wisconsin? If it goes the way it could go, that means credit shuts down; businesses can't get money to pay their payroll, to pay their employees; students can't get student loans for next semester; people can't get car loans; seniors may not have access to their savings. Are we standing at the edge of this abyss? Nobody knows. But maybe. It is very probable.
Madam Speaker, this bill offends my principles. But I am going to vote for this bill in order to preserve my principles, in order to preserve this free enterprise system.
This is a Herbert Hoover moment. He made some big mistakes after the Great Depression, and we lived those consequences for decades. Let's not make that mistake. There is a lot of fear and a lot of panic out there. A lot of what this is about is getting that fear and panic out of the market.
I think the White House bumbled this thing. They have brought this issue up to a crescendo, to a crisis, so that all eyes of the world markets are here on Congress. It is a heavy load to bear. We have to deal with this panic. We have to deal with this fear.
Colleagues, we are in the moment. This bill doesn't have everything I want in it. It has a lot of good things it. But we are here. We are in this moment. And if we fail to do the right thing, heaven help us. If we fail to pass this, I fear the worst is yet to come.
The problem we have here is we are one month away from an election. We are all worried about losing our jobs, and all of us, most of us, say this thing needs to pass, but I want you to vote for it, not me.
Unfortunately, a majority of us are going to have to vote for this, and we are going to have to do that because we have a chance of arresting that crash. Just maybe this will work.
And so for me and for my own conscience, so I can look at myself in the mirror tonight, so I can go to sleep with a clear conscience, I want to know that I did everything I could to stop it from getting worse, to stop this Wall Street problem from infecting Main Street.
I want to get on my airplane and go home and see my three kids and my wife that I haven't seen in a week, and look them in the eye and know that I did what I thought was right for them and their future. And I believe with all my heart, as bad as this is, it could get a whole lot worse, and that is why I think we have to pass this bill. [Page: H10380]